Following Maud's appreciation of Cakes and Ale, I am taking a page from Tayari today and her list of too-secret literary masterpieces that should be on everyone's lips. Obviously, I've worked to publicize many worthy books in that category (Ms. Jones' The Untelling included) but that's another story. This list is of the top five novels that altered my sensibility in such a way that I couldn't (and still can't) stop telling people. Some of these titles may be cult favorites but they merit a much broader audience.
1. SWIMMING SWEET ARROW by Maureen Gibbon.
2. ARC d'X (and pretty much everything) by Steve Erickson
3. THE PATH OF MINOR PLANETS by Andrew Sean Greer
4. GERMINAL by Emile Zola
5. MEMOIRS OF HECATE COUNTY by Edmund Wilson
See also: Jeff Bryant's Underrated Writers, 2005 and 2006; and Laila Lalami's "Underappreciated Books," and the Litblog Co-op, all utterly genius and in service of a purpose that is my favorite expression of the unique value of emerging networked cultural conversations-- bringing attention to books and authors that are simply deserving.