Vous a-t-on déjà recommandé de choisir vos lectures au hasard ? Pourquoi toujours vouloir lire utile ? Pourquoi ne pas ouvrir la porte à des découvertes ? L’idée est excellente, mais suppose que nous ne perdrons pas de temps avec une mauvaise lecture. Même si nous ne sommes jamais obligé de terminer un livre (plus je vieillis et plus je me le permets), on perd déjà un temps certain à se rendre compte que l’ouvrage ne nous intéresse pas.

Pourrions-nous laisser le hasard faire les choses, mais avec l’assurance de ne jamais faire de mauvais choix (ou presque) ? Il existe un moyen pour parvenir à cela : choisir au sein d’une liste curatée. C’est-à-dire au sein d’un nombre de titres sélectionnés par quelqu’un de confiance.

Alors, pourquoi ne pas faire confiance à un des auteurs qui a le plus vendu de livres au monde ? Il ne peut pas avoir complètement mauvais goût… Et son biais est clair : il apprécie les oeuvres de science-ficiton, d’horreur et de “mystère” en général. Mais ça… nous le savions déjà.

Stephen King partage dans “On Writing” plusieurs listes de titres qu’il a lus et qu’il recommanderait. Les voici !

As you scan this list, please remember that I’m not Oprah and this isn’t my book club. These are the ones that worked for me, that’s all. But you could do worse, and a good many of these might show you some new ways of doing your work. Even if they don’t, they’re apt to entertain you. They certainly entertained me.

Abrahams, Peter: A Perfect Crime Abrahams, Peter: Lights Out Abrahams, Peter: Pressure Drop Abrahams, Peter: Revolution #9 Agee, James: A Death in the Family Bakis, Kirsten: Lives of the Monster Dogs Barker, Pat: Regeneration Barker, Pat: The Eye in the Door Barker, Pat: The Ghost Road Bausch, Richard: In the Night Season Blauner, Peter: The Intruder Bowles, Paul: The Sheltering Sky Boyle, T. Coraghessan: The Tortilla Curtain Bryson, Bill: A Walk in the Woods Buckley, Christopher: Thank You for Smoking Carver, Raymond: Where I’m Calling From Chabon, Michael: Werewolves in Their Youth Chorlton, Windsor: Latitude Zero Connelly, Michael: The Poet Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness Constantine, K. C.: Family Values DeLillo, Don: Underworld DeMille, Nelson: Cathedral DeMille, Nelson: The Gold Coast Dickens, Charles: Oliver Twist Dobyns, Stephen: Common Carnage Dobyns, Stephen: The Church of Dead Girls Doyle, Roddy: The Woman Who Walked into Doors Elkin, Stanley: The Dick Gibson Show Faulkner, William: As I Lay Dying Garland, Alex: The Beach George, Elizabeth: Deception on His Mind Gerritsen, Tess: Gravity Golding, William: Lord of the Flies Gray, Muriel: Furnace Greene, Graham: A Gun for Sale (aka This Gun for Hire) Greene, Graham: Our Man in Havana Halberstam, David: The Fifties Hamill, Pete: Why Sinatra Matters Harris, Thomas: Hannibal Haruf, Kent: Plainsong Hoeg, Peter: Smilla’s Sense of Snow Hunter, Stephen: Dirty White Boys Ignatius, David: A Firing Offense Irving, John: A Widow for One Year Joyce, Graham: The Tooth Fairy Judd, Alan: The Devil’s Own Work Kahn, Roger: Good Enough to Dream Karr, Mary: The Liars’ Club Ketchum, Jack: Right to Life King, Tabitha: Survivor King, Tabitha: The Sky in the Water (unpublished) Kingsolver, Barbara: The Poisonwood Bible Krakauer, Jon: Into Thin Air Lee, Harper: To Kill a Mockingbird Lefkowitz, Bernard: Our Guys Little, Bentley: The Ignored Maclean, Norman: A River Runs Through It and Other Stories Maugham, W. Somerset: The Moon and Sixpence McCarthy, Cormac: Cities of the Plain McCarthy, Cormac: The Crossing McCourt, Frank: Angela’s Ashes McDermott, Alice: Charming Billy McDevitt, Jack: Ancient Shores McEwan, Ian: Enduring Love McEwan, Ian: The Cement Garden McMurtry, Larry: Dead Man’s Walk McMurtry, Larry, and Diana Ossana: Zeke and Ned Miller, Walter M.: A Canticle for Leibowitz Oates, Joyce Carol: Zombie O’Brien, Tim: In the Lake of the Woods O’Nan, Stewart: The Speed Queen Ondaatje, Michael: The English Patient Patterson, Richard North: No Safe Place Price, Richard: Freedomland Proulx, Annie: Close Range: Wyoming Stories Proulx, Annie: The Shipping News Quindlen, Anna: One True Thing Rendell, Ruth: A Sight for Sore Eyes Robinson, Frank M.: Waiting Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Russo, Richard: Mohawk Schwartz, John Burnham: Reservation Road Seth, Vikram: A Suitable Boy Shaw, Irwin: The Young Lions Slotkin, Richard: The Crater Smith, Dinitia: The Illusionist Spencer, Scott: Men in Black Stegner, Wallace: Joe Hill Tartt, Donna: The Secret History Tyler, Anne: A Patchwork Planet Vonnegut, Kurt: Hocus Pocus Waugh, Evelyn: Brideshead Revisited Westlake, Donald E.: The Ax

At the end of the original edition of On Writing, I listed about a hundred books which entertained and taught me. The publishers suggested I update the list for this new edition, so here are eighty-plus more–the best things I’ve read between 2001 and 2009. As I said in the 2000 edition of the book … you could do worse. Abrahams, Peter: End of Story Abrahams, Peter: The Tutor Adiga, Aravind: The White Tiger Atkinson, Kate: One Good Turn Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake Berlinski, Mischa: Fieldwork Black, Benjamin [pseudo.]: Christine Falls Blauner, Peter: The Last Good Day Bolaño, Roberto: 2666 Carr, David: The Night of the Gun Casey, John: Spartina Chabon, Michael: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union Child, Lee: The Jack Reacher novels, starting with Killing Floor Connelly, Michael: The Narrows Costello, Mark: Big If Cunningham, Michael: The Hours Danielewski, Mark Z.: House of Leaves Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Dooling, Richard: White Man’s Grave Downing, David: Zoo Station Dubus, Andre: The Garden of Last Days Enger, Leif: Peace Like a River Exley, Frederick: A Fan’s Notes Ferris, Joshua: Then We Came to the End Franzen, Jonathan: Strong Motion Franzen, Jonathan: The Corrections Gaiman, Neil: American Gods Gardiner, Meg: Crosscut Gardiner, Meg: The Dirty Secrets Club Gay, William: The Long Home Goddard, Robert: Painting the Darkness Gruen, Sara: Water for Elephants Hall, Steven: The Raw Shark Texts Helprin, Mark: A Soldier of the Great War Huston, Charlie: The Hank Thompson Trilogy Johnson, Denis: Tree of Smoke Keillor, Garrison (ed.): Good Poems Kidd, Sue Monk: The Secret Life of Bees Klosterman, Chuck: Fargo Rock City Larsson, Stieg: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Le Carré, John: Absolute Friends Lehane, Dennis: The Given Day Leonard, Elmore: Up in Honey’s Room Lethem, Jonathan: The Fortress of Solitude Lippman, Laura: What the Dead Know Little, Bentley: Dispatch Malamud, Bernard: The Fixer Martel, Yann: Life ef Pi McCarthy, Cormac: No Country for Old Men McEwan, Ian: Atonement Meek, James: The People’s Act of Love Niffenegger, Audrey: Her Fearful Symmetry O’Brian, Patrick: The Aubrey/ Maturin Novels O’Nan, Stewart: The Good Wife Oates, Joyce Carol: We Were the Mulvaneys Pelecanos, George: Hard Revolution Pelecanos, George: The Turnaround Perrotta, Tom: The Abstinence Teacher Picoult, Jodi: Nineteen Minutes Pierre, DBC: Vernon God Little Proulx, Annie: Fine Just the Way It Is Robotham, Michael: Shatter Roth, Philip: American Pastoral Roth, Philip: The Plot Against America Rushdie, Salman: Midnight’s Children Russo, Richard: Bridge of Sighs Russo, Richard: Empire Falls Simmons, Dan: Drood Simmons, Dan: The Terror Sittenfeld, Curtis: American Wife Smith, Tom Rob: Child 44 Snyder, Scott: Voodoo Heart Stephenson, Neal: Quicksilver Tartt, Donna: The Little Friend Tolstoy, Leo: War and Peace Wambaugh, Joseph: Hollywood Station Warren, Robert Penn: All the King’s Men Waters, Sarah: The Little Stranger Winegardner, Mark: Crooked River Burning Winegardner, Mark: The Godfather Returns Wroblewski, David: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Yates, Richard: Revolutionary Road

These are the books I read between 2010 and 2019: Atkinson, Kate: One Good Turn Atkinson, Kate: Started Early, Took My Dog Atwood, Margaret: The Year of the Flood Barclay, Linwood: Never Look Away Bardugo, Leigh: Ninth House Bazell, Josh: Beat the Reaper Bellow, Saul: The Adventures of Augie March Benioff, David: City of Thieves Berlinski, Mischa: Fieldwork Blake, Sarah: The Guest Book Boyd, William: Ordinary Thunderstorms Braffet, Kelly: Save Yourself Caputo, Philip: Crossers Cronin, Justin: The Passage Trilogy Cummins, Jeanine: American Dirt De Haven, Tom: Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies Donoghue, Emma: Room Egan, Jennifer: Manhattan Beach Ellroy, James: Blood’s a Rover Ellroy, James: The Cold Six Thousand Faulkner, William: Absalom, Absalom! Feibleman, Peter: Charlie Boy Ferris, Joshua: Then We Came to the End Fossum, Karin: Broken Franklin, Tom: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Frank, Scott: Shaker Gay, William: Twilight Gillham, David R.: City of Women Harris, Robert: The Ghost Huston, Charlie: The Shotgun Rule James, Aaron: Assholes: A Theory Jensen, Liz: The Uninvited Johnson, Adam: Fortune Smiles Johnson, Adam: The Orphan Master’s Son Joyce, Graham: The Silent Land Kestin, Hesh: The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats Koch, Herman: The Dinner Kushner, Rachel: The Flamethrowers Larson, Erik: Dead Wake Le Carré, John: A Delicate Truth Lethem, Jonathan: Chronic City Lippman, Laura: I’d Know You Anywhere MacDonald, John D.: April Evil Mantel, Hilary: Bring Up the Bodies Mantel, Hilary: Wolf Hall Maugham, Somerset: The Razor’s Edge Mitchell, David: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer O’Connor, Flannery: A Good Man Is Hard to Find O’Nan, Stewart: The Odds Patchett, Ann: The Dutch House Pavone, Chris: The Paris Diversion Percy, Benjamin: Red Moon Perrotta, Tom: The Leftovers Phillips, Gin: Fierce Kingdom Porter, Katherine Anne: Ship of Fools Powell, Anthony: A Dance to the Music of Time Proulx, Annie: Barkskins Robotham, Michael: The Wreckage Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Rowling, J. K.: The Casual Vacancy Sandford, John: Escape Clause Sandford, John: Rough Country Spiotta, Dana: Stone Arabia Stevens, Chevy: Still Missing Swofford, Anthony: Jarhead Tallent, Gabriel: My Absolute Darling Tartt, Donna: The Goldfinch Tolstoy, Leo: War and Peace Various Hands: King James Bible Wallace, David Foster: Infinite Jest Wambaugh, Joseph: Hollywood Moon Waters, Sarah: Fingersmith Waters, Sarah: The Night Watch Winegardner, Mark: The Godfather’s Revenge Winslow, Don: Savages Wolitzer, Meg: The Interestings Zola, Émile: The Beast Within Zola, Émile: Thérèse Raquin