Anita Shreve's Bookshelf
By Eugene O'Neill
One of my favorite pieces of arresting fiction is a play: Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill. I read this while still in high school and was so moved and intrigued by the wrenching and entangled relationships within a family during a single day at a vacation house in New England that I then set out to read everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote. I'd never done that before—systematically tackling one author's oeuvre—and I'm not sure I've done it since. None of the other plays was quite as moving as the first, but I found much that amazed me—both in the work and, later, in the life of O'Neill himself, my first introduction to the romantic angst of a tragic writer, something that in my teens (though decidedly not now) I desperately wanted to be.