Desert Island Books

(a personal canon of sorts, a work in progress…)

  • Elizabeth BARRETT BROWNING – Aurora Leigh (1856)
  • Emily BRONTE – Wuthering Heights
  • Gwedolyn BROOKS – Maud Martha (1953)
  • Barbara COMYNS – The Vet’s Daughter
  • Julio CORTAZAR – Hopscotch; 62: A Model Kit
  • Emily DICKINSON – The Complete Poems, Letters
  • Fyodor DOSTOYEVSKY – Crime and Punishment
  • Marguerite DURAS – The Lover
  • Lygia FAGUNDES TELLES – The marble dance (Ciranda de Pedra, 1954)
  • William FAULKNER – The Wild Palms
  • Janet FRAME – The Lagoon
  • Arnon GRUNBERG – Tirza
  • Henry JAMES – The Beast in the Jungle
  • Franz KAFKA – The Zurau Aphorisms, The Diaries
  • Clarice LISPECTOR – An Apprenticeship or The Book of Pleasures
  • Thomas MANN – The Magic Mountain
  • Carson MCCULLERS – The Member of the Wedding
  • Alice MUNRO – Dear Life
  • Vladimir NABOKOV – Lolita
  • Luigi PIRANDELLO – Six Characters in Search of an Author
  • Jean RHYS – Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Marilynne ROBINSON – Housekeeping
  • Nelson RODRIGUES – Valsa n°6 (1951)
  • Christina ROSSETTI – Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862)
  • Jean-Paul SARTRE – Nausea
  • Magda SZABO – The Door
  • Wislawa SZYMBORSKA – View with a Grain of Sand
  • Érico VERÍSSIMO – Clarissa
  • Edith WHARTON – The Age of Innocence (1920)
  • Virginia WOOLF – The Waves
  • Marguerite YOURCENAR –  Memoirs of Hadrian

Favourite authors


Favourite books reviewed on the blog


Are there any contemporary writers we must read, or does “canonical” mean “dead”?

One problem with trying to decide who should be kicked out of the canon is that I’m never exactly sure who is in it. I’ve always felt that the canon was like the guest list to a secret party, a roster drawn up by covert hosts at some undisclosed location. I know that Harold Bloom wrote a book in which he ruled, quite definitively, on which writers do and don’t belong. But not having read his book, I have only some vague memory of the brief controversy that erupted when someone noted how few women Bloom included.” – Francine Prose, New York Times, 2015