Critical Library

by Eric Banks | Oct-03-2009

Each week, the NBCC will post a list of five books a critic believes reviewers should have in their libraries. We recently heard from Colm Tóibín and here are the books he named.


1 The Collected Works of George Orwell. He wrote fast and he wrote well and intelligently about politics and literature.

2 Pieces of My Mind, by Frank Kermode. Teaches us how to write clearly and be really smart all at the same time.

3 The Letters of John Keats. There is always a stray sentence or phrase or idea or cadence that you can quietly rip off.

4 Another Beauty or any other prose book by Adam Zagajewski As well as being a marvellous poet, he is, in my opinion, the best prose essayist alive.

5 Notebooks by Henry James
. To give you a real sense of how tentatively art begins.

-Colm Toibin is author of numerous novels including “The Blackwater Lightship,” “The Heather Blazing,” “The Master,” the story collection “Mothers and Sons,” and the critical collection “Love in a Dark Time.”




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