Last week I was given The Booker blog award from Chelsea Brown at The Jenny Mac Book Blog; thanks so much Chelsea! My five favorite books… That’s a tough assignment. I’ll give two lists, fiction and non, just so I can squeeze five extra books into this post.
1. In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan – Probably my all time fave book of any genre. I first read it as a teenager, and I’m as stunned now as back then. It’s a slip of a manuscript, but an entire world exists in the tigers and watermelon trout oil, as well as the Forgotten Works.
2. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – Meta-fiction that weaves a hypnotic spell, just bumping against my top choice for fave book. In a twist of real and pretend, O’Brien recounts his Vietnam tour, leaving me wondering not just what’s factual, but how, why, for what purpose? Just amazing.
3. The World According to Garp by John Irving – How many times I have reread this book, feeling inspired and humbled, vexed and thrilled; Garp and his mother Jenny, Garp’s wife Helen and his best friend Roberta, and never forget the Undertoad!
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Like a collection of short stories is how Lee presents this precious and horrendous slice of America’s past. Gently this story is told, but not a single brutal truth is omitted.
5. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – Sprawling and rollicking, this tale of the American West brings together a motley crew taking cattle from Texas to Montana. Along the way hearts are challenged, lives lost. But Gus and Woodrow maintain integrity, be it dealing with killers or tag-along pigs.
1. And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts – Shilts covered the AIDS epidemic for the San Francisco Chronicle, then wrote a tome explaining one of the most mystifying and debilitating diseases of the twentieth century. Grace and truth haunt this account, leaving me staggered.
2. Haywire by Brooke Hayward – A memoir from the daughter of two early Hollywood greats, Hayward notes the piecemeal destruction of a family studded with film stars. More that touches is the humanity of men and women playing pretend on screen and off.
3. Just Kids by Patti Smith – Together Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe rose from obscurity to fame in the New York art and music scenes. Smith’s honesty makes this more than another memoir; love permeates, even when it seems so lost.
4. Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles – Day’s role as a co-founder (along with Peter Maurin) of the Catholic Worker Movement is detailed. I was struck by Day’s unflinching dedication to others and Coles’ ability to capture many facets of that care.
5. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. edited by Clayborne Carson – Reading this, I was overwhelmed by a part of my nation’s history unrealized by where and when I was born. An amazing read.
Honorable mentions (as I just couldn’t leave these out)
1. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – A saga for the ages. Please read this book.
2. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes – The poet’s love story and goodbye to his late wife, poet Sylvia Plath.
3. The Stand by Stephen King – An epic struggle of good and evil set across America.
4. Asta’s Book by Barbara Vine – Called Anna’s Book in the US, you’ll be left wondering what’s real and what’s not.
5. Don’t Mean Nothing by Susan O’Neill – Short stories based on O’Neill’s tour as a nurse in Vietnam unlike any short stories I have ever read before.
If you feel so inclined to share your fave books, please do, and let me know so I have more great reads to discover! Now, onto footie…
A huge day for my San Francisco 49ers, beating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, the first time SF has won there since 1990! David Akers tied a record for longest field goal (63 yards) as the ball thumped against the cross bar, then plopped over, a ringing thud for Green Bay fans, one of which is my beloved husband. Several times I told him I loved him, usually after screaming in joy as the Niners made another outstanding play. One of us was going to be disappointed at the end of that game, and unfortunately it was my spouse.
Rookie quarterbacks had tough days, all but Robert Griffin III; he shined as the Washington Redskins beat the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. And thirty-six-year-old Peyton Manning threw his 400th touchdown pass (his second as a Denver Bronco), beating the Pittsburg Steelers 31-19. It was a startling beginning to the season, for which I have been waiting. As much as I love to write and read, I ADORE American football!
(And a bit of baseball, as my SF Giants beat the LA Dodgers 4-0, taking two of three games of that series. Go Giants!)