Following on from the 'adverbs' thread where my assertion that US novelists were the tops, I wondered which books posters put as their best and why. Though with the kid there's not a lot of time (alas) to read, it'd be nice to get some tips for when i get down to that 2nd hand place on Sukhumvit.
Here's my (tentative) top 5 (in no particular order):
1/ Immortality - Milan Kundera: his masterpiece, deeply profound and one which demonstrates his great love and understanding of music.
2/ Humboldt's Gift -Saul Bellow: no one (to my mind) combines such rarefied intellectual questing with such a sublime gift for the one-liner. This book is distinguished by feverishly memorable characters.
3/ Rabbit Redux - John Updike: where the great 'state of the nation' novel finds its perfect pitch
4/ Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller: though eternally unfashionable, Miller influenced every post war American writer - he taught them how to speak. A life-affirming writer, par excellence
5/ London Fields - Martin Amis. (To please Cyrille) I had to have an English novel; it could've been the Rainbow, but this book (shamefully overlooked by the Booker) has for me come closest to capturing the forces that moved modern Britain - and is absolutely fucking hilarious
The Bible (King James Version) Tho I'm no religionist (nor believer), I find it astounding to read.
Paradise Lost (Milton) If only I were able to express myself (in modern terms) anything near "Sir Eloquence."
The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe. The master of macabre is a necessity.
Tom Robbins Collection (I just got 'Half Asleep'...'jitterbug'...'Even cowgirls'...as a set) He's my favorite modern American writer.
The "Conversations with God" series. Alot of truth in these books, methinks.
I wish Stephen King would rewrite the bible....
I wish Ernest Hemingway were alive to rewrite Stephen King...
I wish Haruki Murakami would rewrite Proust (E.)...
I may attempt a rewrite of W. Blake's "Epistles to a Tigress"...
...majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd...
George Orwell? he spun a good yarn.
[quote=tomcat;1094246]I wish Haruki Murakami would rewrite Proust (E.)...
Last edited by tropic of cancer; 14th November 2008 at 14:42. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
Good point.I wish Ernest Hemingway were alive to rewrite Stephen King...
Come on now, no one could replace Elvis. Uh-huh-huh.I wish Haruki Murakami would rewrite Proust (E.)...
That would be like me trying to rewrite Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the City'.I may attempt a rewrite of W. Blake's "Epistles to a Tigress"...
The literary spirit may be willing, but the flesh may not be up to the occasion...
This space for rent.
My Name is Asher Lev - Chaim Potok
Body and Soul - Frank Conroy
Welcome to the Monkey House (ok, technically a collection of short stories) - Kurt Vonnegut
Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins
And I'm throwing in one non-fiction: The Future of Freedom - Fareed Zakaria
"$!!str8 hood!$$" - This is how one of my student's parents ends the text messages they send me... What planet am I working on?
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1. The Dictionary, 'cos it's got all the other books in it.
2. The Thesaurus, 'cos all the other ones are extinct.
3. The phone book. (Insert joke about looking up address here.)
4. The TV Guide, 'cos it allows you to plan your social calendar.
5. My actual for-really-real favourite: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, which would bring a tear to a gargoyle's eye.
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Life changing in the best way.
The Awakening of Intelligence, J. Krishnamurti. See how far you need to read before you toss the book and laugh your ass off at how thick you are.
The Tao of Jeet Kun Do, Bruce Lee. Not just a fighter, this guy was genius.
Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra. A buffet for the mind.
Private Dancer, Stephen Leather. If you've ever had a relationship with a Thai Bargirl, it's like reading about it.
The Power of Now - Eckart Tolle
The Alchemist - Paul Coelho
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D Sallinger
Cider House Rules - John Irving
Love - Leo Buscaglia