Books: Paul Auster

1. "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This is where American literature begins.

2. "Our Mutual Friend" by Charles Dickens. His last finished novel. Genius in full flower.

3. "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This book turned me inside out at 15 and made me want to become a writer.

4. "Collected Stories" by Franz Kafka. It teaches us how to look at ourselves and the world in a new way. After reading Kafka, you are changed forever.

5. "Collected Works" by William Shakespeare. The entire world between the covers of a single book.

A book to which you always return: "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes. It's the first great modern novel, a book in which every aspect of fiction is explored.

A classic book that, upon revisiting, disappointed: "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. The first third is brilliant; the second third, an entertaining adventure story; the final third, a childish mess.