Buccaneer Blogfest — My 5 Favorite Books


As part of week three of the Buc­ca­neer blogfest, we were asked for our five favorite books.  In my pre­vi­ous post, I lament­ed the fact  that I don’t read a lot, which made com­ing up with this list a bit of a chal­lenge.  (I cheat­ed a bit by insert­ing a graph­ic nov­el.)  The first four came easy enough, but the fifth spot took some think­ing.   This list rep­re­sents books that have res­onat­ed with me and inspired me in my own writ­ing.   What does your top five look like?  Com­ment and let me know!

The Long Win­ter by Lau­ra Ingalls Wilder.
But the oth­ers were only tired, tired of the winds and the cold and the dark, tired of brown bread and pota­toes, tired and list­less and dull.”

I love the entire Lit­tle House series, but The Long Win­ter stands as my favorite. I read it at least once a year.  When a series of bliz­zards hits the town of De Smet, South Dako­ta, the Ingalls fam­i­ly is stuck in their home for months, strug­gling to stay warm and not starve to death.  In many ways the first vol­ume of my upcom­ing nov­el Par­adise Earth is an homage to this bleak tale of des­per­ate sur­vival.

The Pas­sion by Jeanette Win­ter­son.
Some­where between fear and sex pas­sion is. The way there is sud­den. The way out is worse.”

The Pas­sion is anoth­er book that I enjoy once a year. It was the first book that I read that tru­ly showed me how a nov­el could be art.   It is a love sto­ry between a sim­ple French sol­dier fol­low­ing Napoleon from rule to ruin, and the cross-dress­ing, web-foot­ed daugh­ter of a Venet­ian boat­man.  The nar­ra­tive is inter­est­ing, but it is the exquis­ite lan­guage that lifts this nov­el into a mas­ter­piece.  The words do more than sim­ply move the plot along, but rather explore the rich emo­tion­al land­scape of char­ac­ter, world, and sub­ject.  It is a book about pas­sion, not just the kind that makes two peo­ple fall in love, but also the kind that leads ones to the bat­tle­field.


Flex Men­tal­lo: Man of Mus­cle Mys­tery by Grant Mor­ri­son with art by Frank Quite­ly
They love us … They’ve always loved us … They’ve come to save us all.”

Flex Men­tal­lo bumped Ghost World off as my favorite graph­ic nov­el.  Pop-star Wal­lace Sage may have tak­en a bot­tle of parac­eta­mol or they may have been M&M’s. He may or not be dying. Either way his mind is screwed. He lays down in an alley and phones a sui­cide hot­line, not for help, but to talk about his life and comics and his life in comics. The four-page mini-series con­sti­tutes his ram­blings that weave in and out of a sto­ry about a super­hero he cre­at­ed named Flex Men­tal­lo. The nar­ra­tive is a sur­re­al dose of metafic­tion peek­ing at how fic­tion invades our own real­i­ty. In par­tic­u­lar it looks at the con­cept of the super­hero through the decades and asks what pur­pose they serve us.


Fight Club by Chuck Palah­niuk
“Fight club isn’t about win­ning or los­ing fights. Fight club isn’t about words. […] There’s hys­ter­i­cal shout­ing in tongues like at church, and when you wake up Sun­day after­noon you feel saved.

Fight Club knocked me over.  The prose is sharp and punchy, pierc­ing and pum­mel­ing to the meat of the mat­ter.  In my own writ­ing I’m not a big fan of long descrip­tions and set­tings, so I appre­ci­ate Palahnuik’s suc­cinct style.  His work also has a con­ver­sa­tion­al style: it reads like an extend­ed mono­logue.   After read­ing this nov­el I was ready to declare Palah­nuik my new favorite author, but his oth­er books haven’t sold me, exhibit­ing a degree of same­ness, almost to the degree of self-par­o­dy.


Geek Love by Kather­ine Dunn
“They thought to use and shame me but I win out by nature, because a true freak can­not be made. A true freak must be born.”

Geek Love is the kind of nov­el I could see myself writ­ing as it con­tains two of my favorite top­ics: cir­cus freaks and cults.  The sto­ry is about a fam­i­ly of sideshow per­form­ers that uses drugs and radi­a­tion to lit­er­al­ly birth new tal­ent.  One of the chil­dren, a boy with flip­pers for hands and feet, starts a cult which encour­ages adher­ents to cut off body parts to achieve inner peace. The nov­el is creepy and eerie, dark and twist­ed.  Direc­tor Tim Bur­ton was said to have bought the rights years ago, but the film remains unmade.   That is shame because I would like to have seen John­ny Depp with CGI flip­pers.

¶ Despatched on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 5:01 pm and sorted in Writing. ¶ { ReTweet }

2 Responses

Millie BurnsJuly 26th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Geek Love intrigues me…I’m a die hard Bur­ton fan, and it makes me want to read this to see what Bur­ton might be seeing…thanks for the list. Lots of new for me to look at.

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