Mailer's Favorites Books

Norman Mailer first read some of his favorite books of all time during his freshman year at Harvard in 1943. But his list of American must-reads, unearthed by the Paper Cuts blog at The New York Times, feels more timely than ever. The, first published in 1988, includes several classics, such as The Great Gatsby and Huckleberry Finn, but there are some unusual choices, as well. “I like this list for the daring inclusion of the noirish Postman Always Rings Twice and, particularly, for the unapologetic recognition of two Great American Novels, Look Homeward, Angel and The Grapes of Wrath, which if I’m not mistaken were as out of literary fashion in 1988 as they are today,” writes The Times’ Steve Coates. "They're all selections from the mainstream of American novels, not a surprise on the list, which separates me, I suspect, from my colleagues," Mailer wrote of the books. "But it's an honest list, even if it doesn't bring a deserving writer out of obscurity.