Donald Barthelme's 81 Books Essential for a Literary Education

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98 books · 68 voters · list created March 15th, 2013 by Lazarus P Badpenny Esq (votes) .
326 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Lazarus 3589 books
409 friends
Jonathan 6887 books
896 friends
Jane 30447 books
53 friends
Aubrey 4087 books
41 friends
Rayroy 1366 books
281 friends
Irisha 2 books
0 friends
Declan 1028 books
207 friends
Sarah 13158 books
220 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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Susanna - Censored by GoodReads If the list has 81 books on it, why does this version have 96?


message 2: by Lazarus (new)

Lazarus P Badpenny Esq Susanna wrote: "If the list has 81 books on it, why does this version have 96?"

You ask a very good question; the facsimile has additional titles scribbled in the margins so I included those as well. Somehow a list of 81 books that is actually 96 titles long seems a suitably postmodern gesture.


message 3: by Rayroy (new)

Rayroy Great to see Saul Bellow on this list, this list is fucking tits.


message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom Bensley Well. I won't be forgetting this list any time ever.


message 5: by Sketchbook (last edited Jun 30, 2014 09:53AM) (new)

Sketchbook His list, to para D Parker, runs from A to B. He cites all his friends. But then, that's what friends are for. ~~ Logroll, scratch dem backs !


message 6: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Donald B is so >> minor << I'd call him a meynor. He doesn't even rate a hiccough. Further, let's 86 the overused catch-word >> essential. << It's vomir.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Sketchbook wrote: "minor"

not in the context of 20th century lit, shirley? for-there-more, i don't know if barthelme was actually close friends with eg: amos tutuoula, thomas (pynchon or bernhard), borges, et al.


message 8: by Johnny (new)

Johnny Shepherd Nice list. I'd cross check it, if I had time, but I suspect there are at least a few problems with it: For instance, Glen Duncan's and Donal Ryan's novels were both initially published well after Barthelme's death, as were the collections of Paris Review interviews. Still, I sort of like the idea of Barthelme recommending books from beyond the grave, so I guess I can't complain.


message 9: by Lazarus (new)

Lazarus P Badpenny Esq Johnny wrote: "Nice list. I'd cross check it, if I had time, but I suspect there are at least a few problems with it: For instance, Glen Duncan's and Donal Ryan's novels were both initially published well after B..."

You're right. It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one who occasionally wades onto a list indiscriminately adding books without even reading its title...


message 10: by Josh (new)

Josh removed the Glen Duncan and Donal Ryan books, they are not on Barthelme's list, nor in the margin notes


message 11: by Liam O'Leary (last edited Sep 01, 2021 04:54AM) (new)

Liam O'Leary Why is Bellow here multiple times? I see that these were in the margin notes but does that not mean there should be more than 81 total? It makes me think some have been omitted.

I'm looking at the 81 bullet-pointed titles at the bottom of the linked list and Bellow features among them only once...


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