Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Reading Lists

Clint, over at Lutheran Confessions, has been boasting about the high quality of his reading. I say "boasting" as a joke and "high quality" because he cites to a couple of my favorite authors: Wendell Berry is hard to beat and Louise Erdrich has been one of my "pet authors" for almost as long as she has been publishing. (She's originally from North Dakota, so I, as a former North Dakotan, began reading her out of a sense of chauvinistic duty. I stayed because she draws fascinating characters.)

I have followed up on Clint's lists of good authors by suggesting for his enjoyment Robertson Davies and Reynolds Price.

Now I invite you into the conversation. How about sharing the name of a splendid author on your shelves or one or two novels that you return to, or would return to, to read again.

To put myself on the line: Wendell Berry's Jayber Crow is one of the most touching novels I have read. (It is also one of the best meditations on the nature of fidelity that I can imagine.) (Nelle) Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has been on my re-read list since I was in 6th grade (which I think is about 12 years after it was written, and which caused my mother to question the propriety of the book for a sixth grader: Who knew Mother read high-class literature?) Incidentally, I hope the book gets a boost in sales as a result of its treatment in the movie Capote. Harper Lee, of course, accompanied her nearly life-long friend Truman Capote to Kansas to begin to gather material that became the book In Cold Blood. It was while doing that that Lippincott accepted the book for publication and that Paramount (I think) made the movie (one of the all-time greats, too). I also recommend Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety and almost anything by Robertson Davies.

So here's a list to which you should add some:

Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow
Robertson Davies, Rebel Angels
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety
Reynolds Price, A Promise of Rest
Gail Godwin, Father Melancholy's Daughter (for the liturgically inspired: read the sequel, Evensong, though it's not as good)

Now, friends, it's your turn. Share some ideas. I don't care if you prefer "the Classics" (you'll notice a conspicuous absence of such from my list -- although certainly Mockingbird might arguably be included -- even though I am a subscriber to the Library of America and have a roomful of the slipcased, acid-free papered, fabric-bookmarked volumes) or "cyberpunk" (a passion, apparently, of Clint's) or romance or science fiction (does anyone want to comment on The Sparrow and Children of God?). Share the wisdom.

Because Advent is not so far away, do you have any suggestions for a good read during Advent?

Sorry to steal your idea, Clint, but thanks for the idea.



LoieJ said...

I loved the book The Color of Water. I don't have it handy to tell you the author. It was about growing up in NY City half black and half Jewish and it is a tribute to the author's mother.

Anonymous said...

The Disposessed by Ursula Leguin is the book I have consistently re-read every year or so since I discovered it in college, o so many years ago...