Monday, February 21, 2005

Page Turners

Here are my all-time favorite books.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. A sci-fi story told in the distant future, long after civilization has started to rebuild itself after an apparent nuclear holocaust. Several children in a quiet village cope with the fact that they are telepathic...but fear the repercussions of how they will be treated if their secret is discovered.

Booze and The Graduate by Charles Webb. The famous Dustin Hoffman film is extremely faithful to Webb's first novel about a young man searching to find his place in the world (and having an affair with Mrs. Robinson along the way). His 1978 novel Booze is the study of an iconoclast who feels adrift and alone in the world; it's remarkably funny and touching. Well worth seeking out.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Published posthumously, this Pulitzer-winning novel is a comic masterpiece -- "a fantastic novel, a major achievement, a huge comc-satiric-tragic one-of-a-kind rendering of life in New Orleans," says author Walker Percy. "Crazily magnificent once-in-a-blue-moon first novel," raves Publishers Weekly. "A masterpiece of character and comedy...brilliant, relentless, delicious, perhaps even a classic," boasts Kirkus Reviews. And they're not even scratching the surface. Buy it now.

The Morning After by Jack B. Weiner. Absorbing, tragic story of a man's battle with alcoholism; how it destroys his family, his career and finally himself.

Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. As a child, I adored Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But for my money, this is Dahl's best book for children -- an adventure story filled with wonder and just a touch of naughtiness. The children I read this to as an adult were spellbound by the characters, the good vs. evil theme and the superb ending.

Insomnia, Misery and Pet Sematary by Stephen King. My three favorite novels by the master of horror and suspense.

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss. I meant what I said, and I said what I meant: An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent.

Little Boxes of Bewilderment by Jack Ritchie. My favorite short-story writer's best collection. Mystery tales that are straightforward and damned funny.

Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman. The inner workings of a metropolitan high school are laid bare in this hilarious and touching story of a committed, idealistic teacher whose dash with school bureaucracy. The story is conveyed through a series of memos, letters, directives from the principal, comments by students, notes between teachers, and papers from desk drawers and wastebaskets, evoking a vivid picture of teachers fighting the good fight against all that stands in the way of good teaching.

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey. The first in a series of hilarious non-sequitor collections. Makes me laugh out loud even after multiple readings.

What are your favorite books?


dUgE k said...

I'll take this opportunity to say that Brett has been a huge influence on me over the years when it comes to books and reading.

Brett got me going on Richard Matheson, Stephen King, John Wyndham, and several others.

Brett, remember when we were reading The Green Mile episodic novels at the same time? That was great!

Also, I had a favorite childhood book called A Tiger Called Thomas. It was a Halloween childrens book that I used to check out of the library every year with my mom. My favorite book!

After telling Brett about A Tiger Called Thomas, he took it upon himself to track me down a copy of this nastalgic memory (even after I gave him the WRONG title!hahaha I thought it was called A Tifer FOR Thomas...

I now have my copy of A Tiger Called Thomas proudly displayed on my bookshelf, and it will always serve as a reminder of what a kind and thoughtful friend Brett is.

OK, enough of the mushy stuff! Carry on people!

dUgE k said...

Sorry about the typos, but you can't edit posts here. Arrghhh!

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Anonymous said...

I love coincidences and I thank you for putting up this list. I have just bought two John Wyndham books because as a schoolgirl I read one of his novels about some children who thought in shapes instead of words and it aeemed like they were scared to tell anyone.
Well I knew who had written it and I remeber it being a fascinating book that left an impression, so some 30 years later I still thought about it.
I bought my two books this weekend just gone and neither of them were the one I was looking for.
Thanks to your list I can now order a copy of The Chrysalids and re read and remember one of my favourite childhood books.
I don't usually look around other blogs much but something about yours got me reading through it. Thank you.