Portnoy's Complaint by Philip RothRead about another book on the list.
My grandpa of all people was the one who suggested I read this filthy novel. I was 18 and, like a lot of guys at that age, really into Bukowski. Based on that fact alone, he thought I might like Portnoy’s Complaint. Grandpa said it was one of the books he used to assign his high school English students, so I definitely wasn’t expecting the obsessive, hilarious, x-rated monologue I got when I started reading. Portnoy’s “complaints”—all shared with his psychotherapist, detailing his upbringing in a Jewish home in New Jersey as well as his sexual experiences – stood out to me as a stubborn and single-minded young male. I ripped right through the book and read passages aloud to nearly anyone who would listen. When I emailed Grandpa to thank him for the recommendation, and to tell him I was going to read Goodbye, Columbus next, he replied, “Glad I could be of service, but I don’t care for Roth’s other books.” I’m not certain that this is the funniest book I ever read—I think that award goes to Money by Martin Amis–but it was the first time I laughed out loud at something on every page.
Portnoy's Complaint is among David Denby's six favorite books and Matthew Pearl's top ten books inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.