Tuesday, August 30, 2011

5 Books You Probably Haven't Read

Every so often, you happen across a book that is not The Help or The Hunger Games. By which I mean, a book that, despite being kind of wonderful, no one you know is talking about. Below are some books I've read that fall into this quiet little category.

Why you should read this: It's a wonderfully quirky peek at the poor "serfs" who worked at the Microsoft campus in the early 1990s. The story is presented as a series of diary entries on a PowerBook... sound familiar, fellow bloggers?

Why you should read this: Language. Language. Language. Probably some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read.

Why you should read this: Simply put, this book is a masterpiece. There's a reason it won the Pulitzer.

Why you should read this: Because it's Joan Didion. The memoir is an insightful mix of Didion's personal history with that of the great state of California's.

Why you should read this: Because it's the only book I've read that is told from a second-person narration (other than Choose-Your-Adventure). The perspective fully engages you in the story - you are the protagonist, after all. It's delightful.


  1. Kim - I've never heard of any of these books. I love great books that aren't blockbusters. Thanks for the tips I'm going to add them to my list.

  2. I tried reading 'Microserfs.' Didn't get very far.

    Thank you for the recommendations, Kim.

  3. Philip Roth is a genius. I don't know much about the others on this list, but I like that you recommend them so highly. You ever read any Cormac McCarthy? Some of his stuff is like reading with an anvil on your head, but some of the prose is beautiful. If you like language, you'll love Blood Meridian. If you like weighty subjects, you'll love The Sunset Limited. I am also a big fan of Stephen King's short stories for mastery of the craft. But if I had to recommend one book every writer should read, it would be A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean. Holy ink pot, that dude could write!

  4. Suze - Really? Well, yeah, I guess I can see that...
    Curtis - I've only read American Pastoral and Plot for America by Roth - but they were both wonderful. Will check out Cormac McCarthy... And Norman Maclean is extraordinary - even if you don't care for fly-fishing...

  5. Ooh, these look good. Thanks, Kim! I liked Joan Didion's 'The Year of Magical Thinking.' Which of these do you think would work best as a book club selection?

  6. Oh - that's a tough one. Depends a lot on your book club - American Pastoral has a lot to discuss, but it also has kind of some adult themes (ie, sex). If on a winter's night was a really fun read, and Weddings and Wakes is just beautiful and explores the mother/daughter/sister relationships...

  7. Some great choices. I love American Pastoral. Calvino as well. I'll add the others to my TBR list.

  8. I was just looking for a good book. Thanks!