Tuesday, June 23, 2009

15 Books

You get out of internet touch, the blog suddenly has the best meme in the world.

My 15 indispensible books. Only literature. No particular order. Typing on a Guatemalan computer, forgive any spelling errors.

1. Jose Saramago, Baltisar and Blimunda. Most beautiful book ever. Sometimes the Nobel committee gets it wrong, but sometimes they get it very right.

2. Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain. Although the two people I have convinced to read this haven´t liked it nearly as much as I, this is another example of the Nobel Prize turning me on to an amazing author. The best book on personal freedom I have ever read.

3. Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing. Everyone loves The Road, and for good reason. But The Crossing is far and away McCarthy´s strongest work in my opinion, and certainly more so than All the Pretty Horses, its predecessor.

4. Alice Munro, Open Secrets. Though it could be any Munro book really, particularly because they are more or less the same. Arguably the most underrated author in the English language.

5. Philip Roth, Sabbath´s Theatre. Roth´s greatest book and somewhat underrated I think given the many other books of his that people love.

6. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon. Not sure why Trend hates Morrison so much and I do think she won the Nobel a bit early in her career, but Song of Solomon is a freaking fantastic piece of work.

7. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Love in the Time of Cholera. Though I could just as easily go with One Hundred Years of Solitude.

8. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man. Even if the novel goes on a bit long towards the end, I call it the Great American Novel, if in fact such a thing exists.

9. Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn. Although this is the other obvious choice for the honor.

10. Don DeLillo, Underworld. The best American novel of the 90s?

11. Mario Vargas Llosa, War at the End of the World. A great book on religious fantaticism, the growth of the state, and power. Really fantastic.

12. Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore. Wow.

13. V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas. Funny and fantastic.

14. John Dos Passos, U.S. A. Trilogy. It all went downhill for Dos Passos after this, but it doesn´t take away from the amazing power of these three books.

15. Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms. I don´t care if Holden Caulfield was right and Hemingway is a phony, it´s still a great book. Not a bad film either.

As for Trend´s list of classic novels that suck, can we start the discussion with The Jungle?