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

Joyce Carol Oates

1. The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1872).
2. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913–27).
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847).
4. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851).
5. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922).
6. Independent People by Halldór Laxness (1934).
7. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (1936).
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967).
9. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934).
10. The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942).


Classic List

Charles Palliser


1. Adolphe by Benjamin Constant (1816).
2. At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien (1939).
3. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg (1824).
4. Anton Reiser by Karl Philipp Moritz (1785-90).
5. The Golovlyev Family by Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin (1876).
6. The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton (1947).
7. The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki (c. 1001–1010 c.e.).
8. The Dukays by Lajos Zilahy. (1949)
9. Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (1896).
10. The Maias by Eca de Queiroz (1888).


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