I love making lists, and I just finished doing this book list for Facebook (the site that sucks me into the “pick your 5” lists every time I have a spare 3 minutes – damn my left brain). I’m starting out August with a full page at least.
I also watched a documentary on George Eastman this afternoon, and I was excited to see that he too made compulsively detailed notes of all transactions in his life. As I watched it, I thought, oh shit – I know how this one ends – and it wasn’t pretty.
I want to travel to Rochester this fall. I’m sure the whole city must be haunted.
1. Camilla Dickinson – Madeline L’Engle
This book makes me want to run through the streets and shout and laugh and cry – it’s that kind of book. You can really feel the soft snow blanketing the streets of NYC as you read this.
2. Behind the Attic Wall – Sylvia Cassidy
One of the best ghost novels, for any age.
3. The Unbeliever – Lisa Lewis
poetry – read “The Accident,” it’ll blow you away.
4. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
I read this in 9th grade on the suggestion of my English teacher, Mr. Ristanovich. I remember staying awake long past bedtime, wanting to know the identity of the woman in the attic.
5. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
Lo and behold, the first book I ever read about a family more dysfunctional than my own.
6. Charlotte Sometimes – Penelope Farmer
Turn of the 20th century time travel creepiness. The artwork is pretty amazing.
7. Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
Surreal trashy novel. This one doesn’t have a happy ending, it’s just weird – love the pink cover with the cut-outs of pills making little frames for the characters.
8. My Mexico – Diana Kennedy
When I used to stay at my ex boyfriend’s house, the only things to read were Chistopher Hitchens, the Atlantic (yawn) and this book that his mother bought him for Christmas. It was my first taste of how cooking could be made into literature.
9. Maus – Art Spiegalman
Pulitzer prize winning graphic novel about a father-son relationship in the midst of family history. I think I’ve read the complete volume about 3 or 4 times, and I never tire of it. I always find something new in the art and the text.
10. Nancy Drew mysteries – Mildred Wirt aka Carolyn Keene
The danger, the car thieves, jewelry heists, train travel and Titian blond hair. I love the formulaic plots, the one steady thing in my childhood.
11. Therese Raquin – Emile Zola
Freaky novel about what happens when you marry your first cousin who is a big loser and you plot to kill him with his best friend. I first read this on a bout of the flu, so the scene in the Paris morgue circa 1880 only heightened in creepiness under the influence of my meds.
12. Out – Natsuo Kirino
I can’t get enough of her books, and it’s a shame because only 3 have been translated into English. Her novels concern women in contemporary Japanese culture that transcend the mystery genre. Out is particularly gory — you really get caught in their lives.
13. Burning Your Boats – Angela Carter
Fairy tale reinterpretations. Read the “Fall River” one, about the Lizzie Borden murders.
14. Home Cooking – Laurie Colwin
I love her food essays so much. They are a chicken pot pie on a cold winter afternoon.
15. Lunar Eclipse – Alona Kimchi
Years ago, I had bought this book because I loved the photo on the front of a young woman sitting on the floor of her shower. The photo was tinted blue and the book was a nice square shape that I love in books (I sometimes do that – buy books because of their shape and pretty pictures on the covers). A few years more went by, and I finally decided to read it. I was so sorry that I let it sit for so long. “I, Anastasia,” the opening novella has a voice so strong in translation that the text must be freaking amazing in its native Hebrew. I love, love this and wish Anastasia would appear in English so I can read the novel.
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