Book List

Boydell, Lear

We often see such lists under the title of "Best Books of the Year" or Harold Bloom's "The Western Canon*," so I decided to assemble a list, not to recommend to others but to check my own sense of what I deem important.  Some works impressed me when I was young and others as I grew older, but this list is the crème de la crème, the ones I hold most dear. Then the best adaption(s), if there is one. Also, a few comments.

Losing Battles
Importance Author Title Adaption
*** Unknown The Book of Job  
Coen Brothers film A Serious Man    (Perhaps the best Coen Bro. movie)

*** Homer Iliad


The Robert
Fagles and the Stanley Lombardo translations are both great.

Both the Fitzgerald and the Fagles are excellent - also the TV miniseries with Armand Assante 
*** Sophocles


Oedipus the King

Oedipus at Colonus



     Jean Anouilh's play
Antigone based on the original.   
Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy Robin Kirkpatrick translation is standard. (Alan Bloom thinks Dante and Shakespeare are the Western Canon)
** Sir Thomas Malory   Le Mort D'Arthur 


Excalibur -1981 film by John Boorman   


*** William Shakespeare  King Lear 


Ran  - Kurosawa's epic film based on legends of Mōri Motonari as well as King Lear.

Hamlet              -1990 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Mel Gibson


* Lewis Carrol Alice in Wonderland


Alice in Wonderland - the 1951 version by Walt Disney


* Junichiro Tanizaki
The Makioka
1983 film directed by Kon Ichikawa  (The best introduction to Japanese lit.)


Albert Camus


The Stranger 1967 film directed by Luchino Visconti
* Lawrence Durrell
The Alexandria  Quartet

 Justine directed by George Cukor                 

** William Faulkner As I Lay Dying
Light in August

Absalom, Absalom!

The Sound and
the Fury

There are several films of Faulkner's works, but the only two I found worth watching are The Reivers  and The Barn Burners, a short film of the same name with Tommy Lee Jones as Abner Snopes.

** Nikos Kazantzakis
The Last Temptation of Christ

The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel

Zorba the Greek
 The movie version was forgetable.

 Zorba the Greek film directed by
Michael Cacoyannis and starring Anthony Quinn

Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude  

Eudora Welty

Collected Stories & Losing Battles

Delta Wedding

 Walker Percy

The Moviegoer
& The Last Gentleman



 Flannery O'Connor


Wise Blood   A 1979  John Huston film by the same title
* Roberto Calasso  
The Marriage of Cadmus and



** Kenneth Clark Civilisation 


    (Book & TV series)




Robert Graves


The Greek Myths 

Haruki Murakami, Kaka on the Shore



"Either there were aesthetic values, or there are only the over determinations of race, class, and gender. You must choose, for if you believe that all value ascribed to poems or plays or novels and stories is only a mystification in the service of the ruling class, then why should you read at all rather than go forth to serve the desperate needs of the exploited classes? The idea that you benefit the insulted and injured by reading someone of their own origins rather than reading Shakespeare is on the the oddest  illusions ever promoted by in our schools."

                                                                                                                                                                       -Harold Bloom, 1996