So Anners tagged me a while back and asked me to list 10 of my favorite books. I didn’t think I could pull together a list of 10, beacuse in all truthfulness there are tons of books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. I tried to read Crime And Punishment once, but I never got through it. I keep telling myself that I just got a bad translation. And I guess I’m grounded and self-actualized to tell you this, but there are quite a few books that I just didn’t understand. As I Lay Dying? Didn’t get it. Beloved? That shit went so far over my head I thought it was a piece of Skylab. Don’t get me started on Hemingway.
Anyway, here’s my list. Enjoy.
Roots – This is probably my favorite book. Even though Alex Haley got sued for copyright violation. D’oh! The mini-series came out when I was in second grade, and I was probably the only person on the planet who didn’t watch (I saw the commercials and the scenes of the slaves being whipped upset me a lot). I didn’t read the book until years later, but it was worth the wait.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Poor Francie Nolan and her drunk-ass Papa! Living in Williamsburg at the turn of the 20th century was no piece of cake, but the book is surprisingly uplifting and good enough to re-read a hundred times. The movie was OK, but read the book first. (P.S. I wonder what Francie would think of Williamsburg c. 2008?)
A Wrinkle In Time – Who doesn’t love this book? The other two of the series (A Wind In The Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet) are also pretty awesome, but this one is the bestest. Actually, I think she might have written another one after I grew up. Anyone?
The Alienist/Angel Of Darkness – Yes, OK, I know. It’s two books. But they rock. If you like crime novels, thrillers and historical fiction you’ll love these two books. They take place…right around the same time Francie Nolan was hanging out in Williamsburg. These take place in Manhattan though. And like A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, they’re extra fun for New Yorkers because we can imagine how the neighborhoods have changed over the years.
Growing Up – I first read this book when I was a sophomore in high school. I had to choose a biography for a report for English. This, Russell Baker’s autobiography, had been on the bestseller list for weeks, so I figured it could only be so bad. It turned out to be one of the best books I ever read. (Russell Baker used to write a column in the New York Times.)
Parzival – OK, I’m a total dork for liking this book. I’m a dork for liking any book about King Arthur. What can I tell you? I like this book.
East Of Eden – Literary types will tell you that this book is crap, as far as Steinbeck goes. But what do literary types know? They probably like Faulkner and Toni Morrison too.
King Lear – I’m tempted to put Hamlet on the list, but I’m afraid that one has reached the point of diminishing returns for me. Gwyneth Paltrow better not ruin the movie version (but she will). BTW, have you seen this? Patrick Stewart baby!
Foucault’s Pendulum – I won’t lie, this was a difficult read. Thankfully after a chapter or two I realized that it wasn’t my stupidity (this time). It was translated from Italian. I’m still not sure what Foucault’s Pendulum is exactly. The book is about a bunch of conspiracy theorists and three eggheads that make poke fun at their craziness. Bad things happen.
Forever and Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself. If it wasn’t for Judy Blume I wouldn’t know anything about sex. Damned Catholic upbringing.
Anything by Agatha Christie, even though some of her stuff is kinda racist by modern standards.
Pet Sematary. I’ve been over Stephen King for ages, but this was his best work. I was a senior in high school when I read it and I was still scared to go to sleep for days.
Autobiography Of Malcolm X. I realize that Malcolm X was a terribly flawed character, but he was a fascinating subject anyway. And I like Alex Haley.
(Anners! This was hard!!!!)