Required reading

The title might be a tad deceptive. None of these texts is, in fact, required reading. Unless you happen to be taking a class and it happens to be on the reading list, in which case you should heartily thank your professor. In any case, the very best reading is not required. This list is not a comprehensive list of every book I’d recommend, but a collection of my favorite works of the last few years. These are all books I came to in the past two and a half years (with the exception of Edith Wharton’s short stories, which are so incredibly good that they transcend my loose two and a half year timeline anyhow and Jane Eyre, which is simply my favorite). I stumbled across most entirely by accident, two were recommended to me, and three were purchased as international travel companions. Please place no significance on the order in which they are presented. 

1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera)

2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Muriel Barbery)

3. American Gods (Neil Gaiman)

4. Winter’s Tale (Mark Helprin). Pairs excellently with an Alaskan winter. 

5. Shogun (James Clavell)

6. The Best of Roald Dahl (Roald Dahl). Read this in Norway, if you possibly can. 

7. Edith Wharton’s short stories. I don’t care which edition, just make sure it has “Xingu” and “Roman Fever” in particular.

8. Cosmicomics (Italo Calvino)

9. Middlemarch (George Eliot) I read this in Italy, and I liked it much better than the country. 

10. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)


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