Read Ahead

theLeftAhead Literary Canon



[In Reverse Chronological Order]:

Charles Yu – Interior Chinatown

Madeline Miller – Circe

Andrew Sean Greer – Less

Colson Whitehead – The Underground Railroad

Harper Lee – Go Set a Watchman

Viet Thanh Nguyen – The Sympathizer

Phil Klay – Redeployment

Jason Mott – The Returned

Salman Rushdie – Joseph Anton: A Memoir

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl

Stephen King – 11/22/63

Jess Walter – The Financial Lives of the Poets

John Updike – Terrorist

Jeff Lindsay – Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Jen Banbury – Like a Hole in the Head

Norman Mailer – The Gospel According to the Son

Ethan Hawke – The Hottest State

Mona Simpson – A Regular Guy

David Foster Wallace – Infinite Jest

John Updike – Rabbit at Rest

Salman Rushdie – The Satanic Verses

Toni Morrison – Beloved

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale

Bret Easton Ellis – Less Than Zero

John Updike – Rabbit Is Rich

Norman Mailer – The Executioner’s Song

Stephen King – The Shining

John Updike – Rabbit Redux

Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse-Five

Norman Mailer – An American Dream

Jack Kerouac – Big Sur

Philip K. Dick – The Man in the High Castle

John Updike – Rabbit, Run

Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird

Jack Kerouac – On the Road

James Baldwin – Go Tell It on the Mountain

J. D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye

Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls

James Joyce – Finnegans Wake

John Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Hobbit

Ernest Hemingway – A Farewell to Arms

Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse

Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises

F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

James Joyce – Ulysses

James Joyce – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

D.H. Lawrence – The Rainbow

Arthur Conan Doyle – The Hound of the Baskervilles

Joseph Conrad – Lord Jim

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mark Twain – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace

Louisa May Alcott – Little Women

Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment

Charles Dickens – Great Expectations

Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities

Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels

John Bunyan – The Pilgrim’s Progress




[In Reverse Chronological Order]:

Barack Obama – A Promised Land

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio – The Undocumented Americans

Edward Snowden – Permanent Record

Michelle Obama – Becoming

Bob Woodward – Fear: Trump in the White House

Ta-Nehisi Coates – We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Bernie Sanders – Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution

Neil deGrasse Tyson – Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Timothy Snyder – On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Michael Eric Dyson – Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White People

Bernie Sanders – Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In

J. D. Vance – Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Alice Y. Walker – Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, & the Foundations of a Movement

Gloria Steinem – My Life on the Road

Bernie Sanders- Outsider in the White House

Ta-Nehisi Coates – Between the World and Me

David McCullough – The Wright Brothers

David Axelrod – Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

Bryan Stevenson – Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Suki Kim – Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite

Naomi Klein – This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

Hillary Clinton – Hard Choices: A Memoir

Elizabeth Warren – A Fighting Chance

Michael Lewis – Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

Doris Kearns Goodwin – The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism

Malala Yousafzai – I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Malcolm Gladwell – David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Reza Aslan – Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Ray Kurzweil – How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed

Nate Silver – The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don’t

Rachel Maddow – Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

Jon Ronson – The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

Bill Clinton – Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy

Walter Issacson – Steve Jobs

Philip Dray – There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America

Michelle Alexander – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Bill Simmons – The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy

Edward M. Kennedy – True Compass: A Memoir

Fareed Zakaria – The Post-American World

Thomas L. Friedman – Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America

David Plouffe – The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory

Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers: The Story of Success

Scott McClellan – What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception

Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Barack Obama – The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Doris Kearns Goodwin – Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

Marcus J. Borg – The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith

Hillary Clinton – Living History

John Feinstein – The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever

John Wooden – They Call Me Coach

Alan Dershowitz – Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000

William Shaw – Westside: Young Men and Hip Hop in L.A.

Jennifer Harbury – Bridge of Courage: Life Stories of the Guatemalan CompaƱeros and CompaƱeras

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. – A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House

Barack Obama – Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Joyce Johnson – Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir

Howard Zinn – A People’s History of the United States

Eduardo Galleano – Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Saul D. Alinsky – Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals

Abbie Hoffman – Steal This Book

Alex Haley & Malcolm X – The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Martin Luther King, Jr. – Why We Can’t Wait

Frederick Douglass – Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Thomas Jefferson – Notes on the State of Virginia




[In Reverse Chronological Order]:

Kevin Coval – A People’s History of Chicago

Tyehimba Jess – Olio

Tony Hoagland – Application for Release from the Dream

Amy Gerstler – Scattered at Sea

Peter Balakian – Ozone Journal

James Franco – Directing Herbert White: Poems

Rae Armantrout – Money Shot

Charles Bukowski – The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems

Saul Williams – Said the Shotgun to the Head

Frank Marshall Davis – Black Moods: Collected Poems

Tupac Shakur – The Rose that Grew from Concrete

Donald Hall – Without: Poems

Maya Angelou – And Still I Rise

Jack Kerouac – Heaven and Other Poems

Seamus Heaney – North

Shel Silverstein – Where the Sidewalk Ends

Maya Angelou – Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie

Gary Snyder – The Back Country

Sylvia Plath – The Colossus and Other Poems

Allen Ginsberg – Howl and Other Poems

T.S. Eliot – Four Quartets

Fernando Pessoa – Poesia Inglesa (1)

Ezra Pound – Personae

Alfred Tennyson – Idylls of the King

Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass

Edgar Allan Poe – The Raven

George Gordon Byron – Don Juan

William Blake – Songs of Innocence and Experience

Phillis Wheatley – Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral

John Milton – Paradise Lost

William Shakespeare – Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Homer – The Odyssey

Homer – The Iliad