1/21: Books I Couldn’t Put Down

I don’t read as much as I could (or as much as other people I admire–I’m looking at you CL). Also, I like non-fiction (books about ideas) more than novels. But here are some books I couldn’t put down (all but the last two I read in one sitting) in no particular order. Note: this is different than “My Favorite Books” or other such books lists. This list speaks more about the author’s skill or the story:

  • McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. Devastating. I, and others who I’ve talked with, have had a physical response while reading this. Cormac may have no peers. So bleak you’ll have to read No Country for Old Men to cheer up. He strips everything away. Exhausting. I found myself holding my breath, I felt physically sick at times, I sweated, I cried. I marked up this book (as I do when reading books I own), and even now, just glancing at a single, underlined sentence causes all those physical, emotional responses.
  • Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow. This blew me away. I just stared at the book for awhile after finishing it. Then I called my sister.
  • Signh, Simon. Fermet’s Enigma. Read it in straight through. Called my sister immediately.
  • Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. The antidote for the child who says they don’t like to read.
  • O’Brien, Tim. In the Lake of the Woods. Another quietly devastating book. Tim (like every author here, I suppose) suffers for his writing. He filled twelve notebooks and came close to killing himself in the writing of this book.
  • Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat’s Cradle. Vonnegut is as good as his legend. Brilliant.
  • Robbins, Tom. Skinny Legs and All. The book itself is the Dance of the Seven Veils! Mind, and life, altering. I doubt there is anyone else who can do what Tom did here.
  • Bragg, Rick. All Over But the Shoutin’. Rick and Tim O’Brien are likely the best living writers of the personal narrative. He spins and weaves, and spins and weaves.

Share what you got, folks.

(Next: the books along my path to enlightenment.)

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