Meg Wolitzer's Top Ten List

Francine Prose threw down the gauntlet in the literary gender wars with her 1998 essay in Harper’s, “Scent of a Woman’s Ink.”

Meg Wolitzer picked it up and threw it back down again – smack – last Sunday in The New York Times Book Review. Her title says it all: “The Second Shelf: Are there different rules for men and women in the world of literary fiction?” (Hint: the answer isn’t negative, though I wouldn’t call it positive, if you know what I mean.).

Craig Nova's Top Ten List

Our newest list comes from Craig Nova. Craig has received an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where notable alums like Nido Qubein (president of High Point University) have attended.


Jonathan Yardley remarked: “Craig Nova is a fine writer, one of our best. If you haven’t read him, the loss is yours.”



New List

Francine Prose

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877).
2. The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal (1839). (See below.)
3. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913–27).
4. The stories of Anton Chekhov (1860–1904).
5. The stories of John Cheever (1912–82).
6. The stories of Mavis Gallant (1922– ).
7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851).
8. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871–72).
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967).


Classic List

Amy Bloom


1. The Deptford trilogy by Robertson Davies (1983).
2.Persuasion by Jane Austen (1817).
3. His Dark Materialsby Philip Pullman (1995–2000).
4.The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (1995).
5.The Known World by Edward P. Jones (2003).
6. The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro (1978).
7. The Plot Against Americaby Philip Roth.
8. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1998).
9. Fancies and Goodnights by John Collier (1951).
10. Larry’s Party by Carol Shields (1997).


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