Saturday, September 5, 2009

Books I can't forget

Is it strange that the Mac commercials just endear PC to me? I like the frumpy guy in his glasses, and I love my Dells. Heck, I have a Dell that is 7 years old and still runs fine.

I don't usually do memes here, but this one fits with the blog.

"15 Books That Will Always Stick With Me"

(in no particular order)

1. Harry Potter series
A no-brainer. Rowling (even with her excessive adverbs) created a world I could completely submerge in. It had been a while since a book had so thoroughly swallowed the outside world for me. I've read them all twice, some three times.

2. On Writing by Stephen King
This might be my favorite book of all time. It's the reason I picked up the pen after 8 years of pure housewifery and mommy duties. I don't care how dramatic or sappy it sounds -- through this book I found myself again. I remembered who I'd been pre-children.

3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
This book affected me. I read it during my first year of teaching college freshmen and was embarrassed/ecstatic at the way I identified with the mentally unstable protagonist. I bought a hardback edition and carried it with me weeks after I'd finished reading it. Yeah, neurotic or inspired? You decide.

Through this I discovered Plath's poetry and "Lazarus" may very well be the most powerful piece of poetry I've ever had the pleasure to read, study, memorize.

4. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenberg
First, I love time travel. It -- and inter-dimensional travel -- is my very favorite sci-fi/fantasy convention. And boy, did she do it right. It's touching, exciting, and the prose is lovely. I love her play on chronology.

5. The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
This book has an amazing and unique premise that is often on the edge of my consciousness. Being a Christian, I view it as pure fantasy, but wow, what an idea. And the writing is great too.

6. It by Stephen King
I was always afraid of clowns (along with half the population) -- actually anyone in a "character" suit scared me. I see this as a sign of early maturity and intelligence. After all, I remember distinctly being afraid, not of the make-up or suits themselves, but of the fact that ANYONE could be in those suits, under that make-up. It felt dishonest. The best part about this book isn't even the creepy psychotic, "Evil with a capital E" clown -- it's the exploration of friendship and community among the kids. You feel a part of it by the novel's end.

7. A Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Chilling, vivid imagery. One of the best horror novels I have ever read.

8. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
I have to admit, on some level, I fell a little in love with the 12-year-old protagonist Jack, Ol' travelin' Jack. King is a master of characterization and Straub is no slouch. Great fantasy, and the end was terrifying and exhilarating.

9. Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos
I love the way she weaves magic realism into the story. Effortless and believable. And she's another gifted writer, beautiful prose.

10. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
I'm still reading this, but already, it's grabbed me. There is a moment in this book, about 1/3 of the way in that I can't forget. I actually dreamed about it the other night. Also, this book has it all: inter-dimensional travel, magic, romance, and horror.

11. Fruits Basket series by Natsuki Takaya
Basically because it started my manga/anime obsession. The art, the storyline -- yes it's a little "young," but it's harmless fun and surprisingly deep for a manga.

12. Half Magic by Edward Eager
I read (and reread) this as a kid. It began my love affair with magic in literature.

13. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The first book I read to my kids. They LOVED it. The best part was, I'd never read it, so we really went on the adventure together. Once we finished, Brad started crying, upset that it was over. So we read it again. :)

14. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
Holy crap. This book. There are scenes in this book I will never, ever be able to erase from my psyche. The literary damage has been done, and it was wonderful. His grasp of concrete, concise writing is unrivaled.

15. The Color of Water by James McBride
The true story of a black man growing up in Harlem with a white, Jewish mother. Well, she actually converted to Protestantism, but that's beside the point. I read it in a day, it took hold and didn't let go and I liked the alternating chapters told by the mother and son.

Back to The Magicians and my grading.

1 comment:

  1. The Magicians and The Time Traveller's Wife will be the next two fiction books I read. I decided this while in Borders today.