This week, I’m revisiting some of my favorite posts from 2011 while I take a one-week break from writing and simply focus on reading and spending time with my family. This post was originally published on April 13, 2011. 101 Books will return live on Monday January 2, 2012. See you then!
Since I started 101 Books, I recall tearing up only once while reading–that was during one dreadfully depressing passage in Rabbit, Run.
What if the two weightiest books I’ve read so far on the Time list squared off in a death match? What would happen?
Oh, you don’t think books would ever get in vicious and violent death matches, do you? Well, you obviously don’t have my warped mind.
Gone With The Wind and Infinite Jest are obnoxiously large books. They’re leviathans, the sumo wrestlers of the literary kingdom. If they squared off in a fight to the death, here’s how I see it breaking down:
It’s been awhile since we talked David Foster Wallace on the blog, and I kind of miss it.
So, even though I’ve long since finished with Infinite Jest, I thought I’d revisit Mr. DFW today and take a look at an entertaining letter he wrote to an editor at Harper’s Magazine. His letter is in reference to an essay he wrote for Harper’s about Franz Kafka.
Remember the grammar quiz that DFW gave to his college students? He’s a grammar nazi if I’ve ever seen one, but DFW also proves that you have to know the rules to break the rules. And you also need to be able to explain your reasoning to your more-than-likely Grammar Nazi editor.
Have you ever heard of this thing called music videos?
I heard that they were a popular thing back in the 80s and 90s on a channel called MTV. Anyway, some bands still make these “music videos,” The Decemberists being one.
The band was so inspired by Infinite Jest that they made a video depicting one of the most memorable scenes in the book–the kids at the tennis academy playing Eschaton.
So maybe you’ve heard that a little film about Harry Potter comes out today? Perhaps?
The interesting thing about J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is that, at least in my view, it’s hard to say whether the books or the movies have been more successful. That’s rare. Usually, it’s easy to pick one or the other–and, often, it’s the book.
“The movie or the book?” is one of those classic questions, like Coke or Pepsi (Coke), the Yankees or the Red Sox (the Red Sox), and hamburgers or hot dogs (definitely burgers).
I guess it’s not surprising that a majority of the books I’ve read on the Time list have been made into movies–some extremely successful, even moreso than their novel counterparts (e.g. Gone With The Wind and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest).
I mentioned this on Wednesday, but for every great novel turned into a movie, there’s still many that are waiting for some creative screenwriter and director to put them on the big screen
Three books from the first 21 that I would love to see get the “Harry Potter treatment”:
Time to justify my rankings.
I update them after each book, but after every five novels I feel the need to explain myself—otherwise, I’d be like a college football coach voting in the coach’s poll (If you get that joke, raise your hand.) As always, you can see how I’ve ranked all 20 on My Rankings page.
So here goes my nonsensical explanations for books 16-20:
The last 10 of the first 20.
Well, I’m back live today. Thanks for hanging around during the week of “reruns.”
I thought I’d start off this week by looking back on the first 20 books of this project, something I’ll do after each ten reads. If you need a reminder, here’s my look back on the first ten.
Now, for a few of my mostly subjective thoughts: