The Medulla Bloblongata portion of the Bloblessness Project 2012 has grown tentacles and is now officially taking down other, non-blob, people in it’s wake. (Feed me, Seymour!) In a masterful exercise of quid pro quo negotiation, my non-blob music-loving friend – the one who is recommending all the albums for Blob Beats, posited that if he was going to provide a carefully curated list of albums to arm me with a sampling of modern music missives, what was in it for him? (Other than the ceaseless joy of perusing my rambling and uneducated reviews, of course.) Then he decided, he knows albums the way I know books. Perhaps I could come up with a list of top, not-to-be-missed, modern works for him to work through: The It List.
It’s every reader’s turducken of a privilege wrapped in a fantasy stuffed inside a fear. (Pre-heat to 450, set the timer for 15 hours and voila!). If someone would only ask you, just think of the wonderfully enviable reading list you could produce by handpicking only the books that really surprised you, spoke (still speak) to you, and changed you. But which books would you pick? What a terrifying question. Still worse: Why would you pick them?
To the best of my limited ability, I’ve chosen these books (in no particular order) for these reasons:
- I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb. This, to me, is a masterwork. Many characters, many plots and subplots, but never too many. And so artfully woven.
- Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy, Jr. It still fascinates me the way Kennedy characterized courage. We all know of courage as doing the difficult thing when no one else would, but who would have thought to assign that quality to a politician voting in Congress against his constituency. There’s no doubt, IN TIMES LIKE THESE (Ugh! I truly detest that phrase, but sometimes there’s just no other way to say it!), that we all would think this a courageous act. But I do believe that is partly owed to Kennedy’s original, and daring, use of the word.
- The Nine, Jeffrey Toobin. Disclaimer, I guess, is owed to say that both my non-blob music-loving friend and I share a mutual interest in law-stuff. Not that you have to be at all that way inclined to enjoy this uniquely informative and interesting account. Is as much about the personal idiosyncracies of the justices as it is about the factual nuances of the cases, as it is about the cultural reach of both those things. I’m fascinated by the judiciary. I don’t think he is . . . yet.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Heddon. To me, this is the Memento of novels. At least in my experience, this is a genuinely different idea about how to write, how to communicate, and how to look at things. I mean, I saw Rainman, so I understand this isn’t the first recorded attempt at fiction to handle an autistic subject. But in the first person, I just found this so interesting that I made it my own personal touchstone for truly creative works.
- Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, Tom Robbins. They say you never forget your first, and with that I must agree. Of his many books, this was somehow the first I managed to come across. I so enjoyed reading something that was so irreverent, so funny, and still so smart. I know that sounds like ever book-cover endorsement ever printed, but really. For real. Irreverent, funny, smart.
And that’s it. For now. The It List as best as I was able to muster it. Now the turkey has been stuffed (and so has the duck), the oven is pre-heated, and the beast is set to bake. He’s started with Fierce Invalids, and so far the feedback is positive (“Something smells . . . good.“). So you don’t agree with the books on the list, don’t agree with the reasons for the books on the list, or don’t agree with the mere idea of a list? You know where the Comments are:
Have at it.