Peter Blauner's Top Ten List

    Reader Bio

    Peter Blauner (born 1959) is an American crime novelist, scriptwriter and journalist. A native of New York City, he began his career as an assistant to the legendary reporter and writer, Pete Hamill. From 1982 to 1991, he wrote about crime and politics for New York Magazine. Blauner's novels are steeped in reporting. His Edgard Award-winning debut, Slow Motion Riot, drew upon his experience as a volunteer probation officer to tell the story of a probational officer, a drug dealer and the crack epidemic. His other novels include, Casino Moon (1994), The Intruder (1996), Man of the Hour (1999), The Last Good Day (2003), Slipping Into Darkness (2006), and Proving Ground (2017). He has also written extensively for TV, including the Law & Order franchise and "Blue Bloods."

    1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877). Probes deep into the human condition by proving people haven’t changed that much, and men and women were always fucked up and crazy.

    2. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905). Ditto. After reading this novel, I understood why Scorsese was moved to do a Wharton adaptation. Her underlying attitude is as tough and gangsta as Goodfellas and Mean Streets.

    3. Call It Sleep by Henry Roth (1934). Beautiful and crushing. An immigrant childhood at the turn of the last century. Small impossible lives described in language that makes everything seem possible.

    4. A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes (1957). Funny, acidic, tight, and cool. Himes was the kind of writer who didn’t try to knock you out with every punch. He just saved his best stuff for when he had you on the ropes.

    5. What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (2003). Sometimes I think a good piece of writing shouldn’t necessarily comfort you; it should bruise you a little. I read this more than ten years ago and I’m still a little sore from it.

    6. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (1989). How can one know so much about music, love, and ladies’ underwear?

    7. Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. And then there are books that just make you go, “Damn, I’d like to do that!” A novel that strolls ever so deceptively from detective fiction into horror, casually whistling until it cuts you to the bone.

    8. Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara (1934). Cheever and Updike are great. But they’re ginger ale drinkers by comparison.

    9. American Pastoral by Philip Roth (1997). I could have picked a number of the great books he wrote in the great late streak where he took that powerful instrument he has and finally aimed it toward the world at large.

    10. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939). Because it all starts with Hammett, Hemingway, and this guy.

    New List

    David Mitchell

    1. The Duel by Anton Chekhov (1891).
    2.1984by George Orwell (1948).
    3.Heart of Darknessby Joseph Conrad (1899).
    4.Sense and Sensibilityby Jane Austen (1811).
    5.The Master and Margaritaby Mikhail Bulgakov (1966).
    6.As I Lay Dyingby William Faulkner (1930).
    7.Tom Jonesby Henry Fielding (1749).
    8.Labyrinthsby Jorge Luis Borges (1964).
    9.W, or The Memory of Childhoodby Georges Perec (1975).
    10.The Makioka Sistersby Junichiro Tanizaki (1943–48).
    Wild Card:Lolly Willowesby Sylvia Townsend Warner (1926).



     

    Classic List

    Top Ten African-American Works

    1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952). 
    2. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987). 
    3. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977). 
    4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937). 
    5. Native Son by Richard Wright (1945). 
    6. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959). 
    7. Another Country by James Baldwin (1962). 
    8. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923). 
    9. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (1990). 
    10. Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown (1965). 

     





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