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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Literary Genius

"My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter." ~Thomas Helm

To date, I’m not all too sure how I developed my insatiable crush on JD Salinger. Junior year of HS, we were forced – no coerced, maybe? – into reading Catcher in the Rye, but I didn’t. I revolted and discovered the joys of Sparknotes. This was also the same year in which I was forced to read Othello. When the time came to recite a line from the play and give its significance, I chose “Oh fool, fool, fool”. Yeah…
But somewhere between my expertise in Shakespeare and Freshman year of college, I became smitten with Mr. Caulfield. His troubles were my troubles. After which it was a stint in Steinbeck and then a Glass family reunion. The plight of Seymour and that Buddy Glass gets me every time.

I have always tended to read things out of my age bracket. Like my obsession with Poe when I was seven, thereby making my mother read the Tell Tale Heart to me before bed. I slept with my door open and my light on for months afterward. Early reading also explains why I wanted to be Ramona Quimby when I was five; saying “We must, we must, we must increase our bust” at the age of 9; and a scary fascination with fascist dictators by my 10th birthday. If you want me to sit down and shut the hell up; tell me about Franco and you won’t hear a peep from me. When I found out that Harper Lee only wrote one book – a masterpiece – I wanted to do the same. We won’t get into whether or not that is possible for me now, but at 9 ½ it was a superb and plausible idea.

Now, I ask very little of you all. Save for Friday when you gave me overwhelming response and asked me some pretty thought provoking questions and well…those of you that I pay to read and comment, but other than that, I ask very little of you. But I need some help. I used to read religiously, in the bathroom, shower, metro, everywhere, but as of late my reading has gone to the crapper. I need to find that passion again because I can feel my brain cells dwindling away. I need ideas, your suggestions, both old and new. Your favorites or those to avoid (like: A Million Little Bunches of Bull Shit). So if y’all could help, you’ll be rewarded graciously. And by graciously I mean, with smiles and cyber hugs and I’ll even blow you a few kisses and think about buying you some Shiraz.


Anonymous Jurgen Nation said...

But what do you like? Comedy, satire, scary, romance? I am always reading, so I can def suggest, but nudge me on the right track. :)

1:40 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Good question. I don't stick to one specific genre, but I can tell you that I don't do sci-fi. Hell no to the sci-fi.

Ok, that's probably no help at all. But I figure suggest, I'll check em out and if they look good then I'll head out to B&N.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Larissa said...

hmmm...when i get home tonight i'm going to sit in front of my book shelf tonight and write a list for you. One that comes to mind that is dark and funny is Stiff (forget the author). She chronicles what happens to cadavers. Sounds sick I know, but it's actually an interesting and an entertaining read. But I'll be back with more 'normal' ideas later.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

I will also be back with suggestions once I can remember what I've read... I'll check my collection and get back to you!

All I can think of off hand are The Lovely Bones and The Historian, both of which are pretty mainstream and you've probably already read or heard of!

3:03 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon is really good, and it's short, so it shouldn't require that much time to kick your literary butt back in gear. It has a 'Cather in the Rye' feel to it, so I think you would dig it.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Diet Coke of Evil said...

I have started, and really like so far, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

If you're looking for a not-so-pick-me-up, another well written book is "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families" - a book about Rwanda. Written by a NYTs dude. Very good.

Hmmm. I like David Sedaris for funny stuff. And if you like Salinger, I'm sure you've read Franny and Zooey - so good! I also like "A prayer for Owen Meany" - if you haven't read that, you are missing out on life. And I liked "The Fountainhead."

3:20 PM  
Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva said...

Unbearable Lightness was one I had to read sentence by sentence. Great book, and if I'm not mistaken - not originally written in English? Lovely Bones, also terrific.

I just finished a really interesting true story called Random Family. While you might not be able to relate to protagonists, the themes are universal and pretty amazing. (wow, I sound like Amazon)

3:27 PM  
Blogger DC Cookie said...

'The Fountainhead' is my fave book of all time. I just finished 'My Sister's Keeper' and sobbed for 20 minutes at the end of it. Worth purchasing.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Paisley said...

I liked The Lovely Bones and The Secret Life of Bees. Not "light" reading, per se...but good for an afternoon in the sun.

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok is really good. I really like his books. Interesting.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. Beware, it's a long one.

I also love the few books written by Jhumpa Lahiri (The Interpreter of Maladies is one of them)

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

'The Namesake' is the other Jhumpa Lahiri book. GREAT stuff.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Once again, y'all came through. Woo hoo. Thanks. All of your suggestions are on my B&N wishlist and I'm going to start ordering away tomorrow. Hopefully this will entice me to read more.

Keep 'em coming.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

I prefer Danielle Steele and Ruby Harlequinn.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Lizzie said...

I love anything by Louis Debernieres. And of course David Sedaris.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Isabel said...

I didn't read the above comments (maybe I should have done that).

Anyway, for just a good time read I like books by Maeve Binchy. I'm also in love with Nick Hornby.

Oh, and I love, love, love "The Drifters" by James A. Michner. I read it every couple of years just to remind myself of the good things in life.

I also have this very odd thing about (what my husband calls..) "cowboy books". I've read a lot of book by Larry McMurty. Most are awesome, some suck. You can't go wrong with "Lonesome Dove", you really can't.

I own a lot of books. But now that I'm older I'm addicted to the library. It's free. Use it. (It's also a great way to get CD's for the iPod!)

9:04 PM  
Anonymous lorie said...

Three Junes, by Julia Glass. I don't know what it is about this book - I've read it several times over the last few years, and have been giving it to people for birthdays and Christmases lately. I love it so much I'd send you my copy and buy another, even.

The Kite Runner was also really, really good. Really good.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Larissa said...

Valley of the Dolls, Wide Sargasso Sea, anything by David Sedaris

9:16 AM  
Blogger RoarSavage said...

"The Alchemist" changed my life. And "Catch 22." And "Mansfield Park." And "My Year of Meats."

10:31 AM  
Anonymous MappyB said...

I've heard the Kite Runner is fantastic also.

I have an idea, let's all take inventory of our book libraries, and we can trade monthly at the happy hours?!

10:32 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Now I'm really excited and I have a B&N wishlist that is massive.

Roar: The Alchemist is already on it and will be ordered first.

Thank you all.

10:51 AM  
Blogger RoarSavage said...

Yea! (Good choice).

3:04 PM  

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