2/9/07 12:50 PM Edited: 2/9/07 12:00 AM
Edited: 2/9/07 12:00 AM
Member Since: 06/22/2002
My too-long, chronological list of "favorite books": 1. (tie) "Call Of The Wild", "White Fang" -- My undisputed (except amongst each other?) grade school favorites. Forget keen observations on the duel kind / cruel nature of human beings and the redemptive power of love, when library day rolled around it was time for Buck to go feral and for White Fang to fuck some shit up! 2. "The Stand" -- Stephen King seems like such a polarizing figure amongst readers that at times I'm almost afraid to mention this book (almost). After I'd "out grown" comic books (funny I'm starting to dabble in that genre again), King seemed like the only game in town, and for me, "The Stand" has got to be his magnum opus. I read this during a summer when I was in my teens and it just blew me away -- the sweeping, multi-character narrative; the precise portraits of society simply falling apart. King's use of description and interior monologue drew me into a story's world and its characters in a way I hadn't known was possible. People say you can't read shit like this and then go on to appreciate "literature". Bullshit. This book kickstarted my love of literary technique and my appreciation of character development. Yeah, King isn't Cormac McCarthy, but he IS a place to start. And if you stay there, then that's just fine, King is a master in his own right, IMO. 3. "The Catcher In The Rye" -- Come on, you went through this phase, too. All introverted, "cynical" (read: socially inept) bookworms do. 4. "1984" -- Everything that needs to be said about this novel has already been said by people much smarter and more educated than I am. A dystopian fantasy that will stomp you back into reality -- every single time you read it. Perhaps the only book truly capable of completing the old cliche, "If you could only read one book, then read . . ." 5. "Flowers For Algernon" -- Wow. If you haven't read it, read it. Now. There is far too little praise on the genius of this little book (no pun intended). 6. "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" -- I might be one of the few people on this planet who happened to read the book before watching the film. This novel is like the metaphorical Gospel According To Chief "Broom", with Randle Patrick McMurphy as a modern day, bar brawling, womanizing Jesus. The arc of the prose is "Flowers"-like in that its clarity mirrors the arc of the narrator's character development, and even if you know the story's ending beforehand, its effect will refuse to be dulled. 7. "Gulliver's Travels" -- The greatest satire ever written. Okay, I know I'll never have time to read EVERY satire ever written, but what's a "Yahoo" to do? 8. "Blood Meridian" -- Whoa. Wow. Prose and symbolism and violence of truly Biblical proportions. Probably a good bit of readers, like a good bit of The Glanton Gang, won't make it to the end of this one. And what a shame, because the payoff may be the most haunting since any book written since . . . well, this one (and maybe even before it?).