100 Pretentious Books to Read Before you Die

Yesterday I noticed someone located my blog by searching for “100 Pretentious Books to Read Before you die” which I found rather amusing and upon further investigation I found I was the top result with this post. After some fun on Twitter trying to pick 100 Books to read if you want to consider yourself as a pretentious reader, I thought I would post it here.

Note: this is a work in progress and I regularly add and remove books as I read more that fit this list.

  1. 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
  2. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
  3. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  5. Antkind by Charlie Kaufman
  6. Aracoeli by Elsa Morante
  7. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  8. Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai
  9. Belladonna by Daša Drndić
  10. Beowulf by Unknown
  11. Candide by Voltaire
  12. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  13. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
  14. Chess by Stefan Zweig
  15. Crash by JG Ballard
  16. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  17. Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda
  18. Divine Comedy by Dante
  19. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  20. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
  21. Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard
  22. Encyclopedia of a Life in Russia by José Manuel Prieto
  23. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  24. Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
  25. Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko
  26. Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
  27. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
  28. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  29. Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar
  30. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  31. If On A Winters Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino
  32. In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  33. In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
  34. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  35. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  36. Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère
  37. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  38. Love in the New Millennium by Can Xue
  39. Mac & His Problems by Enrique Vila-Matas
  40. Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann
  41. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  42. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  43. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
  44. Nancy by Bruno Lloret
  45. Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
  46. Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector
  47. Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  48. Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin
  49. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  50. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  51. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  52. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  53. Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser
  54. Revenge of the Translator by Brice Matthieussent
  55. Savage Detective by Roberto Bolaño
  56. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  57. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Unknown
  58. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  59. Sphinx by Anne Garréta
  60. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille
  61. Submission by Michel Houellebecq
  62. Surrealist Manifesto by André Breton
  63. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
  64. The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet
  65. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  66. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  67. The Bible
  68. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  69. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  70. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  71. The Dry Heart by Natalia Ginzburg
  72. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
  73. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
  74. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
  75. The Four Books by Yan Lianke
  76. The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller
  77. The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
  78. The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq
  79. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  80. The Monk by Matthew Lewis
  81. Themystery.doc by Matthew McIntosh
  82. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
  83. The Odyssey by Homer
  84. The Parrots by Filippo Bologna
  85. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
  86. The Satanic Verses by Salmon Rushdie
  87. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  88. The Seven Madmen by Roberto Arlt
  89. The Sorrow of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  90. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  91. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  92. The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman
  93. The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato
  94. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  95. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  96. Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan
  97. Underworld by Don DeLillo
  98. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  99. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  100. Zama by Antonio di Benedetto

Other suggestions (still need to read)

  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • A Heart So White by Javier Marías
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • A Void by Georges Perec
  • Being and Time by Martin Heidegger
  • Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami
  • Dr. Awkward & Olson in Oslo: A Palindromic Novel by Lawrence Levine
  • Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  • Interpretations of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  • J R by William Gaddis
  • Life a User’s Manual by Georges Perec
  • Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
  • Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
  • The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Qur’an
  • The Recognitions by William Gaddis
  • The Tunnel by William Gass
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Voss by Patrick White
  • Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson
  • XX by Rian Hughes

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