Books I probably read at least twice a year
Harry Potter, JK Rowling. Hands down, collectively. Every time I read them, I come away with something different. Right now, Rowling's depiction of grief and depression suddenly resonate more than they once did. Also, her plotting has made me more aware of the strings lesser writers pull. And the woman is funny.
Pride and Prejudice. I mindlessly adopted Twain's attitude towards Jane Austen, and when I had to read P&P for class, I promptly pulled out the barbecue sauce to slather it on all those words I had to go and eat.
Revelatory reads: my world changed for having read these books. Or the writing was so good it makes me want to cry, that I'll never be able to do that.
Letters from the Earth, Mark Twain. In 48 hours, my 8-10 page paper on the intersection of Otto von Bismarck and Mark Twain is due. I have started flipping through the books I bought on and of Twain a couple weeks before. With LFE, I forget about Huck Finn, forget about blood and iron, and am permanently and forever in love with Mark Twain. I get a B-plus on the paper, but I don't know what it's about.
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood. I thought I was all outsmarting Atwood, but I was wrong. I'm not as smart as I think, and every now and then someone needs to remind me of that. Figured it would be a Canadian.
Animals Make Us Human, Temple Grandin. All y'all know I talk about my aminals too much. Their behavior fascinates me. In college I did some research (from a touchy-feely perspective) on animal welfare, specifically the welfare of the animals we eat. I love eating animals. Eating animals is one of the reasons I'm glad to be alive. So I want the animals I eat to have led reasonably pleasant existences. Temple Grandin talks about how this is possible, but also what constitutes a reasonably pleasant existence for an animal. I babbled for weeks about this book, and her earlier Animals in Translation, to any captive audience I could find.
Quarantine, Jim Crace. Jesus is a feckless (dirty hippy) who accidentally saves the life of a thoroughly evil man. The writing, oh, the writing makes me weep. It's stark, and brutal, and beautiful.
River Town, Peter Hessler. A memoir of two years in the Peace Corp teaching English in a town that hadn't seen Westerners in living memory. Every student has a horror story in his family's background, and that was normal.
Required reading that took me five years to come back to
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. My great-great-grandfather killed his wife. I owed it to him to give his book another chance.
The book I'd take to the deserted island
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson. It's the history of how we know sciency stuff. The writing is engaging, and breezy, and enjoyable, but there's so much information I could read it all the way through, put it down, go have lunch, start it up again, and immediately find myself in awe of all the stuff I didn't know.
Books I'll never finish, God help me, I've tried.
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad.
The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie.
Books that should have made a list of mine, but didn't.
His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman. God help him (or not), the man just isn't funny. Loved the books, but probably won't read them again because they aren't funny. Even if they do include a Texan and a talking polar bear. For weeks, I dreamt about having a polar bear cub, even when my husband told me I couldn't have one.
Lolita, Nabokov. Loved the book, own the book, don't see myself ever reading it again.
Okay, that's enough for now.
The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, Walter Moers. Because who knew the Germans had the whimsy?