13 Books You Need to Read - The #ThrowbackThursday Edition
As y'all know, I read daily, and dig through a couple of books a month. An unfortunate side-effect of moving away from New York is that I don't have the opportunity to read on my commute. Still, I'm a firm believer that reading is the most fun you can have with your brain on.
Here are a couple of books I've loved and am loving. Greats like Hemingway, Percy and Tolstoy included, but so are lesser-known masters like Howard Norman. Get involved:
- The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy: Never has ennui looked so glamorous, or felt so atmospheric. Puts Love in the Ruins, a beautiful book of his, to shame - and that's saying something.
- Anna Karenin, by Leo Tolstoy: A grand epic, and an astonishingly detailed masterwork. Thousands of pages of engrossing story - a reader's dream.
- Family Happiness, by Leo Tolstoy: Another one of Tolstoy's, this short story collection is miraculous. It's a really slim read, so it's great for those who appreciate Tolstoy but aren't quite up for War and Peace.
- A High Wind in Jamaica, by Richard Hughes: Rich, fantastical and engaging, like a fairy -tale dreamscape. Interesting questions of innocence and childhood.
- The Bird Artist, by Howard Norman: Crystalline and resonant, I have never read a book so fine. Reading it feels like a trying to find something on the tip of your tongue - known but so far away. Anyone will love this book, but it is very, very distinctive.
- Bogmail, by Patrick McGinley: Moments of insight crackle through this unconventional English-Irish murder mystery, though the term mystery is used loosely.
- For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway: A complex, vaguely masculine portrait of the tensions of wartime. Often surprising, never overwrought. When Pilar said Robert was a "miracle of deafness," I fell apart.
- Four Fish, by Paul Greenberg: Stellar investigation into the fishing and aquaculture industries. This nonfiction manages to inform and critique without aggression (though aggression would be understood).
- The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan: Must-read for anyone interested in food production and food ethics. A bit slow at the outset, fascinating throughout.
- All Over but the Shouting, by Rick Bragg: Gorgeous, intimate and moving. I laughed and cried, often simultaneously. Bragg veers away from the crux of this story, his family, in the middle and almost lost me, but he comes back at the end.
- Mrs. Bridge, by Evan S. Connell: A stunning, understated piece dealing with 20th century femininity that brims with hopefulness, despair, and pathos.
- Best American Short Stories 1998, Edited by Katrina Kennison: Short stories hold a very dear place in my heart. This is one of the most stunning collections I've ever read.
- The Road, by Cormac McCarthy: So heavy that you can't breathe, this story is of a journey through a post-apocalyptic wasteland is distilled and unflinching. I couldn't read more than a paragraph at a time, it was so immense, but I couldn't put it down either.
I'd say that I hope you enjoy them, but I know you will.
Send recommendations for books and stories that you've loved in the comments or the message bar to the right. Right now I'm reading "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White, but I'm still looking for where to go next.