Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What is the what

JG and CS over at the Hotchpot Cafe have a reading challenge up.  They love these.  This one sounds like fun.  It is a birth year challenge.  The books you read should all have been published in the year you were born.  

I was initially dismayed, but things are looking up.  One of my comments to them was this after moaning and whinging about what a crappy year my birth year seems to have been.  Then I came up with these two: 
The Fixer by Bernard Malamud won both the National book award and the pulitzer.....a list may be forming...., something by this guy Miguel Angel Asturias...still, gonna think about this a bit. Such an unpromising year.
Then they so very kindly came in with some help:
CS said:  
Don't despair, Oreneta. Here are a few others:
The Confessions of Nat Turner (Styron)
The Chosen (Potok)
A Garden of Earthly Delights (Oates)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Marquez), which was first published in Spanish in 1967.
Hope that helps.

Then JG said:
I looked for some for you, too, Oreneta. How about:
Tom Stoppard's "Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead" (it's a play, but it comes in book form)
V.S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men
Wilder's The Eighth Day
I did a little research on these and they sound possible.

Another commenter came up with the site, The books of the Century, from which I chopped out this section:

Fiction Bestsellers
1. Elia Kazan, The Arrangement
2. William Styron (tie), The Confessions of Nat Turner
2. Chaim Potok (tie), The Chosen
4. Leon Uris, Topaz
5. Catherine Marshall, Christy
6. Thornton Wilder, The Eighth Day
7. Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby
8. Irving Wallace, The Plot
9. Mary Stewart, The Gabriel Hounds
10. Henry Sutton, The Exhibitionist
Critically Acclaimed and Historically Significant
Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual
John Kenneth Galbraith, The New Industrial State
Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology
Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference
William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Peter B. Medawar, The Art of the Soluble
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle

Nonfiction Bestsellers

1. William Manchester, Death of a President
2. Johnny Carson, Misery Is a Blind Date
3. Eric Berne, Games People Play
4. Rod McKuen, Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows
5. Father James Kavanaugh, A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church
6. Sam Levenson, Everything but Money
7. Stephen Birmingham, Our Crowd
8. Jess Stearn (tie), Edgar Cayce—The Sleeping Prophet
8. Better Homes and Gardens Favorite Ways with Chicken (tie)
8. Phyllis Diller (tie), Phyllis Diller’s Marriage Manual


Book-of-the-Month Club Selections

Jan de Hartog, The Captain
Cornelia Otis Skinner, Madame Sarah
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory
John Gunther, Inside South America
Thornton Wilder, The Eight Day
William Manchester, The Death of a President
W. S. Kuniczak, The Thousand Hour Day
Harold Nicholson, The War Years, 1939–1945
Dennis Bloodworth, The Chinese Looking Glass
Gwyn Griffen, An Operational Necessity
Sarah Gainham, Night Falls on the City
Will and Ariel Durant, Rus and Revolution
William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner
Svetlana Alliluyeva, Twenty Letters to a Friend
George Kennan, Memoirs, 1925–1950

Here's where you come in. I'm hoping that you may have some background on some of these books.  Nabokov, I will confess to a prejudice against him, though maybe that is a good reason to try it.  Phyllis Diller's Marriage Manual is just to ridiculous, I may have to read that......I think I would like to try and read both the Marquez book and the Nobel prize writer's book in the original Spanish.  Now there is a truly psychotic goal, but one must dream big.  Naipul, again, haven't read enough of his.....

Any words on that?  Who the heck was Nat Turner anyway.  Feel like I should know....he makes it on three times.

On another note, Dave Eggar's What is the What came in the mail today.  I have never walked home so slowly from the post office, and it is only with the greatest difficulty that I have done anything else today.  Eggars is an amazing guy.  If you haven't seen his Ted Talks lecture, you should....wish it weren't so late, I'd like to see it again.  He is writing the auto-biography of another man.  A Sudanese man who managed to escape the horrors of what has happened there.  It is an utterly compelling bit of stunningly beautiful writing.  Cannot recommend it highly enough, and I am only at page 36.

All of the author's proceeds from the book belong to the man who tells the story, Valentino Achak Deng and are to benefit the Sudanese, both in Sudan and elsewhere.

Amazing in every single little way.


oreneta said...

I apologise for the post. I am having totally weird editing and layout problems tonight and I must sleep.

Beth said...

The post layout is certainly an eye-catcher!

Although not up for the year of my birth book challenge right now, I’m going to keep it in mind. Choosing any year is a great book source idea.
I loved Eggar’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Sam has What is the What somewhere in this messy house – I’m going to find it.

Lynda said...

This post looks like a Ransom Note... just who are you holding?

I have noticed this book challenge going around, but when I googled 1965, the first book on the list was DUNE... I think not... that book was sitting on my father's book shelf for the whole of my childhood. Didn't Sting star in the movie?

Beth said...

that's a really good idea for the books Rocky! and ya, the post th ingie? creeeeepy!!!!!! ;)

Helen said...

Don't touch J K Galbraith unless you have insomnia problems - I had to read it for A level economics. I love Mary Stuart, though the Gabriel Hounds isn't her best book. The Merlin trilogy is really good though. The rest, I'm afraid, I haven't read.

oreneta said...

Beth, find it. It is one of those books I am taking with me everywhere I go incase I get a second to read it.....

Lynda, I agree, mine seems to be a rather dismal year too......seem to have escaped the formatting problems today anyway.

Beth, nothing like weirding out your friends once in a while....

Helen...thanks for the heads up....I'll consider the Mary Stuart anyway.