Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Tagged by Jood, I Deliberate

I was pleased to be tagged by Diva Jood, whose writing I admire a great deal, regarding three books I love. One of the benefits of working in a library is the flow of information regarding books that others have read and loved. I have a very long list of to-reads, and I never know which of them I will take on next.

For example, I'm currently reading Nabakov's Lolita, because the book I want to read after that is Reading Lolita in Tehran, a book that my spouse greatly admires. It seemed empty-headed of me read it without taking on Nabakov first, even though the subject matter was bound to be somewhat yucky for me. (Actually, and perhaps perversely, I am enjoying it.)

In any case, on to the task laid out for me by Jood. With the exception of the last, these are books and writers that I remain in perpetual awe of:

I usually rave about Zadie Smith first, when asked about writers and books I admire. Her first novel, White Teeth, surpassed in delight and skill what any first novel ought to be able to accomplish. Funny, bright, delightfully labyrinthian and astonishingly well constructed, she lays out three families and their interactions with each other. It's just too much fun. While we're at it, On Beauty was a finalist for the Booker Prize last year, and as prizes go, I'll take its short list over the Pulitzer and the National Book Award in our country any old time.

I may have already raved about Jennifer Egan, another young whippersnapper whose writing blows me away. I am thinking of her amazing Look at Me, a novel about a model whose face is destroyed in a traffic accident. She sails through the world of NYC fashion and modeling, and takes us home to the protagonist's Midwestern city. If everyone is to look at everyone, nobody is actually seeing very much. God, she's good.

This one's a children's book. I read it yesterday while I was cataloging it, and I howled with delight. If you know any little girl who is about to share the stage with a new baby, I recommend this as a gift for her. The big sister instructs the baby on how to be itself, while noting what a drag it is to be a baby as opposed to the better lot of the older sister, who has pals, autonomy, and keen things to do, as to baby who pees, poops, and is entirely dependent on his parents. Really fun.

I must also mention briefly Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, The Liars' Club by Mary Karr, and Quick Fire and Slow Fire by Irene McKinney.

Now, on to the tagging part, passing the same task on to five people.

I must start with Karen Zipdrive, my original blogger pal, freelance writer, and magazine editor, and, most importantly, friend of many years. She's mighty bright and funny. I'd love to know what reads have fed her.

On to Sue Woo, gardener, knitter, and defender of the helpless against the moronic and the malevolent.

Then there's Pursey Tutweiler, a relatively new blog-friend whose observations continually delight me.

And let's not forget Lola Heatherton, that toast of the entertainment circuit. If she's out of rehab, I'd love to know what she read while she was in it. I enjoyed the Big Book, m'self.

Finally, because you can't have too many opinions from real and worthy Texans, let's tap Liquid Daddy.

On to you, Dears.

So what do I do now, name my favorite books here or at my site?

Okay, since I'm here, I'll start with "Fall On Your Knees" by Ann- Marie McDonald. In this saga that spans 50 years in the life of a most-dysfunctional family, I was enchanted by her dense tapestry of words and the thrills and chills that occurred over the span of half a century. A chapter toward the end was so amazing, when I finished it I immediately had to read it again because the drama of it stunned my brain. I could read this book 100 times and never get bored with it.

Next comes Patrick Susskind's thriller novel set in the 16th century, "Perfume." Translated from the original German, the book's language is so sensual and decadent, you can actually smell the delicate and disgusting scents and envision the beauty and the squalor that was Paris centuries ago.

Then comes the Harry Potter series, which a Canadian ex of mine turned me on to after much consternation on my part.

Following that is "Watermelon" by Irish novelist Marion Keyes. It's so funny I nearly peed my pants several times while reading it.

Then comes the fabulous Dominick Dunne's "Another City, Not My Own" where he poses as character Gus Bailey as he's tasked by Vanity Fair magazine to cover the OJ Simpson trial. It's the best celebrity gossip book in the history of mankind.

Following that has to be the Hannibal Lecter series written by Thomas Harris. I think "Red Dragon" has a slight edge over "The Silence of the Lambs," but "Hannibal" is no slouch.

Right now, I am forcing myself to read or re-read some of the classics. Since Christmas, I have polished off Edith Wharton's "The Age of Innocence," "Gulliver's Travels," Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" and right now I'm reading "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoevsky.

I generally don't like historical novels, fantasy or children's literature, so the first three I named had to be extraordinary to hold my attention.
"Fall On Your Knees" is by far my favorite book of all time. I have bought at least six copies to give as gifts.

As far as new age/touchy feely books, Louise Hayes' "You Can Heal Your Life" set me on my spiritual path decades ago, and the love poems of Rumi soothe my soul like no other.
Wow, Zippie. I'm so glad I asked. I'm adding your books to my list of gottas. (Now you're supposed to tag 5 people...)

Well done, longtime pal!
Hey girl,

I posted on my blog and only have time to tag three. Love your recs!

PS can I use your description of me??? I love it! It's so true hahaha!
wow my list of to reads just got longer. i may have to kill my tv. All of these great discriptions and reccomendations. I am always on the look out for good fiction, being a mostly non fiction reader for most of my life. Thanks all of you well read folks. Now to get to the library which is 40 miles away..sigh.
I will be going around the blogoshpere compiling my reading list. I will start with White Teeth, I crave a fun read right now.
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