Monday, September 22, 2014

The Ten Books That Stuck With Me - Honorable Mention

Today I follow up with the ten books that stuck with me, but not quite as much as in the first list.

The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe. Non-fiction not only can be uplifting and fun, it should be, when possible. Astronauts have been built into American demigods, and this book shows how and why without breaking down the men who earned every accolade that came their way, though maybe not in the manner in which they were delivered.

Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut. Only a genius could tell such a horrific story in such a superficially lighthearted manner. The downside is, some people won’t get it. So it goes.

Catch-22, Joseph Heller. The greatest satire since Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

Double Deuce, Robert B. Parker. Not the best of the Spensers, but the one where I first fully understood what Parker was doing with the Spenser-Hawk bond.

Nobody’s Fool, Richard Russo. Empire Falls is a better book, but this was my first exposure to Russo and how well he captures the kind of town I grew up in.

The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett. Nothing fancy. Tell the story and get out. This book should be taught in MFA courses.

The Book of Ralph, John McNally. Showed me there are many ways to hold together a novel-length book.

A Widow for One Year, John Irving. I read it at a good time to resonate with me, and it has the most satisfying ending I’ve ever read. No man writes female characters better.

Hombre, Elmore Leonard. Pretty close to a perfect novel. No need to gild the lily when you have great characters and a great story. Just tell it.

The Onion Field, Joseph Wambaugh. Apart from being a beautifully written and researched ode to two wronged men, it should be mandatory reading for some who wonder how police practices evolve.

I’m supposed to tag ten people now, but I’m so late to the party, just about anyone I might tag has already done this. So, if you’re so inclined, feel free to post such a list to your blog or Facebook, and let us know in the comments.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I like your runners up a lot. Russ, a favorite. Irving, yes. Catch 22 okay. Not a bad choice on here.

Dana King said...

This turned out to be a harder project than I'd envisioned. At first, when I saw others doing it, I wondered if I'd find ten books that "stuck" with me; I don't generally think in those terms. I was tagged about the time some personal business came up that prevented me working on it for a while, but the idea was floating around in my mind for a couple of weeks. By the time I finally got around to it, even trimming to twenty was tricky. Remembering one book led to another, which led to another. My idea of what "stuck with" meant changed, as I started to remember things from books I'd read as a child that I can still recite brief sections from, like the lines from CALL OF THE WILD, of the visual image I had at the end of WORLD SERIES. This little exercise will prompt some re-reading on my part.