Sunday, November 18, 2007

Start Making A Reader Today

SMART is a great program and I'm happy to say that my company supports it strongly. But this isn't about SMART, it's about me.

I need some books.

I am always impressed by my friends who read every piece of literature published (or seemingly do) and can remember the details and nuances with great clarity. Even quote eloquently at times. I can't seem to do that. It's a shame really.

See, I was an English Lit major in college. Granted, it was my fourth or fifth major, but it was still my major. And while I got decent grades I basically sucked at it. My classmates ran circles around me in understanding and clarity and depth of thought. But I fought on. Against the tide. I suppose a bit more application and study would've produced better results but I saved that for art class apparently. I once made a 16 panel piece of a banana done in 16 different mediums. My favorite was using a hole punch on black and yellow construction paper and gluing them in place. It ended up 3-D. I felt rather clever. But I digress.

I need some books.

I moved into a new house in July. My friend David had it built. It's a great house and we're having a blast being roommates and better friends again. Plus it's nice to be back in the actual city. But I don't have any books. My entire library, which consists mainly of a lot of pop fiction, crappy sci-fi, American Lit and comic books are in storage. I need some stories.

So, my challenge to you dear readers is to recommend me one book. A single tome that you've read in the last five years that will change my life. Change my outlook. Offer perspective. Or just entertain me. One book. Don't make me choose.

Once I've got your short list I'll hit Powell's (what a great way to occupy an afternoon) and start to fill the barren shelves.

We can do this. Together.



dave said...

One of my favorites:

The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy.

"First published in Paris in 1955 and originally banned in America, J. P. Donleavy's first novel is now recognized the world over as a masterpiece and a modern classic of the highest order. Set in Ireland just after World War II, The Ginger Man is J. P. Donleavy's wildly funny, picaresque classic novel of the misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American ne'er-do-well studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Dangerfield's appetite for women, liquor, and general roguishness is insatiable--and he satisfies it with endless charm. "Lusty, violent, wildly funny ... The Ginger Man is the picaresque novel to stop them all." --Dorothy Parker, Esquire

nborders said...

I gotta go with

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

I stumbled on this book when it was sitting on a bookshelf at a timeshare I was visiting at the Oregon coast. I read it in one night and it introduced me to Hemingway. Not bad that it won him the Nobel Prize for literature.

I know you said one. However, others could be:
* Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
* Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry
* Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
* The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
* The Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac



Bruce said...

Dave and Nick - thanks for the suggestions.

Nick - I agree about The Old Man and The Sea. I read it in one sitting too. I did the same with Cather In The Rye. Of the others, I've read most of them except the Kerouac, so that's the one on the list. Thanks for playing.

Devlyn said...

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Ralph said...

sod powell's,
is your friend

they have rss feeds for new books that come in, you can reserve online and get emails when books are at the libe. Saved me $$$$$$$$$$ on graphic novels.

Sad to hear your labouring under bad SF, when there's so much GOOD stuff out there that can mass-drive a shard of wonder directly into your cortex!

life Pandora's Star by Peter F Hamilton, for example:

he's rightly being compared to Dickens for the depth and scope of the characters he creates.

Bruce said...

Don't mince words Ralph, what do you really think?

I do have a library card. Somewhere.

Thanks for the suggestion. That puts me up to four books so far.

Whitney said...

Oh god- so much to say- where to start?

#1 Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time"- all of them (12 or 13 I think), and the prequels. For the ultimate geek.
#2 "Stiff"- A very interesting story about Corpses- you will know it when you see it.
#3 "Lies my teacher told me"- This is an awesome book if you want an entirely different outlook on American history.
#4 "A Game of Thrones", more fantasy/adventure goodness in the format of a 5 book series.
#5 "A world without us" Ever wonder how the world would be if we just feel off of it? Awesome book from a scientists' perspective.

Anonymous said...

History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, by Julian Barnes.

- Trask

Bruce said...

Thanks Trask! I'll add it to the list.

John Locke's Moron Cousin said...

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.