Lists, Miscellanea, Reviews

(B)4: A Top Ten List

(B)4. (B)est (B)ooks (B)efore (B)logging (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). Which is, of course, 95% of all the books I’ve read because this blog is still in its infancy.

To give you a rough idea of what this list might look like if I were being absolutely honest: Jane Eyre, The Painted Veil, Empire Falls, The Hotel New Hampshire, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Bag of Bones, Middlesex, etc., etc.  But in the interest of holding your interest (and not repeating myself), I’m going to share books that I enjoyed before I started blogging, but I rarely write about. I tried to choose books that are fun in one way or another because I’ve been in such a bleak mood as of late (it might have something to do with the blizzard outside – I can’t complain about the adult snow day though).

Best Books Before Blogging

10. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Good book, good movie, fantastic soundtrack (with a really wonderful Best Original Song).

9. The Crow Road by Iain Banks. I think I’ve mentioned this a time or two, but I love reading books with characters named Rory. Did you know I’ve never actually met another Rory in real life? There is even a famous Rory O’Connor (obviously not me).

8. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. Ellis is well known for his violent imagery and is often criticized for it. I have a high tolerance for dark fiction, but there are parts in American Psycho that are even too much for me. For example, I used to think Godiva chocolate was enjoyable. Now…minty. However, I’ve always found the last page from Less Than Zero to be beautiful:

There was a song I heard when I was in Los Angeles by a local group. The song was called “Los Angeles” and the words and images were so harsh and bitter that the song would reverberate in my mind for days. The images, I later found out, were personal and no one I knew shared them. The images I had were of people being driven mad by living in the city. Images of parents who were so hungry and unfulfilled that they ate their own children. Images of people, teenagers my own age, looking up from the asphalt and being blinded by the sun. These images stayed with me even after I left the city. Images so violent and malicious that they seemed to be my only point of reference for a long time afterwards. After I left.

7. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham.

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.

6. The Stand by Stephen King. I couldn’t leave Stephen King out altogether, The Stand is one of my favorite novels, though the miniseries desperately needs to be remade. I keep hearing rumors about Ben Affleck wanting to direct it. That would be good.

5. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. A modern, must read classic and not just for men (ahem, Esquire).

4. Blithe Spirit/Private Lives/Hay Fever by Noël Coward. I’m particularly fond of Private Lives and Hay Fever, the latter’s humor is timeless.

(Hay Fever) You kissed me because you were awfully nice and I was awfully nice and we both liked kissing very much. It was inevitable.

3. The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers. I always thought if I ever had a daughter (I don’t and it’s not in the foreseeable future), then I’d name her Frankie (Frances) after the main character in this novel.

2. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. It’s a political satire and a black comedy about a vacuum cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent. This has Rory written all over it. I cringed typing that last sentence, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

1. City of Thieves by David Benioff. Save yourself from a bullet in the head by finding 12 eggs. If that tagline isn’t enough to convince you, the author is also the executive producer, showrunner, and writer for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

What’s the best book you’ve read that you’ve not discussed on your blog?

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