Marquez’s list: 24 magically written books

4 months ago

Tell me what you’ve read and I will tell you who you are, because going through someone’s library is a great way to get to know them better. For a writer, opening themselves up to the world is even more important because it’s the essence of their creative work. Maybe that’s why many writers put together a list of books they personally found to be the most influential.

Today, Bright Side offers you such a list from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of ’One Hundred Years of Solitude.’ In his autobiography, ’Living to Tell the Tale,’ he says these books caught his imagination and ultimately shaped his creative mind.

  • The Metamorphosis,’ by Franz Kafka. ’When I finished reading ’The Metamorphosis’ I felt an irresistible longing to live in that alien paradise. The day found me at the portable typewriter that [a friend] had lent me, attempting to write something that would resemble Kafka’s poor bureaucrat changed into an enormous cockroach. In the days that followed, I did not go to the university for the fear the spell would be broken, and I continued sweating drops of envy.’
  • The Magic Mountain,’ by Thomas Mann
  • The Man in the Iron Mask,’ by Alexandre Dumas
  • ’The Sound and the Fury,’ by William Faulkner
  • ’As I Lay Dying,’ by William Faulkner
  • ’Wild Palms,’ by William Faulkner. ’Much of what had seemed pedantic or hermetic in Joyce and Faulkner was revealed to me then with a terrifying beauty and simplicity.’
  • The Aleph and Other Stories,’ by Jorge Luis Borges
  • The Collected Stories,’ by Ernest Hemingway
  • Point Counter Point,’ by Aldous Huxley
  • Oedipus Rex,’ by Sophocles. ’’Oedipus Rex’ revealed itself to me on first reading as the perfect work.’
  • The House of the Seven Gables,’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne. "’The House of the Seven Gables,’ [...] marked me for life.’
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Moby-Dick,’ by Herman Melville
  • Sons and Lovers,’ by David Herbert Lawrence
  • ’The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights.’ ’I even dared to think that the marvels recounted by Scheherazade really happened in the daily life of her time, and stopped happening because of the incredulity and realistic cowardice of subsequent generations. By the same token, it seemed impossible that anyone from our time would ever believe again that you could fly over cities and mountains on a carpet, or that a slave from Cartagena de Indias would live for two hundred years in a bottle as a punishment, unless the author of the story could make his readers believe it.’
  • Of Mice and Men,’ by John Steinbeck
  • ’The Grapes of Wrath,’ by John Steinbeck
  • Tobacco Road,’ by Erskine Caldwell
  • Stories,’ by Katherine Mansfield
  • Manhattan Transfer,’ by John Dos Passos
  • Mrs. Dalloway’ by Virginia Woolf. Marquez wrote that he had learned the Spanish version of ’Mrs. Dalloway’ by heart. And after he read it for the first time, he ’went [home] with the air of someone who had discovered the world.’
  • Orlando,’ by Virginia Woolf
  • Portrait of Jennie,’ by Robert Nathan
  • Ulysses,’ by James Joyce. ’[’Ulysses’] not only was the discovery of a genuine world that I never suspected inside me, but it also provided invaluable technical help to me in freeing language and in handling time and structures in my books.’
’With them, [my favorite books], I learned and never forgot that we should read only those books that force us to reread them.’ — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Preview photo credit Noblit
Based on materials from Monocler


Lucky you! This thread is empty,
which means you've got dibs on the first comment.
Go for it!

Related Reads