Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The 100 Books to Read in Your Lifetime: Part Three

Slight delay due to a side trip to Mardi Gras and finding ourselves a part of the Mystical Krewe of Barkus as well as the most insane, random quasi-celebrity sighting that we have ever had. Story to come later this week. Anyway, on to the books…

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson: I actually missed a trivia question once on who wrote this book. I don’t know what bothers me more that I actually missed a trivia question or that I no longer have a regular trivia game that I can use to supplement my income. Sigh.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: One of my favorite books and the one that caused me to simultaneously get an A and an F on the same paper. Essentially my analysis of the book was spot on however I was completely unable to keep a constant verb tense when describing a book that doesn’t have a constant timeline. To be honest though anyone who reads this blog understands that I can’t even keep a constant verb tense in the same sentence when describing what I had for lunch today.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin: One of those books that you read because supposedly every business leader is currently reading it. Surprises me that I haven’t read it for that reason alone.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton: Winona Ryder was in the movie, right? It’s sad that when seeing this book listed all I can think is that there was a movie made of it sometime in the early nineties and by law Winona Ryder was probably cast in it.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon: I have this book. Or more accurately, Kim has this book so it sits in our library and I get to act like I’ve read it. I also get to act like it is our library when in fact she owns about three quarters of the collection and my contribution to the bookshelves are pro wrestler biographies and the scripts to every Monty Python episode.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley: On the Alex Haley front I have not read this or Roots. I haven’t even seen more than a few minutes of Roots and have to readily admit that I know Levar Burton more as Geordi LeForge than anything else. This doesn’t just make me uncultured; I think it makes me a horrible human being.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Well since I oppose the stealing of books I am against this book on general principles. This is one of those books that I have seen read by every third person in an airport over the past few months if that means anything.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: Continuing the streak of books I haven’t read though at least I have read Junot Diaz. I’m taking pride wherever I can at this point.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger: Finally, my teenage angst has come in handy. I’m not sure if I consider this to be the classic that it has become but then again there is literary debate about whether it has stood the test of time. However it will always hold a special place in my heart as I have had a copy of Cliff Notes for this book since high school and continue to check off which books I have read that were listed on the back. Ok, as this list shows there aren’t many check marks.

The Color of Water by James McBride: It’s blue. The color of water is blue. There, I probably saved you four hundred pages.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen: No, I haven’t read this but I want to raise my complaint that while Chabon, Franzen and Eggers all made this list that David Foster Wallace did not. As I have constantly written Wallace is the preeminent writer of my generation and anyone who says differently just doesn’t understand the importance of tennis and central Illinois on the meaning of life. Or, to put it another way, I would like the fact that I actually read Infinite Jest to count for something in this life.

The Devil and the White City by Erik Larson: A story that is alternately about Chicago architecture and a serial killer. Surprisingly at times the architecture is the much more interesting topic.

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank: My favorite, sadly false, urban legend. Years ago, Pia Zadora was performing a stage version of this book in the titular role and doing a completely abysmal job of it. To the point that when the Nazis appeared on stage a guy in the crowd yelled, “She’s in the attic!”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I am curious, has anyone read this book yet? I constantly see it in the bookstore and have heard a lot about it but I’m not sure if it is good or not or if it is just for teens. Legitimately looking for advice here.

The Giver by Lois Lawry: Sigh. No idea about this one either.

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman: Remember when the film for this book came out a few years ago? I remember being told that it was from this famous set of stories for kids and I just stood there stunned because I had legitimately never heard of it. Never saw the movie either. It is entirely possible that this book is purely a figment of my imagination.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The greatest novel ever written. Plain and simple, don’t even try to make the argument otherwise. Oh, and while Kim and I were in New Orleans this weekend we had the opportunity to adopt a dog named Zelda. If it wasn’t for the fact that we already have the two most wonderful dogs in the world I would have rented a car just so I could have a Zelda of my very own.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: I’m happy this made the list and even happier that I have seen it included on high school reading lists. For all the dystopian books on this list (and there are way too many of them for my tastes) this is probably the most literary and thought provoking. Certainly the most feminist in its take on the future.

The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne: I can’t say for one hundred percent certainty that I read this as opposed as to having it read to me but I am including it because a) I have the exact copy of the book that I read as a five year old, b) I made Kim ride the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride with me at Disney World and c) I may have hijacked my five year old niece’s character dinner in order to have my picture taken with Eeyore.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Depending on how cynical I feel at the time I can be found describing the book as a wonderful description of how to put teenagers to good use. Either that or I feel that when it came down to Katniss and Peeta and they were told there could only be one winner the scene should just have been Peeta saying “Son of a….” and then getting an arrow to the back. No way Katniss was going to lose at that point.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: Another book that I want to read as it is a combination of science and history and the little things that change the world.

The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr: No idea other than it isn’t Liar’s Poker, which I haven’t read either but at least I had heard of it.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: Maybe I will check out the movie but I figure that the original Clash of the Titans has covered my need for any Greek mythology for the rest of my life.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: This story has always scared and depressed me. All I could think about is a small kid alone on an asteroid with only a flower for company and I grew incredibly sad. Also, the fact that it was such a tiny asteroid but had a gravity well strong enough to keep the prince on the surface as well as maintain an atmosphere to support the flower went against everything that I knew about astrophysics as a five year old and I couldn’t bring myself to believe in the story. I was a strange kid.

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler: I prefer The Maltese Falcon but noir stories are awesome no matter which one you choose.

Another 7 for 25 and 23 for 75 so far. So much for being well read…

The five random CDs for the week (all by artists I have seen in concert as well)
1)      Liz Phair “Exile in Guyville”
2)      Sleater-Kinney “The Hot Rock”
3)      The Subdudes “Behind the Levee”
4)      Robbie Fulks “Gone Away Backward”

5)      Wayne Toups and Zydecajun “Back to the Bayou”

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