Eighteen Books You Should Read After You Die

Hell is other people's libraries

We are all familiar with the lists of ten, fifty, one hundred, one thousand and one “Books You Should Read Before You Die”.  We at The Varnished Culture had not realised that it has been definitively proven that there is reading in the afterlife but, as it obviously has, we have compiled a list of books which absolutely must be read after death – i.e. not in this lifetime.:-

  1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
  2. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  3. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  4. Anything by Milan Kundera
  5. Wired by Bob Woodward
  6. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
  7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  8. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  9. The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst
  10. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  11. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (even if you accept the free-market mantra, the book is mind-numbing)
  12. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  13. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  14. The God of Small Things by Arandhati Roy
  15. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  16. The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart
  17. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
  18. JonBenet Knows Evil Love by Richard Rubacher

In the grand tradition of reading (or, in this case, not-reading) lists, this should be a nice round 20.  Please send us your nominations for the last two places.  And, if you feel punchy, ask us to justify a choice!  We want to hear from YOU.


  1. Reply


    October 9, 2015

    I have to agree with the Kite Runner choice--an enjoyable book spoiled by an unbelievable crappy ending...
    The Galt speech in AR's AS is a superb piece that won't kill you, but would have put JG's audience to sleep... yet, it is only the apex of a series of stunning tour de force speeches that take up most of the text... Gold, gold, gold!!!!
    Finnegan--you don't have to be dead, but you do need to be drunk...
    I liked the Road, even though it was so depressing it might actually make you get yourself to the otter side, a la https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSALQn0u9z4; but I loved the last page or so... sigh

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