Daniel Magariel recommends 6 intriguing reads from literary heavyweights

The author suggests works by Friedrich Nietzsche, George Eliot, and more

Daniel Magariel
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Daniel Magariel's debut novel, "One of the Boys," was on Amazon's "Best Books of 2017" list and has been translated into eight languages. In his new novel, "Walk the Darkness Down," grieving spouses in a coastal town find unlikely paths to reconnecting.

The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche (1872)

Nietzsche's book about classical Greek tragedy makes fascinating arguments about restraint and passion in art — the balance of which, he believed, created a form that renders the world meaningful. I love that idea, and Nietzsche's ecstatic language alone might have persuaded me. Buy it here.

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The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (1998)

Gogol's stories are surreal, hilarious, musical, and moving. This collection, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, is worth owning for "The Overcoat" alone, the story of an unassuming man whose obsession over a new coat drives him to extreme lengths. Nabokov called it "the greatest Russian short story ever written." Buy it here.

In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders (2006)

For me, this is the greatest American story collection of the new millennium. Saunders is a titan, a national treasure, and, I'm lucky to say, a personal mentor. In these stories, he wins you with humor and transforms you with moral clarity and human promise. He's the one I rely on to shine hope on all the unrelenting dark. Buy it here.

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)

It's hard to overstate the influence of Darwin's theories, especially as an alternative to the domination of Christian theology. What is less known is the influence of his writing itself. Passages in "Middlemarch," for example, are so evocative of the natural world that I could not help but imagine George Eliot's marked-up edition of this book. Buy it here.

Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871)

Speaking of... While I typically favor slim, jagged novels, Eliot's masterpiece is a world unto itself, depicting nearly two dozen characters in a fictional town in 19th-century England. The intricately plotted story, wise observations about self-honesty, and gorgeous descriptions of the natural environment are all reasons to lose oneself in this tome. Buy it here.

Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel (1926)

These stories take place during the Polish-Soviet War, a conflict that immediately followed World War I. They offer an extraordinary balance between beauty and brutality, with the most heightened language arriving right before the most devastating narrative turns. Buy it here.

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