Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Long long book post

Sister Scorpion recently listed the number of books she has read from various compilations of top books. I decided to take it a step further and comment on some of the ones i have read. I didn't do them all because that would be way too long. But on some i put where or when i read it for amusement. It's funny how the circumstances of reading a book become part of the book. In a way i think my whole life could be categorized by books. Like i know what books i read at important times of my life...and i'm always reading at least one book so every title here conjurs memories. Here goes:

Time Magazine’s List : 18 read. Some notables...

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger - This book took me a long time to "get" - I read it three times at three different ages until i finally got it. The last time being in one sitting (and two cups of coffee). My friends were waiting for me to go out to a jazz club but i wouldn't go until i finished it. I finished it at 8pm (started around 1 pm), went to the jazz club, and then to work at 11pm (worked the graveyard shift my first year in college). It became my favorite book for years.

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess - This book is just horrific but a pageturner. You are disgusted but can't help reading on. I hated it but couldn't turn away. Kind of like the way i was with Lolita. I read this because another graveyarder told me it was excellent. What a punk.

Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather - This is a great book and from a great author. I love her writing and it definately left an impression. Whenever i see turquoise jewelry i think of this book.

The Moviegoer, Walker Percy - I read this because i was told it was such a "classic" existential novel - hated it because it had no plot in my opinion but maybe that's existentialism and i just don't get it. I read this to and from my commute from my 9 to 5'er.

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf - I love anything Virginia Woolf because she broke the norm for women and after reading "A Room of One's Own" i went through the best writing spurt of my life. I have also read her diaries. I went through a writing, french beret wearing, coffee house writing stage when i wouldn't date anyone and was determined to be a writer and that's when i read Woolf (and Sylvia Plath too). Then i got my first rejection slip. Boo hoo.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac - I love Kerouac for the same reason i love San Francisco. He's alive and you can feel his energy. I love that. I didn't like the ending but i loved the during and also seeking out the places he wrote about in Denver when i lived there.

The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski - An excellent excellent read. This is what i'm talking about when i talk about the negative side of the human condition. This book is the ultimate. But Oprah never picks books like this.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson - I can't believe this book is on the list!!!! I LOVE this book. It's the only sci-fi book i've read all the way through. It's awesome! Perhaps because it's about computers instead of robots. Dunno. But this book absolutely rocks. When i was a film student, i dreamed of optioning this book and turning it into a movie. Read this if you haven't!

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway - I started listening to this book on tape last week. But i couldn't get into it and began reading "A Moveable Feast" by Hemingway instead which I am absolutely loving! A Moveable Feast should definately be on one of these lists!

White Noise, Don DeLillo - Another excellent book! I love the unexpected. When you learn that the main character teaches Hitler studies at a college, you know you are in for a good read.

I’m in line at the library for Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston - I've heard a lot about this book and again it's on the "to read list"

Most Challenged: 13 read. Most of these i can't see why are banned. I couldn’t believe Where’s Waldo was on there! And Outsiders too… Funny this is a challenged book when it was required reading for me twice, once in junior high and once in high school. A note on the Toni Morrison book. I didn’t like The Bluest Eye at all and have never read a Toni Morrison novel since. I don't like most Oprah choices anyhow. The books are often good but they also all focus on the negativity of life and i think the authors from days of yore did a much better job at that. The classics beat out Toni Morrison anytime. I must be the only woman who doesn't care for her but i just don't.

NYT: I haven't read any but have four on my "to read list": Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon by Dean Bakopoulos, and a Tender Bar: A Memoir. By J. R. Moehringer (I was supposed to review this book but it was due too close to my delivery date so i didn't).

BBC: 15 read.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Who didn't want a Mr. Darcy of their own??? I've read this so many times and have the BBC miniseries of it and you better believe i'll be seeing the new movie too. I love Jane Austen in general. The embedded symbology is crafty.

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens - I've read every Dicken's book, probably because i took a class called "Dickens" :-) I took the class because i wanted to read Dickens but couldn't seem to do it on my own so figured i'd force myself to do it. Glad i did!

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott - I LOVE this book. What girl didn't fantasize about being like and identifying with Jo. The writer in me back then loved the character then as much as i do now. When the manuscript was destroyed - oh my oh my...that hurt! This was the first book i ever owned.

A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving - Irving is an interesting writer and i love his cerebralness. It's very masculine writing and that's why i like reading him. I just like seeing the way he thinks. I remember reading Irving's A Widow for One Year while backbacking through Europe.

The Stand, Stephen King - I hate Stephen King but a friend insisted i would change my opinion if i read The Stand. It's too bulky for me. He's just too wordy and annoying for my taste. Give me some flavor and take away the fluff. I admit his stories are interesting and unique. But for that genre i'd rather go with Harlan Ellison or someone a bit less wordy. His words are just superfulous instead of needed.

Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding - I loved this book. I didn't like the second one so much but the first had me cracking up. I read this at work during lulls at work...which is why 1,000 or so of us got laid off - not because we were reading, but because no one was investing... I did read a lot of books in that period.

The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy - Roy is a very talented writer. This is a nice slow read. Sort of like reading a long poem. You will write passages down for further ponderance.

Random House: 21 read

A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce - I read this while riding the trains in England so that's what i think of when i see or hear about this book.

THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James - This is by far the hardest book i have ever read. It's just hard to read and it's dense. Henry James write this orally. He recited as someone else wrote so the only real way to read it is to read it outloud. Makes for a tough read though. But you are pretty proud of yourself when you do get through it.

SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser - An excellent book! I still think of Sister Carrie every now and then. Especially when i'm in Chicago. I'm that way with Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle" when i'm in Detroit.

THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett - I never would have read this book on my own but had to for a film class and found it quite good for what it is. I just don't care much for pulp or hard boiled fiction.

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones - I read this book in the 10th grade to my teachers dismay. It was an independent reading class where basically you read for an hour. Lame public high school doo doo. I had all the requirements done in the first month so took on this 1,155 page bad boy. That exceeded the pages required for the whole class. I loved it. I felt "older" for reading it which is why my teacher didn't want me to. I'm glad i did though.

THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton - I love love love this book. Again, i hate the ending but i love it. She wrote this book 100 times over by hand. That's some feat! And the result? Not one flaw. Not a single one. These types of writers are to me real writers and exactly the reason i don't like Stephen King, etc.

Misc. I can't believe Salmon Rushdie's Satanic Verses is on so many lists. I've never read it but heard lots about it. I may have to trudge through it. I also can’t believe Walker Percy’s Moviegoer was on two lists either. Boring snoring.


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