22 essential books?

I stumbled across an interesting bit of information this week while trolling on the interwebs. While convalescing in a North Carolina hotel room in 1936, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of THE GREAT GATSBY, had his nurse write down a list of 22 “essential” books he thought everyone should read, and here is that list, presented in the nurse’s handwriting:


Here it is in much easier to read typeface (with links to where you can read or buy):

Even for someone as purportedly great an authority as F. Scott Fitzgerald, these lists are more often than not simply a look into the tastes and experiences of their maker. The above is no more a list of books you “simply must” read than my own:

And now, looking back on my own list (which would look differently if you asked me again in a month), I realize that I almost exclusively read books by old white men (thank goodness for Harper Lee!). So this exercise wasn’t as fruitless as I thought at first that it might be. I found out that I suck.

One Response to “22 essential books?”

  1. richardlarsen@comcast.net Says:

    I would add at least one more to either list:  The Holy Bible, if not for its faith teachings (which I would subscribe to), then for its historical and social value. 


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