F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 22 Required Reading Books

These are books that Scott thought should be required reading.” wrote Dorothy Richardson, the nurse that attended F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1936 when the writer was in convalescence in a hotel in Asheville, North Carolina.

Fitzgerald had moved to Asheville following the transfer of his wife Zelda as a psychiatric patient to Highland Hospital. His essay The Crack-Up was recently published in Esquire Magazine, addressing his mental and physical deterioration. In it, he wrote that “my life had been a drawing on resources that I did not possess, that I had been mortgaging myself physically and spiritually up to the hilt.”

Those were dark times for the author of The Great Gatsby, who had financial and drinking problems. He broke his shoulder during a dive into the hotel swimming pool and later fired a revolver in a suicide threat. Following those actions, the hotel required the presence of a nurse if he wanted to stay. Entered Dorothy Richardson, present to serve as a companion and limit Fitzgerald’s consumption of alcohol.

Though there are no details as to the circumstances leading to the writing of this list, it seems Fitzgerald and Richardson developed a friendship, inspiring the writer to provide her with a reading list:

List of books recommended by Fitzgerald written by Dorothy Richardson.

Fitzgerald’s Required Reading List

Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
The Life of Jesus, by Ernest Renan
A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen
Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
The Old Wives’ Tale, by Arnold Bennett
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
The Red and the Black, by Stendhal
The Short Stories of Guy De Maupassant, translated by Michael Monahan
An Outline of Abnormal Psychology, edited by Murphy Gardner
The Stories of Anton Chekhov, edited by Robert N. Linscott
The Best American Humorous Short Stories, edited by Alexander Jessup
Victory, by Joseph Conrad
The Revolt of the Angels, by Anatole France
The Plays of Oscar Wilde
Sanctuary, by William Faulkner
Within a Budding Grove, by Marcel Proust
The Guermantes Way, by Marcel Proust
Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust
South Wind, by Norman Douglas
The Garden Party, by Katherine Mansfield
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley: Complete Poetical Works

For more recommendations by prominent authors, see also the reading list of Ernest Hemingway and Leo Tolstoy.

Note: This reading list was published years ago on Open Culture.