Donald Barthelme’s Book Recommendations

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Sure–okay, sure, you’ve seen this before (or maybe not), I know I have (I’ve even posted it before). But today is D. Barthelme’s birthday (he’s dead of course), and I’ve read or reread (or, more accurately read) most of his stuff (sans The King, which I’ve been saving) over the past year. Anyway, this here list comes via Kevin Moffett who got it off DB’s former student, Padgett Powell, when he (that is Moffett) was finishing up at my alma mater, the University of Gators (where Powell continues to teach today, having replaced Harry Crews, RIP). Anyway (again with that transition!), check out Moffett’s original share-piece at The Believer; he describes Gainesville’s Friends of the Library Sale, which was always fun. I got a copy of John Barth’s Chimera there (on the list, natch), among other books, but I didn’t get any Barthelme. I’ve read 31 of the 81 books on the list (this includes fantastically awarding myself the “Samuel Beckett entire” entry but hell man I think it’s been counted as one work here (at least by Moffett?), which maybe it should be but no I haven’t read all of Beckett but hell I’ve read a lot, if not enough, but anyway (again!)–31).

3 thoughts on “Donald Barthelme’s Book Recommendations”

  1. Heckuva list. In the strange-but-true story category: I crashed at Donald Barthelme’s place in NYC one night as an undergrad in the mid-80s. I was in the city to see Kurt Vonnegut speak at the PEN conference (his opening act that night was Susan Sontag) and the father of my friend who got us tickets also arranged for us to stay at DB’s place (he was not in town at the time). I remember it was all very spartan and neat, with of course some interesting books (probably some on that list!), although I could not find a single DB book there…I had not read a word of his work at that point, and never got closer to meeting him than that. But that night in an unoccupied apt stands as a significant center of my experience of New York and the idea of becoming a writer.


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