David Foster Wallace’s 10 Favorite Novels
Yesterday, David Foster Wallace would’ve been 50. He’s one of the authors that I’ve slowly grown in appreciation for since I started this blog. And judging by my tag cloud on the home page, I’ve probably talked about him more than any other author.
When I think of an author like DFW, a guy who wrote the beastly novel that is Infinite Jest, I assume he must have been into heady novels like Ulysses, that his daily reading list probably consisted of Chaucer and Homer, that he would read Faulkner on his lunch break.
But maybe not. Before he died, DFW made a list of his top ten favorite books for a compilation of favorite books of famous writers. I’ve got to say—they aren’t quite what I expected from DFW, but that makes him all the more intriguing.
Here is his top 10:
- The ScrewTape Letters by C.S. Lewis
- The Stand by Stephen King
- Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
- The Thin Red Line by James Jones
- Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
- Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
- Fuzz by Ed McBain
- Alligator by Shelley Katz
- The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancey
A couple of things stand out to me. DFW was obviously a Thomas Harris fan, with two books on the list. Would’ve never predicted Tom Clancy’s The Sum of all Fears—didn’t see DFW as a big spy novel type of guy.
And totally wouldn’t have predicted The ScrewTape Letters in the top spot. That’s an amazing book, though, and it makes me happy to know that DFW was fond of C.S. Lewis’ writing, especially his faith-based stuff.
Fuzz is 1970s mystery fiction from an author who wrote a trillion books. Alligator has an early 80s cheesy thriller feel to it and, with only one review on Amazon, is quite obscure.
In all, it looks like DFW was a fan of generally mainstream fiction. Read about the entire list here.
Does that surprise you? Anything on his list that stands out?