Mailer On O'Hara

Appointment Ranks Among His Top 10 Favs
Illuminates Mailer's freshman year

To Helen Morris,
The Reader's Catalogue
627 Commercial Street,
Provincetown, MA
January 16, 1988

Dear Helen Morris,
Appended is my list. With the exception of Huckleberry Finn, which I reread recently, the other nine books were devoured in my freshman year at Harvard, and gave me the desire, which has never gone completely away, to be a writer, an American writer. They're all selections from the mainstream of American novels, not a surprise on the list, which separates me, I suspect, from my colleagues. But it's an honest list, even if it doesn't bring a deserving writer out of obscurity. Freshman year at Harvard is luminous because of these books.

Yours sincerely,
Norman Mailer

Ten Favorite American Novels
U.S.A. John Dos Passos
Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
Studs Lonigan James T. Farrell
Look Homeward, Angel Thomas Wolfe
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
Appointment in Samarra John O'Hara
The Postman Always Rings Twice James M. Cain
Moby-Dick Herman Melville

(Thanks to member Richard Rabicoff for submitting the above, gleaned from the current issue of The New York Review of Books).

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