Lionel Shriver's Top Ten List

    Our newest list comes from Lionel Shriver, who was reared in Raleigh, N.C. and now lives in London and Brooklyn. She is the author of 11 works of fiction, including The Post-Birthday World (2007), A Perfectly Good Family (1996), Game Control (1994), Double Fault (1997), The Female of the Species (1986), Checker and the Derailleurs (1987), and Ordinary Decent Criminals (1992).

    Lionel is probably best known for her Orange Prize-winning novel about a teenage boy who massacres his schoolmates, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (2003) This wrenching novel suggests the daring, intellectually confrontational nature of Lionel’s work. As she wrote, “The novel breaks one of the last taboos (and how amazing that at such a late date I found a taboo still standing): a mother disliking her son.”

    Reviewing Lionel’s latest novel, “The New Republic” (2012), Maureen Corrigan compared her to Evelyn Waugh while describing her as “a literary novelist whose career has been built on tackling potentially offensive topics and according them intellectual and emotional complexity and, yes, a provocative measure of wit.”

    She is also widely published as a journalist, writing features, columns, op-eds, and book reviews for the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the EconomistMarie Claire, and many other publications.

    ·        Watch Lionel read from her new novel and speak with Granta editor John Freeman.   

    ·        Listen to her 2012 Fresh Air interview.

    ·        Read an excerpt from her latest novel, The New Republic.

    ·        Read her London Guardian article on the film version of We Need To Talk about Kevin.


    Lionel Shriver’s Top Ten List

    1. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1940)

    2. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (1936)

    3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

    4. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene (1948)

    5. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (1961)

    6. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)

    7. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)

    8. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1868)

    9. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895)

    10. Paris Trout by Pete Dexter (1988)

    New List

    Maxine Hong Kingston

    1. Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer (1968).
    2. Begin Again by Grace Paley (2000)
    3. Duty of Delight by Dorothy Day (2008)
    4. Every War Has Two Losers by William Stafford (2003)
    5. Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War by Viet Nguyen (2016).
    6. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh (1992)
    7. A Primer for Forgetting by Lewis Hyde (2019)
    8. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
    9. Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston
    10. War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges (2002)


    Classic List

    Top Ten African-American Works

    1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952). 
    2. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987). 
    3. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977). 
    4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937). 
    5. Native Son by Richard Wright (1945). 
    6. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959). 
    7. Another Country by James Baldwin (1962). 
    8. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923). 
    9. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (1990). 
    10. Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown (1965). 


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