There’s a line in High Fidelity when Rob says something like, “It’s not who you like, it’s what you like.” I think this is true to a certain extent. People are capable of arguing over very trivial matters, and I think you can certainly get a little peek into someone’s soul by examining their tastes. In that spirit, I decided to unveil a shelf from my bookcase. I have two in my apartment. One large, one small. Together they probably hold 350 books. Elsewhere around the place books are stacked here and there, but they mostly gather amongst the shelves. When I arranged them, it wasn’t completely haphazard. Trashy paperbacks dwell on the bottom shelf. The middle shelf, the one at my eye-level on the bigger bookcase is I guess home to the books I am most comfortable people seeing. You could probably jump to a lot of conclusions about me based on these books, but would you be right? Here’s an honest assessment of prime reading real estate, a 29-book peek into my world.
1. The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille—This is the most readable book on the shelf.
2. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris—Here’s some insight. I don’t like short stories, or essays. Sedaris is funny and raw, but I need a novel.
3. The American Reformers (1815-1860) by Ronald Walters—Hey look at me! I took a history class in college.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte—At some point my sister’s books got mixed up with my own.
5. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger—It takes me two readings to commit a book to memory. I often rush the first time. This is a great book on my re-read list.
6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey—The extent of my tolerance for 60s writing counterculture.
7. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee—This book won the Nobel Prize, but is set in South Africa. I like familiar locales, so I struggled.
8. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce—Probably the reason I didn’t take AP English? I’ve read the first page 20 times, the rest of the pages 0 times. One of maybe 15 books I own but haven’t read.
9. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser—I once had a copy of the best 100 novels of all-time. This was on the list, and is a surprisingly readable epic written in the 1920s.
10. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk—This is the guy who wrote Fight Club, which I haven’t read. The premise of this book (a man who lives off the generosity of people who save him from choking) is truly unique.
11. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote—110 brilliant pages. Read it and you’ll picture your first crush as Holly Golightly.
12. Everything Must Go by Elizabeth Flock—This is an interloper, a decent enough novel, but not sure how it made it onto the BIG SHELF.
13. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner—Don’t like Faulkner, don’t like this book.
14. The Road by Cormac McCarthy—The only McCarthy book I’ve had the balls to attempt. It was worth it. If you’ve seen the movie, try erasing it from your mind and crack the novel.
15. Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald—Not his best work in my opinion (dodging lightning bolts).
16. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole—If you don’t know the history of this book, look it up. It’s remarkable. I tried to love it, but couldn’t quite get there.
17. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald—How badly would I like to be Nick Carraway?
18. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald—A story about the nouveau riche and NY city excess…written in 1922.
19-22. The J.D. Salinger Block—The Catcher in the Rye could be my favorite book, so cliché. The rest, aside from maybe Franny and Zooey leaves me underwhelmed.
23-24. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe—In bookstores always remember that Tom Wolfe and Thomas Wolfe are not the same guy, but hard to believe these two were both written by the same person. Bonfire of the Vanities is modern-day Fitzgerald, Kool-Aid Acid Test lost me in a hippie fog. Wolfe’s career was all over the place. Read, “A Man in Full,” but burn “I am Charlotte Simmons,” for warmth.
25. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee—If you only write one book, make it a good one. Harper Lee could have never been a blogger.
26. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen—Franzen is far from prolific, and when you read his novels you see the care he takes and the time it must take to produce these monsters. A master at developing unique, but relatable American families.
27. April 1865 by Jay Winik—Much like the South, I have not forgotten the Civil War.
28. The World According to Garp by John Irving—I have a handful of John Irving books, but can’t say I love any of them. I should boot him from this shelf in favor of Richard Russo.
29. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens—If I was going to suggest Dickens, and I’m not, maybe start here? Otherwise watch Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
MLB Underdog of the Day: Yesterday’s Result: Loss. Financial Status: (-460 GW’s)
This is going to sound like a feeble excuse, but there really was not a single game I liked yesterday, but to keep the fun going I picked anyway. I mean that. The rest of my picks were garbage, but yesterday I was expecting to get throttled and did when the Rangers beat up on Anaheim.
Today’s Selection: San Francisco (+130) over Colorado.
I don’t trust Ubaldo yet this year. The Rockies were likely put into a slump by Teeny Tim Lincecum last night. I say it lasts one more day. Here’s a pick I actually like.
Quiz of the Day: Authors by Book Title. Category: Blog Continuity. My Score: 23/28