Someone recently posted a “tag 5 other people to do the same dumb thing” post on facebook RE: The Ten Books That Have Stayed With You In Some Way. No one tagged me to compile a list so FUCK YOU that’s what I have a tumblr for :)
A Confederacy of Dunces - It took true talent to create the most simultaneously lovable and excruciatingly annoying character of all time. Plus, New Orleans.
The Braindead Megaphone - One lesson among many in this book: it doesn’t matter if you’re the most educated and level headed person at the party, if the laughably ill-informed asshat is the one dude screaming his opinions at said party, everyone is going to listen to him. And they might even start believing him. What a simple concept. I’m convinced that George Saunders and I share a brain — he’s just way better at communicating our shared thoughts is all.
Me Talk Pretty One Day - We read an excerpt from this book in my high school Literature class junior year and it was then that I fell in love with the personal essay. It’s all I want to read forever and ever.
Bridge To Terabithia - Ah, the first book to ever make me cry. I was in 6th grade home room and completely taken by surprise. I honestly don’t even remember what happens in this book just that I WAS MOVED.
Harriet The Spy - This isn’t even. I just can’t with this. The movie too.
The History of Love - How many times can one person’s heart break, really, before you just die???
Slapstick or Lonesome No More! - My first taste of Vonnegut and still my favorite. After finishing this book was the first time I felt the impulse to spend the following two hours dissecting it and getting all my feelings towards it on paper. If 15-year-old me feels moved to write an essay about a book with nothing having been assigned to me, that book is fucked up and on point.
Youth In Revolt - First real discussion I ever had about a book with people that I gave a shit about. It was a super punk high school book club. Totes not school sanctioned (winky face yes it was and we got donuts).
*Fox 8 - Goddamn George Saunders, at it again. He creates this form of English for the story that convinces you you’re reading the voice of a fox who is telling you a sweet and lighthearted tale about how he interacts with the world and all the idiot humans in it. The whole this is so believable that I think it maybe was written by a woodland fox and George Saunders plagiarized it and also I’m still crying from this story. Can we please stop urban sprawl already?!
House of Leaves - HOLY SHIT FOOTNOTES ARE THE ENTIRE BOOK NOTHING IS REAL
What most of these works have in common is that they shocked the hell out of me. I thought that “successful literature” had to be written in a certain format or at least follow some sensible and familiar path. But the books that I’ve LOVED the most have left me feeling like I had no idea what “novels” or “stories” even were anymore. The authors totally fucked my shit up and helped me feel less afraid of writing exactly how I wanted to write.
So there’s my list.
*technically a short story and not a book but, again, I make the rules around here