Books

Philip Roth leaves his library to his hometown and lists 15 books that had an impact on his life

Author Philip Roth, pictured in Newark, N.J., at a 2013 party celebrating his 80th birthday.

Karsten Moran/The New York Times/file

Author Philip Roth, pictured in Newark, N.J., at a 2013 party celebrating his 80th birthday.

Philip Roth, one of America’s greatest and most honored writers, has decided to bequeath his personal library of more than 3,500 books, many with his marginalia, to the Newark (N.J.) Public Library.

Roth, who grew up in the Weequahic community of Newark, has a strong connection to the city and refers to himself as having been “library intoxicated’’ while growing up.

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“My decision to locate my personal library in Newark and, specifically, in the Newark Public Library, was determined by a longstanding sense of gratitude to the city where I was born,” he said in a statement.

The author of more than 30 books, including the novels “Portnoy’s Complaint,’’ “Goodbye Columbus,’’ and his much lauded series featuring Nathan Zuckerman (which kicked off with 1979’s “The Ghost Writer’’), has won the Pulitzer Prize and twice received the National Book Award, among other honors.

To mark the occasion, Roth listed for library officials the 15 most significant works of fiction he read during the first half of his life: age 14: “Citizen Tom Paine’’ by Howard Fast; age 16: “Finnley Wren’’ by Philip Wylie; age 17: “Look Homeward Angel’’ by Thomas Wolfe; age 20: “Catcher in the Rye’’ by J.D. Salinger; age 21: “The Adventures of Augie March” by Saul Bellow; age 23: “A Farewell to Arms’’ by Ernest Hemingway; age 24: “The Assistant’’ by Bernard Malamud; age 25: “Madame Bovary’’ by Gustave Flaubert; age 25: “The Sound and the Fury’’ by William Faulkner; age 27: “The Trial’’ by Franz Kafka; age 30: “The Fall’’ by Albert Camus; age 35: “Crime and Punishment’’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; age 37: “Anna Karenina’’ by Leo Tolstoy; age 40: “Cheri’’ by Colette; age 41: “Street of Crocodiles’’ by Bruno Schulz.

Paul S. Makishima can be reached at makishima@globe.com.
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