David Foster Wallace’s Formative Reading List

An abridged version of David Foster Wallace’s most formative literary influences. In addition to the actual titles of books are some interesting DFW microclods taken from D. T. Max’s Every Love Story is a Ghost Story.


The newly released big biography of David Foster Wallace, entitled Every Love Story is a Ghost Storyand written by New Yorker scribe D.T. Max, gives a nitty-gritty look at Wallace as a troubled, tortured artist and human being. But DTM on DFW is also a primer on the growth of this particular writer — throughout the text we get mentions of the exact books Wallace read, and when, and how they formed his style. Here are just eight of them (one is a short story), along with the relevant excerpt from Max’s book. Follow along to become the next David Foster Wallace — or maybe just a little more well-read.

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