Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lists of Things

One of my dear friends just asked me if I've given up on blogging. And, um, no--not really. I have been sort of lax in blogging, as of late. There were forms to complete, you see. And a debate tournament to judge. And a Halloween costume to construct (I was Goth Little Red Riding Hood, btw... the kind of Little Red Riding Hood who prefers her wolf-meat rare).

In light of my inattention to this blog, then, I thought I would provide you with another list. I know there are some who do not like lists. But I like lists. They make sense to me. And, coming from someone who is not-so-much good at structure, this is a big thing. So, following in the footsteps of another dear friend, I have composed a list of my top thirty favorite fictional books. (There are two short story collections--so I'm not following the novel rules super-strictly).

This was a fun challenge. I wandered around my house, looking at the various books I've collected. And I got to re-acquaint myself with old friends that I haven't seen in a while.

Books are markers, not only of the stories they tell and the meanings they provide, but of time: I remember the first book that ever made me cry--A Dog Called Kitty by Bill Wallace; the first book that made me jump--"Misery" by Stephen King; the first book that turned me on--"The Vampire Lestat" by Anne Rice; the first book that made me feel longing--"The Great Gatsby" by FSF. (You'll notice which ones made the list--grin). They mark people. They mark places and things.

I am suspicious, as I have probably mentioned before on this blog, of people who do not read fiction. I think alot of that has to do with my absolute faith in imagination--the belief that imagined scenes, like these moments that mark us, are ways to negotiate the incommensurability of the things we know, the things we desire, and the things we have to do.

This is not necessarily a hierarchical arrangement. The first five are based solely on the numbers of times I've read and re-read them. Some of them are agreed-upon classics. One of them I had to buy in the "Romance" section--which was cause for some serious self-reflection. Some of them are spacy and some of them are sappy. And I'm okay with that--because this is my blog.

And these are my markers.

1) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
2) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
5) Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut
6) A Room with a View by EM Forster
7) The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
8) Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
9) Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
10) Persuasion by Jane Austen
11) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
12) The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
13) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
14) Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
15) Waiting for the Barbarians by JM Coetze
16) Neuromancer by William Gibson
17) East of Eden by John Steinbeck
18) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
19) Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
20) Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
21) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
22) Women in Love by DH Lawrence
23) The Call of the Wild by Jack London
24) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
25) Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
26) Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
27) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
28) Not Her Real Name by Emily Perkins
29) Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis
30) A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

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