The Top Ten Greatest Books by Joyce Carol Oates

atkins-bookshelf-literature“We live in a Golden Age,” writes J. Peder Zane, in the introduction to The Top Ten” Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, “never before have so many books been within such easy reach. But when anything is possible, choice becomes torture. What to pick? Where to start?” Reading lists, of course, abound on the internet, as well as lists from actual and virtual reading groups; however these lists can only take you so far. Zane then asks, “Who knows more about great books than great writers?” And that is the premise of Zane’s clever book. He surveyed the top 125 American and British authors and asked them to list what they consider to be the ten greatest books of all time. One of those authors is Joyce Carol Oates, an award-winning American author who has written more than 40 novels and teaches creative writing at Princeton University. Here are the top ten greatest books according to Oates:

1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
2. Ulysses by James Joyce
3. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
4. The poems of Emily Dickenson
5. The stories of Franz Kafka
6. The Red and the Black by Stendhal
7. The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence
8. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
9. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
10. The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Read related posts: Why Read Dickens?
The Power of Literature
The Benefits of Reading
50 Books That Will Change Your Life
The Books that Shaped America
Why Study Literature?

For further reading: The Top Ten” Writers Pick Their Favorite Books edited by J. Peder Zane, Norton (2007)

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