David Foster Wallace's Top Ten List

D.T. Max is receiving warm reviews for his biography of Top Ten contributor David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story.

New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani avers: “What Mr. Max’s book does do — and does powerfully — is provide an emotionally detailed portrait of the artist as a young man: conflicted, self-conscious and deeply thoughtful, like so many of his characters a seeker after an understanding of his own place in the world and a Melvillian “isolato,” yearning for connection yet stymied by the whirring of his own brain and the discontinuities of an America reeling from information overload.”

If we could add one thing to Max’s work, it would be, of course, David’s delightfully provocative Top Ten List.

David Foster Wallace’s Top Ten List

1. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (1942).

2. The Stand by Stephen King (1978).

3. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (1981).

4. The Thin Red Line by James Jones (1962).

5. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (1973).

6. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988).

7. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein (1961).

8. Fuzz by Ed McBain (1968).

9. Alligator by Shelley Katz (1977).

10. The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy (1991). 

New List

Tom LeClair

1. Gravity’s Rainbowby Thomas Pynchon (1973).
2. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (1936).
3. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851).
4. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922).
5. Endgame by Samuel Beckett (1957).
6. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor (1952).
7. Paradise by Toni Morrison (1997).
8. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000).
9. End Zoneby Don DeLillo (1972).
10. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (1996).

Classic List

Lydia Millet

1. JR by William Gaddis (1975).
2. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925).
3. Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ by C. S. Lewis (1952).
4. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971).
5. Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard (1984).
6. The War with the Newts by Karel Capek (1936).
7. Auto-da-Fé by Elias Canetti (1935).
8. Red the Fiend by Gilbert Sorrentino (1995).
9. Masquerade and Other Stories by Robert Walser (1878–1956).
10. Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, a trilogy by Samuel Beckett (1951–54).

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