Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The 15 Book Meme

As generated by Bleak Mouse, via Cowtown Pattie, 15 unforgettable books in no more than 15 minutes. There are some incredible oddballs here, I admit, but that's what the exercise produces. This isn't focused on books I enjoy so much as the ones that niggle at me whether I want them to or not:

The Bible (KJV), particularly The Revelation of St. John The Divine. More on the matter here and here. And I agree with this guy: if you can read, you should read The Bible.

The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams: chiefly for the unsettling illustrations by Imero Gobbato, whose current paintings can be sampled here. (A)
Moon Palace by Paul Auster: the necessary entwining of myth and lineage, the ineluctable cycles of madness and creativity, solitude and communion, joy and grief. (A)

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy: still dealing with the dreams. (A)

On The Road by Jack Kerouac: a maddening book. (A)

Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller & Bill Sienkewicsz: more here. (A)

Gilgamesh: primitive, brutish, viscerally emotional. (A)

Grendel by John Gardner: Gardner employs all five senses to tickle the cerebral cortex into submission. (A)

The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies: Our saints and stories are serious business, but that's no reason for us to resort to sobriety. (A)

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle: an adolescent girl learns how to love courageously in an alien locale that's eerily familiar. (A)

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis The most surreal and haunting of the Narnia books. (A)

Unassigned Territory
by Kem Nunn. Nunn's Tapping The Source is more entertaining, and arguably better written, but Unassigned Territory meanders over material and attitudes and yearnings and behaviors in a way that echoes in the memory for a long, long time. (A, Review)

Blood Of The Lamb by Peter DeVries. No father should experience this; every father should read it. (A)

The Road Home by Jim Harrison. A gothic comedy. (A)

Kafka by r. crumb & David Zane Mairowitz A marriage of content and media that is as profoundly disturbing as anything rendered by Jack Chick. (A)

If you're willing, I tag you.

Late correction: Rob in Victoria reminded me of a significant work I somehow missed: John Crowley's Little, Big (A). It's the first title I look for when I walk into a used bookstore, because I'm in the habit of leaving copies behind whenever I stay in someone's guest bedroom. (Chalk it down to envy, brother: I can't see my way through to buying the Limited Edition.)


Cowtown Pattie said...

After perusing your list, I feel like the underdressed guest at a fancy dinner party.

You read owly stuff, dude.

But, without a doubt, you give me chances to mentally grow!

DarkoV said...

I'm on the clock......now!

Rob in Victoria said...

No Little, Big?!?!?!

You're dead to me, dude.

Joel said...

Hmmm, off this list I've read The Bible and On the Road.

I was on a Bible reading course during middle school, so I actually did read through the whole thing cover to cover. I loved the stories, but books like Numbers, Psalms, Lamentations, most of the prophets, and the periodic genealogy lists really bored me to death. I struggled through it anyway.

And then I read "On the Road" when I was 18, because it's one of those books everybody reads when they're 18. I thought it would make me cool if I read it.

I don't think I ever got up to "The Magicians Nephew". "The Horse and his boy" is the last book I remember finishing

Whisky Prajer said...

GAH! Little, Big!! I knew there was a reason for my unease when I hit "post." D'oh!!

CP - whattaya talking about? I don't see any comic books on your list!

DV - excelsior!

JS - late puberty is no time for a young man to read his Bible. I don't know if you followed my third link, but I'm completely onside with David Plotz's line of reasoning: just one read-through opens a huge door to the English language as it's currently used. And that's just for starters. As for On The Road, I couldn't read it until my mid-20s for some reason. But then I couldn't listen to jazz until my mid-20s either.

And I almost inserted The Horse & His Boy in place of The Magician's Nephew. The latter had a larger dreamlike effect on me.

Rob In Victoria said...

We've talked about the Little, Big evangelizing we both do, but I think it's just become a little more difficult: I was in Powell's last month, and the Bantam paperback (choice of all L,B urgers) is now considered a collectible, and priced at about $35. US.

Whisky Prajer said...

Whaa...?? I bought a handful of those remaindered at McNally Robinson just this fall! I normally don't think of selling such stuff....