The Ransom Center recently acquired the archive of playwright, writer, and film director David Mamet. In support of the archive, Mamet will be visiting The University of Texas at Austin in February to give a public lecture and meet with students. He offers his recommended reading list.
The Gallery by John Horne Burns
(New York Review Books Classics, 2004)
A war novel set in a gay bar in Naples during World War II. I once told Gore Vidal that I thought it was the best novel to come out of World War II, and he responded "My dear boy, I said the same thing in an essay forty years ago."
The Searchers by Alan LeMay
A Western novel. Many know the John Wayne film, but the book's hero is different from that of the film, and the writing is superb. A great Western novel.
A Sense of Honor by James Webb
(Blue Jacket Books, 1995)
A novel of West Point, by the one-time Secretary of the Navy, currently a U.S. Senator. An upperclassman tries to help an errant and confused Plebe, with unfortunate, indeed tragic, results.
True Grit by Charles Portis
(Overlook TP, 2007)
Again, you may know the film (again starring John Wayne); but read the book. Let me also recommend Masters of Atlantis (Overlook TP, 2000) by this great, sui generis writer.
Stoner by John Williams
(New York Review Books Classics, 2006)
A novel of academia, and a failed marriage and a magnificent love. Willa Cather meets Randall Jarrell. A truly beautiful book.