7 John Irving Books You Should Read ...


7 John Irving Books You Should Read ...
7 John Irving Books You Should Read ...

John Irving is one of my very favorite authors, and I’ve gotten even more into his work since moving to New England. I was technically introduced to him in high school, when my English class watched "The World According to Garp," and I somehow managed to only skim the book in the library afterward, delaying my full blown love affair a few years. Here are the books that mark the fodder of my adoration!
(I promise not to include any extreme spoilers!)

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A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany Photo Credit: Farnooshtango

This is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. It never ceases to make me cry, and so many different aspects of the story are downright beautiful. The prose, the plot, the characters all reach out, grab your heart, and won’t let you go even after the last page. Owen and Johnny need to be memorialized in a better film than that masquerading, pandering Simon Birch.


The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp Photo Credit: .roma

In addition to being a fantastic movie, this book is incredible. Not only highly entertaining, it deals with daring subject matter that, if anything, is even more relevant today. Garp and Jenny are the standout characters, but all of them are richly developed in Irving’s signature style.


A Widow for One Year

A Widow for One Year Photo Credit: Let Ideas Compete

I didn’t like this book a whole lot when I first read it, but then I tried again and I really liked it -- then I tried a third time, and I fell in love. There are so many different nuances and hidden surprises in this book that it actually pays to read it several times, just so you can catch everything. Actually, this is true for most of Irving’s novels.


The Hotel New Hampshire

This book is just amazing. You get to follow the family of characters from youth to death, in some cases, and the journey is not a boring one. There are tragedies and surprises and, again, many of the heavy hitting topics are just as, if not more, relevant today than they were when the book was originally written.


The 158-Pound Marriage

This is one of Irving’s earlier books and I like it for just that reason. His characters are beginning to become the fully evolved beings he will eventually create and the story has branched off from a linear progression. It is funny and poignant and surprising, and if it is not exactly the most interesting book he ever wrote, it at least points to the writer he is becoming.


The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules Photo Credit: ms. mac

**I’ll confess:**being a fan of both Tobey Maguire and Paul Rudd, not to mention Michael Caine, I saw the movie first. I liked it a lot -- enough to immediately go out and read the book, which made me like the movie a little less because the book is just so rich. Again, I didn’t fully appreciate how rich until I’d read it a few times.


The Fourth Hand

A relatively new novel, I like this basically because it’s entertaining and unlikely, yet the events seem totally realistic. It emphasizes Irving’s ability to make the improbable seem almost ordinary, without making them boring or over the top.

A lot of films have been made from John Irving’s movies, although they rarely translate as well. Garp did though, I will say that. Who are the writers you just go crazy for? Which of their books should I be reading?

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I am also crazy about his writing. Loved Widow for an year.

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