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Jane Ciabattari’s “Literary Pillars”

The books I treasure explore the nature of time and “reality,” integrate non-domestic external realities with the personal realm, startle readers with original language, innovate within the short story or novel form, or open doors to new ways of perceiving what fiction is. Telling truth through fiction has been a longtime goal of mine as a fiction writer, and I honor those who have met that challenge, including these 50 (including one poet):

My 50, in alphabetical order:

Chimamanda Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
Renata Adler, Speedboat
Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March
Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions
William Burroughs, Naked Lunch
Anton Chekhov, Short Stories
Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Joan Didion, Salvador
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime
Marguerite Duras, The Lover
Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
M.F.K. Fisher, As They Were
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Richard Ford, Rock Springs
Alyson Hagy, Ghosts of Wyoming
Hamilton, Edith, Mythology
8Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights 
Joy Harjo, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Amy Hempel, Reasons to Live
Sheila Kohler, Cracks
Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
Carson McCullers, Ballad of the Sad Cafe
N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn
Toni Morrison, Sula
Toni Morrison, Beloved
*Marnie Mueller, The Climate of the Country
Alice Munro, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories
Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going? Where Have  You Been?
Tim O’Brien, Things They Carried
Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
Jayne Anne Phillips, Black Tickets
Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite
Katherine Anne Porter, Pale Horse, Pale Rider
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
*James Salter, Light Years
Greg Sarris, Grand Avenue
W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz
Robert Stone,Dog Soldiers
Alice Walker, Meridian
Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Editor’s Note: This list is part of Big Other’s Tribute to William H. Gass’s 88th Birthday.

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