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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A post in which I interview myself regarding books

Favorite book: The Brothers K, by David James Duncan.
This is currently my favorite book. I cannot describe how much I love this book. If and when I meet someone who’s read it without me recommending it first, I will profess my undying love for that person, even if they are my mortal enemy. My favorite book in high school was Girl, by Blake Nelson. At the time, I imagined myself to be kindred spirits with Andrea, the main character, cause she was a suburban teenager who got into the underground punk scene in Portland, Oregon, and I was a suburban teenager who got into the underground punk scene in Miami, Florida. I’m not saying that this book is the reason I went to college in Portland, but I’m not saying it’s not, either.

Least favorite book: American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
I know, I know, American Psycho is riveting and scathing social commentary. I don’t care. I hated it. It’s one of the only books that I forced myself to finish because I didn’t want to let it get the best of me.

Most important book: It's a tie between A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, and The Weather Makers, by Tim Flannery
These are books that are sometimes difficult to read, either because the subject matter is not always what one wants to read after a day at work or school, or because the subject matter is painful and, in some cases, heartbreaking. However, they are still incredibly important to read: Zinn’s book reveals the too-often hidden grotesqueries of the founding of the United States; Flannery’s book emphasizes that our increase in carbon dioxide production has caused indelible harm to our planet and if we don’t act fast, we soon will not have the opportunity to reverse our mistakes.

Most overrated book: The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
I. Did. Not. Like. This. Book. And I don’t get the hype. ‘Nuff said.

Movie that made me want to read the book: I Capture the Castle
The movie, directed by Tim Fywell, wasn’t bad or anything. It’s just that seeing it made me want to read the book. Dodie Smith (think 101 Dalmations) is the author of this coming of age story that is so far removed from today’s sex-drugs-bitchy-girls stories for teenagers (Gossip Girls, The Clique) that it is the ultimate breath of fresh air. Though at seventeen the main character, Cassandra, is obviously interested in boys and does have more than one potential love interest, she is far more interested in her burgeoning skills as a writer and the fate of her eccentric family. I cannot tell you how relieved I was that this story did not end with the fairy tale “happily ever after;” had it done so, it would have been a disservice to the book, Cassandra, and teenagers who need to believe that life does not begin and end with high school.

Movie that made me glad I’d read the book first: High Fidelity
John Cusack is adorable, Jack Black is hilarious—I think that I need to acknowledge this first, and also say that whoever cast this (and About a Boy) is a genius. However, I read this book, by Nick Hornby (see About a Boy and How to Be Good), several years before the movie came out, and it was one of my favorites in high school. The top-five lists? Love them. The ridiculously dead-on caricatures of record store clerks? So fabulous. The way that Hornby takes a narrator who is actually quite despicable and turns him into the guy we’re all rooting for? Brilliant. The movie just didn't compare. If you liked the movie you’ll love the book.

13 Comments:

  • i capture the castle is bugging me. because i think i have read it but i am not sure. is it the one where there's a pair of sisters and the older sister is engaged to one of two brothers? but then she pulls a sneaky switcheroo? there is a step-mom who is an artist, a father who is past his writing prime, a little brother?

    does any of this make sense?

    By Blogger al, at 6:03 PM  

  • Ok, I understand the hype of the Da Vinci Code (The topic is SO cool...I want to read The Jesus Papers) but it was horribly written and the ending sucked. That said, I couldn't put it down while reading it. Every frigging chapter ended with a cliff hanger.

    I have to read The Weather Makers (and I am pissed off at the American copy for having "man" in the title - I think the Canadian copy says "we" or something...much better)

    By Anonymous Lorien, at 6:16 PM  

  • Ok, I understand the hype of the Da Vinci Code (The topic is SO cool...I want to read The Jesus Papers) but it was horribly written and the ending sucked. That said, I couldn't put it down while reading it. Every frigging chapter ended with a cliff hanger.

    I have to read The Weather Makers (and I am pissed off at the American copy for having "man" in the title - I think the Canadian copy says "we" or something...much better)

    By Anonymous Lorien, at 6:16 PM  

  • yeah, alli, that's i capture the castle.

    By Blogger Tasha, at 6:45 PM  

  • My god, do you have too much free time with this whole being out of school thing that you really "interviewed" yourself about books...:)

    By Blogger Aundra, at 9:10 PM  

  • Ok, Tasha...I don't want to this to have a negative impact on our new found friendship, but I like The Da Vinci Code. Only because I wrote my undergraduate senior thesis on the changing representation of Mary Magdalene in early Christian texts, and how basically early Christians thought that she played a much more important role in the spread of Christianity than the disciples/apotles. And I love Catholic thrillers.

    And I bought the Brothers K today. And will read it. And I better love it...or else.

    By Blogger heather, at 2:32 AM  

  • Aundra, there's nothing wrong with doing a little bit of literary soul-searching.

    By Blogger Tasha, at 8:55 AM  

  • I didn't like the Da Vinci Code either. I mean, it got to a point where I was curious to see what would happen - but that was about the only positive thing I could come up with to say about it.

    Also, Drake loves the Brothers K! But he is MINE. So there. ;)

    By Blogger Kristen, at 2:05 PM  

  • Girl was my most favorite book in high school, too. So much that I bought the DVD (I think the movie was straight to video). I read 2 other books by Blake Nelson, but neither got to me like Girl.

    I agree that Davinci Code is overrated, but it least it got the world reading again.

    By Blogger McGeekan, at 11:02 AM  

  • Princess, I have only met a couple of other people who've read Girl! How exciting. And yeah, I guess I have to give Da Vinci credit for getting people into reading...but I hate it that that is so many people's favorite book cause there's so much other stuff out there.

    By Blogger Tasha, at 12:31 PM  

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