As I simultaneously stress about an upcoming move across the country and enjoy two months of jobless freedom after graduation, I have taken it upon myself to get certain things in order. A part of that, at least in my own trademark roundabout logic, has included compiling the literature I have read, am currently reading, and hope to read in the future onto a GoodReads account so that I can find easy recommendations and keep track of an ever-growing library. Here is my current list of my ten favorite novels. Each of them has a special place for me as a reader and for me as a writer, and all deserve a read (or a re-read) to those who enjoy literature.
10. Ten White Geese, Gerard Bakker
“Perhaps she did now, in this foreign country, because it was November here too or because she sensed how vulnerable people are when they have no idea what to do next, how to move forward or back.”
Surely the least likely work on this list, Gerard Bakker’s Ten White Geese is difficult to justify as one of my top ten novels. And yet, there is not doubt that this work has been immensely influential for me as a writer and a reader. Like Plath’s famous novel, and with a great debt to Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson, Bakker’s novel is far more concerned about emotion than with plot. Its contemplation of translation and communication, both across language barriers and within one’s own person, is complex and luminous. Fittingly, I cannot fully explain why, but this novel left me haunted.