Parents often ask me for a reading list. There are far too many wonderful writers to list, but in addition to the classics, these are a few of my favorites.
- Stephen Dunn Pulitzer Prize Winning poet. I adore his work, particularly “Different Hours.” His writing has a kind of still-life quality while exploring themes of relationships and mortality.
- Jumpha Lahiri “Interpreter of Maladies.” This collection of short stories reverses the usual ethno-centric lens of life. Her stories are flavoured by her East Indian cultural background, which creates a dynamic tension and humour.
- Rohinton Mistry “A Fine Balance.” A tragic and poignant novel about India, and how losing a sewing machine changed a woman’s fate. I cried copiously and would rate it a five kleenex read.
- Raymond Carver. Carver was a brilliant author who made the mundane events of life transcendent. He sadly died at age fifty of alcoholism. All of his stories and essays are wonderful.
- David Sedaris “Naked”. A Scathing and ruthlessly funny collection of stories.
- Margaret Atwood “A Handmaid’s Tale.” For a work written in the eighties, it is creepily prophetic. Her poetic sensibility, allusions and cultural references are amazing.
- Alice Munro. I ‘m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse having her as my teacher at Banff. I have always compared my writing to hers and been sadly disappointed. Read everything- she’s a genius of subtlety and craft.
- Khaled Hosseini I am officially in love with this man. A Thousand Splendid Suns eclipses his last novel. His poetic and poignant understanding of women, politics, and culture is more elegantly written than a cat on a tight rope. This man is a genius and a compassionate soul! I am doling out the book like a last meal, savouring each bite…
- Tim O ‘ Brian “The Things They Carried” explores the surrealism of the Vietnam War with stunning lucidity.
- Camus “L’etranger. This existential work is better in French, but at least read it in English.
I am teaching William Morris’ “So long, see you tomorrow.” I highly recommend his amazingly poignant work. He is a master of simplicity, imagery and atmosphere.