The 82 best books

Everyone keeps posting these "best books" lists and I feel--and have felt for some time--awfully left out, not having a list of my own. So here is a list, cobbled together hastily this morning, of the 82 Best Books I Have Read In The Last Couple of Years. The arbitrariness and incompleteness and utter uselessness of this list appeal to me greatly. The list has been sorted, mostly, into alphabetical order by author's first name, because that seems as good as anything else.

1. Aeschylus, The Oresteia (R. Lattimore, trans)
2. Albert Camus, The Plague
3. Albert Camus, The Stranger
4. Alfred Jarry, The Ubu Plays
5. American Colonial Prose, Mary Ann Radzinowicz (ed.)
6. Andre Gide, The Counterfeiters
7. Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber
8. Anton Chekhov, A Life In Letters
9. Anton Chekhov, The Seagull
10. Anton Chekhov, Tales of Chekhov, Volumes 1-13
11. Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters
12. Apuleius, The Golden Ass
13. Blaise Pascal, Pensées
14. Cesar Aira, Ghosts
15. Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
16. Charles Portis, True Grit
17. D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers
18. D.H. Lawrence, Women In Love
19. Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
20. Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading
21. Flannery O'Connor, The Violent Bear it Away
22. Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood
23. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
24. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
25. Hannah Pittard, The Fates Will Find Their Way
26. Henri Troyat, Daily Life in Russia Under the Last Tsar
27. Henrik Pontoppidan, Lucky Per
28. Henry James, The Ambassadors
29. Herman Melville, Moby Dick
30. Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
31. Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
32. Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule
33. James Joyce, Dubliners
34. James Joyce, Finnegans Wake
35. John Cowper Powys, Weymouth Sands
36. John Milton, Paradise Lost
37. John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture
38. John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice (abr.)
39. Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths
40. Jose Maria de Eca de Quieros, The Illustrious House of Ramires
41. Jose Saramago, Death With Interruptions
42. Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World
43. Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim
44. Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
45. Leo Tolstoy, Hadji Murad
46. Louis de Bernieres, Birds Without Wings
47. Marly Youmans, Thaliad
48. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
49. Michel Houellebecq, Atomised
50. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
51. Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
52. Mikhail Bulgakov, White Guard
53. Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
54. Nadine Gordimer, Get A Life
55. Nikolai Chernyshevsky, What is to be Done?
56. Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls
57. Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
58. Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier
59. Richard Rive (Ed.), Modern African Prose
60. Robert Browning, The Ring and the Book
61. Robert Browning, The Shorter Poems
62. Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book
63. Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King
64. Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies
65. Samuel Beckett, Molloy
66. Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable
67. St Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
68. T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems
69. Thomas Mann, Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories
70. Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (Richard Crawley trans.)
71. Virgil, The Aeneid (Fitzgerald, trans.)
72. Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway
73. Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse
74. Vladimir Nabokov, Mary
75. Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
76. Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin
77. Vladimir Nabokov, The Defense
78. Voltaire, Candide
79. Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country
80. Yasunari Kawabata, The Sound of the Mountain
81. Yukio Mishima, Spring Snow
82. Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea

Exactly half of these books first appeared in English. One of the items on this list made it in by mistake, but it's a good book so I'm leaving it. I somehow managed not to include the Norton Anthology of English Poetry or the collection of Yeats or A Practical Course in Wooden Boat and Ship Building by Richard Van Gaasbeek. Nor have I included any Shakespeare.

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