2019 MFA Project

I’ve decided that this is the year that I’ll finally tackle all of the classic works that somehow escaped me during my college years, plus a few books to help me continue my literary education and reshape my understanding of what it means to be a writer.

Will I finish by the end of the year? Who knows! (Probably not, it’s a very long list.) But I’m excited to try. Follow me on Twitter and Goodreads for real-time updates and reviews as I make my attempt whilst working full-time as a freelance writer.

(Italicized entries were added after I started the program, because I just can’t help myself.)

Craft books

  1. The Elements of Style
  2. Bird by Bird
  3. The Art of the Novel
  4. The Craft of Fiction
  5. Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews Revised, Subsequent Edition
  6. On Writing Well
  7. The Art of the Personal Essay
  8. Writing Down the Bones
  9. Best American Essays 2015
  10. The Art of Fact
  11. Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction
  12. Draft No. 4
  13. Writing Tools


  1. 1984
  2. The Virgin Suicides
  3. East of Eden
  4. Mrs. Dalloway
  5. A Room of One’s Own
  6. Slaughterhouse-Five
  7. Beloved
  8. In the Penal Colony
  9. Orlando
  10. Ulysses
  11. In Our Time
  12. Against Interpretation and Other Essays
  13. Speak, Memory
  14. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  15. Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories
  16. In Cold Blood
  17. The Stranger
  18. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  19. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  20. Absalom, Absalom!
  21. The Catcher in the Rye
  22. On the Road
  23. The Log from the Sea of Cortez

Contemporaries (Fiction)

  1. White Oleander
  2. The Woman Warrior
  3. I Love Dick
  4. The Year of Magical Thinking
  5. Girl, Interrupted
  6. Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
  7. Americanah
  8. Things Fall Apart
  9. The Daydreaming Boy
  10. Runaway
  11. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
  12. High Fidelity
  13. The Shipping News
  14. Kafka on the Shore
  15. The Writer’s Notebook 1
  16. The Alchemist
  17. Middlemarch
  18. Tenth of December
  19. Mountains of the Mind
  20. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel


  1. Dracula
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  3. The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings
  4. Frankenstein
  5. The Dispossessed
  6. The Left Hand of Darkness
  7. The Last Man
  8. The Bloody Chamber
  9. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  10. War of the Worlds
  11. Journey to the Center of the Earth


  1. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
  2. The Warmth of Other Suns
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  4. Silent Spring
  5. Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
  6. Born A Crime
  7. Upstream: Selected Essays
  8. The Tusk That Did the Damage
  9. On Beauty
  10. Light the Dark
  11. The Snow Leopard