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William Walsh’s “Literary Pillars”

After examining three bookshelf walls in our home—one in the living room and two in the basement (one on the “finished” side of the basement and one of the side of the basement with the boiler and the washer/drier), here’s a list of fifty books that pillar my reading and writing life:

    1. SuccessSuccess by Martin Amis
    2. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
    3. Leviathan by Paul Auster
    4. The Fermata by Nicholson Baker
    5. 60 Stories by Donald Barthelme
    6. The Watch by Rick Bass
    7. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
    8. Among the Thugs by Bill Buford
    9. The Most Beautiful Woman in Town by Charles Bukowski
    10. The Stranger by Albert Camus
    11. Cathedral by Raymond Carver
    12. Spanking the Maid by Robert Coover
    13. Samuel Johnson is Indignant by Lydia Davis
    14. White Noise by Don DeLillo
    15. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
    16. The White Album by Joan Didion
    17. American Tabloid by James Ellroy
    18. Zeroville by Steve Erickson
    19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    20. Rock Springs by Richard Ford
    21. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
    22. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
    23. Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel
    24. Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
    25. Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones
    26. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
    27. Dubliners by James Joyce
    28. Ulysses by James Joyce
    29. Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game by William Kennedy
    30. Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
    31. Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson
    32. Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin
    33. Michael Martone by Michael Martone
    34. Spence and Lila by Bobbi Anne Mason
    35. Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
    36. The Moons of Jupiter by Alice Munro
    37. The Only Good Things Anyone Has Ever Done by Sandra Newman
    38. My Father’s Son by Frank O’Connor
    39. The Four Ways of Computing Midnight by Francis Phelan
    40. Slow Learner by Thomas Pynchon
    41. A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter
    42. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
    43. To Absent Friends by Red Smith
    44. The Palm at the End of the Mind by Wallace Stevens
    45. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
    46. American Genius by Lynne Tillman
    47. Killings by Calvin Trillin
    48. Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
    49. Birdsong by James P. White
    50. The Collected Poems by W. B. Yeats

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

William Walsh is the author of Forty-Four American Boys, Stephen King Stephen King, Unknown Arts, Ampersand, Mass., Pathologies, Questionstruck, and Without Wax. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Quarterly West, New York Tyrant, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He is the editor of RE:Telling.

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