1. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916), which first showed me that fiction could articulate what I took as wild and private dreams.
2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877), because of the powerful and intimate rendition of these webbed lives.
3. The Rabbit Tetralogy by John Updike - Rabbit Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit is Rich (1981), Rabbit at Rest (1990) - because of their acute observation and moral courage.
4. Herzog by Saul Bellow (1964), for its extraordinary language, intellectual power and its observations of Chicago.
5. Tell Me A Riddle (1960) by Tillie Olsen, for its inventiveness and power.
6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844), for its spectacular plot.
7. Collected Works of William Shakespeare, for their miraculous language and extraordinary observations about humanity.
8. The Bear by William Faulkner (1942), for telling the quintessential American story from inside the American mind.
9. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1934), an extremely contemporary book that anticipated much of our current preoccupation with gender.
10. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (1933), for its elegance and perfect mystery.