The lanky author towered over most of his contemporaries — and his output towered over theirs too. How tall a pile would John Updike’s books make? We stacked 62 volumes to find out. Updike was 6’3”. His collected works? About 5’4”. Here are 11 of our favorites.
The Early Stories (2003)
In these tales, men and women fight it out in post-WWII suburbs using the backyard and the bedroom as their battlefields.
In the Beauty of the Lilies (1996)
This epic novel takes no less than the history of two fanaticisms — movie love and religious zealotry — as they play out in one family over 80 years. Big and thrilling, it’s arguably Updike’s most underrated novel, and maybe his best.
Rabbit Angstrom (1960-1990)
Trust Me (1987)
Roger’s Version (1986)
The Witches of Eastwick (1984)
A charged, smart novel about the dark arts of gender warfare that’s infinitely more unsettling than the movie it spawned.
Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism (1983)
As rich and thoughtful a one-volume guide to 20th-century literature as you’ll find.
The Coup (1978)
Bech: A Book (1970)
The WASPy Updike jumped into the game with Mailer, Bellow, and Roth by creating a playful Jewish alter ego.
Pigeon Feathers (1962)