Friday, September 5, 2014

Cover to Cover.


Tagged by DA GAWD Ulises Farinas here are 10 Books that have stayed with me. Some of them literally, in that I brought them with me from Florida, but mostly figurative. I'm gonna do this without comics bc those beautiful things deserve a list of their own. A LOT of these were Russian or assigned reading but I am a beautiful soul who read EVERYTHING.

Outside of #1, the order is arbitrary. 

1) Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

For my money, the greatest novel in the English language. Nabokov, a native Russian, set out to write this as an experiment- to see if he could turn something so ugly into something so beautiful through the lense of language. And he fucking did it. Nabokov always regretted not writing it in his native Russian- he translated it in 1965, but had he done it originally it would likely be the most perfect prose ever written.

2) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

I was sad and straight-edged in high school and girls didn't like me- only one of those has changed. I must have posted about that fucking green light all over LiveJournal. I look at it now as more of a cautionary tale than a manifesto.

3) Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede, Bradley Denton

Probably the biggest inspiration on my imagination. I read it when I was 8 and it warped my mind, the idea that context and history could be fluid. It has also inspired many a delightful pun.

4) Lord of the Flies, William Goldman

Where I learned to be mean. This book opened my eyes to the idea that happy endings don't always happen and that you don't truly know a person until they have nowhere to hide from you.

5) A Hero For Our Time, Mikhail Lermantov

Shout-outs to my optimists. It's a collection of short stories all involving the delightfully downtrodden Pechorin, a guy who could use a pick-me-up. Came into my life at the right time, like a satellite signal, a perfect bounce.

6) Crime & Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevskii

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevskii is the king of consequence. The prototype for my favorite movies. I recently just saw the unbelievably great BLUE RUIN and this is all over that, a gorgeous shade of it.

7) Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Nails it. Absolutely fucking nails it. The humor is knife-sharp, the growth of the characters is organic. Essential for anyone who ever wanted to write humor or really anything. Shout-outs to Nately, you dumb fuck.

8) Flowers For Algernon, Daniel Keyes

So good. It's a bit of a potboiler, which is fine, and curse it to hell for making it okay for garbage like I Am Sam to come out. Keyes is great at the subtle revelations without manipulation and the meta-textual meddling is superb. Probably my favorite last two sentences in written history.

9) Fathers and Sons,Ivan Turgenev

Introduced the first nihilist in Russian literature, our boy Arkady was considered a madman instead of a practical one. One step down from the Russian identity of “What is to be done?” This book proclaims “Why bother with anything?”

10) Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad