Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On books, this time the kind without colorful pictures

Now that the semester is over, I'm reading for pleasure again. What a concept! I've begun Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice. It's about time, too; I've never read it before, but I'm liking it a lot. Those 19th century women folk certainly knew their way around the quill and ink bottle, what? I mean to say, Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), The Age Of Innocence (Edith Wharton) --- three of my favorite novels, and all exquisitely phrased, each one displaying great craft, a knack for tone-setting, and an astonishingly broad (to the modern reader) scope of vocabulary.

Five more of my favorite classics:

1. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
2. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
3. The Picture Of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
4. The Catcher In the Rye – J.D. Salinger
5. Confederacy Of Dunces – John Kennedy O’Toole

Those books are extremely pleasurable to read, especially the first. I personally find it next to impossible to open Catch-22 to any page and not continue reading; the bizarre, savage humor draws me in instantly. But there's also pure escapism in books. Here are five series authors, not necessarily of great literature, that I enjoy a lot:

1. P.G. Wodehouse (the unflappable valet Jeeves and his idiot employer Bertie)
2. Bernard Cornwell (several military fiction series: Sharpe, King Arthur, etc.)
3. Lawrence Block (alcoholic PI Matt Scudder delivers rough justice)
4. George MacDonald Fraser (Victorian hero and cad Harry Flashman)
5. Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes!)


daveawayfromhome said...

My tastes tend to run less classic (my wife, the English major, dispairs of me). I do enjoy Pride and Prejudice, though.

Have you read Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair. Since you do classic lit you'll probably enjoy it more than I did.

NYC Educator said...

Based on your great reading list, I bet you would love The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth.

Chance said...

Hey, thanks for the recommendations, people!