My Desert Island Books (Contemporary)

My Desert Island Books (Classics)

Other Great Writers

My Brother Tim's Top Ten Latin American Novels


  1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Hundred Years of Solitude.
    Wild demented storytelling. A book about family, politics, the human condition (solitude), the nature of male and female. Poetic, earthy, surreal and hilarious.
    See also: Autumn of the Patriarch / Love in the Time of Cholera
    "A Garcia Marquez Page"
  2. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the Long Sun (Nightside the Long Sun; Lake of the Long Sun; Calde of the Long Sun; Exodus from the Long Sun; On Blue's Waters).
    A mixture of Proust and Isaac Asimov, with Chestertonian Catholic symbolism thrown in. Unforgettable characters pursue their strange fates in a monumental, culturally intricate world that is a ship. Wolfe meditates on the horrors of politics and war, on the demands of pursuing peace, on Greco-Roman sacrifice, on the humanity of animals, on the relations of male and female, on revelation and computers, on the theology of the Outsider.
    See also: The Book of the New Sun (The Shadow of the Torturer; The Claw of the Concilator; The Sword of the Lictor; The Citadel of the Autarch; The Urth of the New Sun) / Soldier of the Mist; Soldier of Arete / Free Live Free
    "A Wolfe Page"
    The Whorl -- Archives of a Mailing List devoted entirely to The Book of the Long Sun
  3. John Irving: A Prayer For Owen Meany.
    A grotesque hilarious and heart-breaking defense of faith. "An Irving Page"
  4. Ursula Le Guin: The Left Hand of Darkness.
    A haunting examination of the nature of male and female; a gripping tale of survival on an ice world; an unflinching look at the totalitarian state; a Taoist meditation on opposites.
    See also: The Lathe of Heaven / Buffalo Gal Won't You Come Out Tonight
    "A Le Guin Page"
  5. John Le Carre (David John Moore Cornwell): Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
    I've read Tinker Tailor six times at least. Le Carre is the Balzac of the modern spy novel. See also: The Honourable Schoolboy
    "A Le Carre interview"
  6. Borges: Fictions.
    Magnificent critiques of simple, obvious "reality."
    See also: The Aleph / Collected Fiction
    "A Borges Page"
  7. Robertson Davies: Fifth Business.
    Funny and very strange. These characters stick with you. This book treats: magic, saints, myth vs. history, morally loathesome people, Christianity, Christian hypocrites, vengeance, madness, the unlived life.
    "A Davies Page"
    "A Davies Bio"
  8. P.G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse: Right Ho Jeeves.
    Wonderful lunacy.
    "A Wodehouse Page"
    "A Wodehouse Bibliography"
  9. Powell: A Dance to the Music of Time.
    A twelve-volume novel that is a comic novel and at the same time very serious.
    "A Powell Site"
  10. Shaara: The Killer Angels.
    A moving look at some of the main characters of the battle of Gettysburg. Shows that beyond good guys and bad guys is tragedy for everyone in war.
  11. Flannery O'Connor: Short Stories
    Hilarious and frightening examinations of fallen people receiving Christian grace.


  1. Dickens: The Pickwick Papers See also: David Copperfield / Great Expectations
    "A Dickens Page"
  2. Kipling: Short Stories / Kim / The Jungle Books
    "A Kipling Page"
    "A Kipling Page"
  3. Cervantes: Don Quixote
  4. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens): Huckleberry Finn See also: Tom Sawyer
    "A Twain Page"
  5. Marcel Proust: The Remembrance of Things Past
    "A Proust Page"
  6. Cao Xueqin: The Dream of the Red Chamber (aka The Story of the Stone )
  7. Hugo: Les Miserables
  8. Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday See also: Stories
    "A Chesterton Page"
  9. Maupassant: Stories
  10. Chekhov: Stories
  11. Stevenson: Stories "A Stevenson Page"

Other Great Writers
De La Mare: Stories
"A De La Mare Page"
Tony Hillerman: Skinwalkers / all the others
"A Hillerman Page"
Saki (H.H. Munro): Stories
"A Saki Page"
Italo Calvino: The Baron of the Trees
"A Calvino Page"
Juan Rulfo: Pedro Paramo
"A Rulfo Site" Marquez says he has read this slender novel 50 times.
Jerome K. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat
Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast Trilogy
Robert Aickman: Stories
"An Aickman Page"
Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House / The Lottery and Other Stories
"A Jackson Page"
"A Jackson Page"
John Collier: Fancies and Goodnights
Levi Peterson: The Backslider
Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There "A Carroll Page"
Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White / The Moonstone "A Wilkie Collins Page"
Dumas: The Three Musketeers Saga "A Dumas Page"
"Another Dumas Page"
Terry Bisson: Bears Discover Fire / Talking Man See my Anthology Link section for some online stories by Bisson.
  1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Cien Anos de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) (1967)
  2. Juan Rulfo: Pedro Paramo (Pedro Paramo) (1950)
  3. Ernesto Sabato: Sobre heroes y tumbas (On Heroes and Tombs) (1961)
  4. Mario Vargas Llosa: La tia Julia y el escribidor (Aunt Julia and the Screenwriter) (1977)
  5. Brianda Domecq: La Insolita Historia de Santa de Cabora (1990)
  6. Ignacio Solares: Anonimo (1982)
  7. Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis: Memorias Postumas de Bras Cubas (Posthumous Memories of Bras Cubas) (1881)
  8. Jorge Amado: Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos (The Two Husbands of Dona Flor) (1966)
  9. Mariano Azuela: Los de Abajo (The Underdogs) (1916)
  10. José Rubén Romero: La Vida Inútil de Pito Pérez (The Futile Life of Pito Perez) (1938) For a brilliant discussion of this novel, see Timothy Compton, Mexican Picaresque Narratives: Periquillo and Kin (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press and London: Associated University Presses, 1997), 69-86.

    The novels with published English translations have the English titles in parentheses.