Reading Like a Writer

Reading Like a Writer is writing guide by Francine Prose, published in 2006. In this book — subtitled “A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them,” — Prose shares how she developed her writing craft through writing and reading. She uses examples from literature to demonstrate how fictional elements, such as character and dialogue, can be mastered. Here are the books she mentions. The chapters in which they are discussed are in italics. Read books are marked as (✓). Reviews, when available, are linked below. I have crossed off a few books I don’t want to read or DNF books.

  1. Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
  2. Anonymous, The Song of Roland
  3. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote ✓
  4. William Shakespeare, King Lear
  5. John Milton, Paradise Lost
  6. Samuel Richardson, Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded
  7. Johnson Samuel, The Life of Savage (Sentences)
  8. Gibbon Edward, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  9. Austen Jane, Sense and Sensibility (Paragraphs, Character)
  10. Austen Jane, Pride and Prejudice (Paragraphs, Character)
  11. Von Kleist Heinrich, The Marquise of O—- and Other Stories (Sentences, Character) 
  12. Stendhal, The Red and the Black (Paragraphs)
  13. Balzac Honore de, Cousin Bette
  14. Gogol Nikolai, Dead Souls: A Novel (Courage)
  15. Dickens Charles, Dombey and Son (Narration)
  16. Dickens Charles, Bleak House
  17. Bronte Emily, Wuthering Heights
  18. Turgenev Ivan Sergeevich, First Love
  19. Eliot George, Middlemarch (Character)
  20. Melville Herman, Bartleby the Scriverner (Paragraphs)
  21. Melville Herman, Moby Dick
  22. Melville Herman, Benito Cereno
  23. Flaubert Gustave, Madame Bovary (Courage) 
  24. Flaubert Gustave, A Sentimental Education (Character)
  25. Dostoyevsky Fyodor, Crime and Punishment (Narration, Courage) 
  26. Tolstoy Leo, The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories
  27. Tolstoy Leo, The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories (Courage)
  28. Tolstoy Leo, Anna Karenina 
  29. Tolstoy Leo, War and Peace
  30. Tolstoy Leo, Resurrection
  31. Alcott Lousia May, Little Women
  32. Twain Mark, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Narration)
  33. Baldwin James, Vintage Baldwin (Paragraphs)
  34. James Henry, The Portrait of a Lady (Gesture) 
  35. James Henry, The Turn of the Screw (Narration) 
  36. Chekhov Anton, Tales of Anton Chekhov: Volumes 1-13 (Detail, Gesture, Chekhov, Courage)
  37. Chekhov Anton, A Life in Letters (Detail)
  38. Strunck William, The Elements of Style, Illustrated (Sentences)
  39. Proust Marcel, Swann’s Way (Gesture)
  40. Stein Gertrude, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (Sentences) 
  41. Woolf Virginia, On Being Ill (Sentences)
  42. Joyce James, Dubliners (Sentences, Gesture)
  43. Kafka Franz, Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Detail) 
  44. Kafka Franz, The Judgement (Gesture)
  45. Kafka Franz, In the Penal Colony
  46. Stout Rex, Plot it Yourself (Paragraphs)
  47. Mansfield Katherine, Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield (Words, Gesture) 
  48. Chandler Raymond, The Big Sleep (Sentences, Gesture)
  49. Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Rashomon and Other Stories 
  50. Paustovsky Konstantin, Years of Hope: The Story of a Life (Paragraphs)
  51. West Rebecca, The Birds Fall Down (Sentences) 
  52. West Rebecca, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia (Sentences)
  53. Babel Isaac, The Collected Stories (Paragraphs, Courage)
  54. Hartley L.P., The Go-Between (Gesture)
  55. Fitzgerald F. Scott, The Great Gatsby (Words) 
  56. Fitzgerald F. Scott, Tender is the Night (Words) 
  57. Hemingway Ernest, The Sun Also Rises (Sentences) 
  58. Hemingway Ernest, A Moveable Feast (Sentences) 
  59. Bowen Elizabeth, The House in Paris (Detail)
  60. Nabokov Vladimir, Lectures on Russian Literature (Chekhov)
  61. Nabokov Vladimir, Lolita (Narration, Dialogue) 
  62. Mandelstam Nadezdha, Hope Against Hope: A Memoir (Words)
  63. Stead Christina, The Man Who Loved Children (Dialogue)
  64. Green Henry, Doting (Dialogue)
  65. Green Henry, Loving (Dialogue)
  66. Beckett Samuel, The Complete Short Prose, 1929-1989 (Gesture Courage)
  67. Steegmuller Francis, Flaubert and Madame Bovary: A Double Portrait
  68. Bowles Paul, Paul Bowles: Collected Stories and Later Writings
  69. Cheever John, The Stories of John Cheever (Sentences)
  70. Jarrell Randall, Pictures from an Institution
  71. Bowles Jane, Two Serious Ladies (Narration, Dialogue)
  72. Rulfo Juan, Pedro Paramo (Courage)
  73. Taylor Peter, A Summons to Memphis (Narration)
  74. Salinger J.D., Franny and Zooey (Detail)
  75. Gaddis William, The Recognitions
  76. Gallant Mavis, Paris Stories (Narration)
  77. Calvino Ital Cosmicomics ✓
  78. Fox Paula, Desperate Characters (Paragraphs) 
  79. Herbert Zbigniew, Selected Poems (Courage)
  80. O’Connor Flannery, Wise Blood (Narration, Gesture)
  81. O’Connor Flannery, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories (Words)
  82. O’Connor Flannery, Collected Stories (Detail)
  83. Yates Richard, Revolutionary Road (Words) 
  84. Marquez Gabriel Garcia, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Paragraphs) 
  85. Marquez Gabriel Garcia, The Autumn of the Patriarch (Paragraphs)
  86. Trevor William, The Collected Stories
  87. Trevor William, Fools of Fortune
  88. Trevor William, The Children of Dynmouth
  89. Elkin Stanley, Searches and Seizures (Sentences)
  90. Brodkey Harold, Stories in an Almost Classical Mode (Narration, Dialogue)
  91. Barthelme Donald, Sixty Stories
  92. Munro Alice, Selected Stories (Words) 
  93. LeCarre John, A Perfect Spy (Dialogue)
  94. Roth Philip, American Pastoral (Sentences) 
  95. Roth Philip, Philip Roth: Novels and Stories 1959-1962 (Gesture)
  96. Johnson Diane, Persian Nights (Narration)
  97. Johnson Diane, Le Divorce (Narration)
  98. Pynchon Thomas, Gravity’s Rainbow
  99. Carver Raymond, Where I’m Calling From: Selected Stories (Sentences, Paragraphs)
  100. Carver Raymond, Cathedral
  101. Dybek Stuart, I Sailed with Magellan (Narration)
  102. Williams Joy, Escapes (Dialogue)
  103. Spencer Scott, A Ship Made of Paper
  104. O’Brien Tim, The Things They Carried (Sentences) 
  105. Baxter Charles, Believers: A Novella and Stories (Gesture)
  106. Gates David, The Wonders of the Invisible World: Stories (Dialogue)
  107. Johnson Denis, Jesus’ Son
  108. Johnson Denis, Angels (Paragraphs)
  109. Tolstaya Tatyana, Sleepwalker in a Fog (Words) 
  110. Wagner Bruce, I’m Losing You (Character)
  111. McInerney Jay, Bright Lights, Big City (Narration)
  112. Franzen Jonathan, The Corrections (Paragraphs)
  113. Eisenberg Deborah, The Stories (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg (Narration)
  114. Price Richard, Freedomland (Narration)
  115. St. Aubyn Edward, Some Hope: A Trilogy (Gesture)
  116. St. Aubyn Edward, Mother’s Milk (Dialogue)
  117. Wood James, Broken Estates: Essays on Literature and Belief
  118. Diaz Junot, Drown (Gesture)
  119. Shteyngart Gary, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (Paragraphs)
  120. Packer ZZ, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (Gesture)