Books, Books, and More Books


Paging thru GoogleReader today, I followed a link to “21 Books You Must Read” I’m not sure if it’s “before you die” or week.. or what?  It was on AARP website.  Which kind of makes the former part of that earlier thought a little more amusing for me.  However, I found the list interesting. Enough that I am going to impart it here and share my thoughts about it.

1. “To Kill A Mockingbird”  Harper Lee

2.  “True Grit”  Charles Portis

3. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”  Betty Smith

4. “Andersonville” Mackinlay Kantor

5. ” The Maltese Falcon”  Dashiell Hammet

6. “Lonesome Dove” Larry McMurtry

7. “Rebecca” Daphne du Maurier

8. “The Restaurant at the end of the Universe”  Douglas Adams

9. “The Alchemist” Paulo Cuelho

10. “Jane Eyre” Charlotte Bronte

11. “Gone With The Wind” Margaret Mitchell

12. “The Magus”  John Fowles

13. “In Our Time”  Earnest Hemingway

14. “Different Seasons”  Stephen King

15. “The Haunting of Hill House”  Shirley Jackson

16. “Anna Karenina” Leo Tolstoy

17. “Red Dragon” Thomas Harris

18. “The Killer Angels”  Michael Shaara

19. “Crossing to Safety” Wallace Stegner

20. “The Great Gatsby” F. Scott Fitzgerald

21. “Charlotte’s Web” E.B. White.

The bolded selections are ones I have actually read and the italicized are ones that I currently own and plan to read.  Here is the thing: I am not sure I’d recommend to anyone “if you were going to only get to read a few more books, THESE are the ones you should give your attention to.”  I find it a bad list, frankly.

I hate to sound like a bookfag, but it bothers me that the list of books this person thinks is MUST reads is so light on classics and heavy on mainstream fiction.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like..above reading it.  I just think there are more examples of worthwhile literature out there. I also feel like in a few cases, this list creator chose the wrong book for that particular author.

Why would anyone ever bother with “The Magus” unless they have already read “The Collector” ?  I’d choose just about any other Hemingway and COME ON.. “The Red Dragon” is a double sin: dumb mainstream fiction and the WRONG book if you’re going to go for that.  If one could only read one Harris, he has to make it “Silence of the Lambs.”

This list is also pretty damn girly, at heart.  I’m just not sure you’re going to be able to convince any man who’s lived to AARP status that he won’t be able to continue living *right* until he devours “Gone With the Wind.”  Not a slam at GwtW, by any means; I love that book and I could not tell you how many times I have read it.

“Rebecca” is another incredibly girly one. Even though, honestly? It isn’t. But it comes across that way.  I just don’t think you’re going to talk many men into going there.  I’m starting to sound like the comment sections.

However, my rationalization is that only those who read me have to be subjected to my thoughts on this topic.  I feel I’d pick mostly different books even though I actually love some of the books on that list.  “To Kill A Mockingbird” is perhaps the only one on that list I’d put on my own.

Some of the people who commented were so …angry about it. Like they had been personally slighted.  I felt like “lol make your own fuckin’ list if you feel that strongly about it.”  Soooooo…   (I am only going to do ten, though, I’d agonize too much trying to pick 21) and IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

1. “To Kill A Mockingbird” Harper Lee

2.  “Pride and Prejudice” Jane Austen

3. “The Adventures of Huck Finn”   Mark Twain

4.  “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”  Louis de Bernieres

5. “A Tale of Two Cities”  Charles Dickens

6.  “9 Stories”  J.D. Salinger

7. “Cider House Rules”  John Irving

8. “The Picture of Dorian Gray”  Oscar Wilde

9. “My Sister’s Keeper”  Jodi Picult

10. “A Time to Kill”  John Grisham

I’m not ashamed of any of my choices.  I am looking over my list and seeing it is very light on women.  Not to say I don’t enjoy women authors or even “Chick Books.” I do very much.  I just don’t see them as “literature.”   I do have to admit that I was eyerolly when I read that previous list of books.  I will admit freely that I’m often the most well-read person in a room.  Not to say, EVERY THING I READ COUNTS.

HaHa Not even I knew I was going to turn this into a hipster bashing party when I started.  But I never pass up the opportunity.  In Melbourne, Mr L and I went to the loveliest little bookstore.  In fact, he bought me the greatest present there.  A copy of Snow White.  It’s the Grimm version but fully illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia.  I couldn’t help smiling when I typed that.

Ok so .. I was so about this little store. Every department was fantastic. I was grooving on how many different books I had read or were familiar with in every section.  I was all about it until I hit the “literature” section.  It wasn’t even that I had already read like… I would say conservatively more than half of their selection.  It angered me.. Like “These are the books that are COOL to read. and anything else is lame.”

Screw that.  I’m not saying that all novels are cool.  They aren’t.  I think tons are not worth the time to pick up and dismiss.  I guess though, in the realm of books, I try the hardest to not knock other people’s choices.  Because unlike stupid hipsters that are only reading things because it is COOL to do so.. That someone enjoys reading that book gives it some worth in my opinion.

I feel like I lost my point along the way and I’m just babbling now, so I’m going to stop.


~ by Layla on November 8, 2012.

One Response to “Books, Books, and More Books”

  1. Douglas Adams would be spinning in his grave that one of his SEQUELS made the list..

    Whoever compiled that list is an asshole. I prefer yours!


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