Featured List

Maxine Hong Kingston

Our newest Top Ten list comes from one of America’s most celebrated writers, Maxine Hong Kingston, who has used Chinese-American experiences to depict the human condition through several works of nonfiction and one novel.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants who operated a California gambling house in the 1940s and later a laundry, Kingston often blends autobiography and mythology in her work. Her first book – “The Woman Warrior” (1976) which won the National Book ... read more ...

The Book: The Top Ten

    Susan Minot

    Top Ten contributor Susan Minot travels vast distances – whether measured by miles, experience or sensibility – for her first novel in more than a decade, Thirty Girls.

    Elizabeth Spencer

    Writers are not like wine; most do not improve with age. For many, their first book is their best; others hit their height mid-career. The number who reach their peak – or rediscover it – in old age is vanishingly small.

    Wally Lamb

    Wally Lamb is back with an “ultra-contemporary novel” that deploys his gift for empathy to explore love, sadness, sexuality, ethnicity and art across two decades among a group of upper-middle class resident of Connecticut.

    Roxana Robinson

    Literature allows us to enter another person’s mind. Often, it is the same one – the writer’s, refracted and bent through characters who, nevertheless, often have too much in common.

    Andrea Barrett

    Top Ten contributor Andrea Barrett is receiving strong reviews for her ninth book, an “elegant new story collection” titled Archangel.

    The Physics of Communication

    (This is the slightly revised text of the speech I gave at North Carolina State University to kick off its annual Communication Week).

    When I was invited to speak at N.C State’s Communication Week I wondered – what do they do the other 51 weeks of the year? Is State, in fact, a monastery where everyone takes an oath of silence? Or maybe it’s just preparing students for marriage.

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    New 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).



     

    Classic List

    Mary Gaitskill

    1. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922).
    2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955).
    3. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (1962).
    4. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1853).
    5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857).
    6. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1927).
    7. Gusev by Anton Chekhov (1860–1904).
    8. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (1904).
    9. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (1842).
    10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (1831).

     





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