When I was a young lad, I read Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick and then I read it some more. It took me to some strange places and made me think, wonder, worry and laugh. I still have a copy and after reading it again as an adult I was a little less impressed but still fondly remember the daydreaming it caused. Blade Runner, the film, was based on this book and is a favourite too although as always, there were changes from the book.
This next guy, well, what can I say? I loved him before Oprah did. I even wrote him a fan letter which is out of character for me. What’s more surprising is that he jotted a lovely note back. Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance is a tale of struggle and humanity lost and found amid the chaos of 1970’s India.
The characters are so well realized and the writing so vivid that I found myself quite worried about them. I wanted to give them advice and stop them from certain torment any time I saw them heading for a wrong turn. But nobody ever listens to me. Family Matters and Such A Long Journey are well worth the read too.
As wondrous a debut novel as any I’ve ever read, Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald is a dazzling and evocative saga following a Nova Scotia family through some intense and turbulent trials. The writing is just amazing. If I knew how to properly describe it, I’d be busy writing my own book.
I once had the pleasure of seeing Ms. MacDonald perform in her excellent play Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) and that too was a very enjoyable experience. I don’t want to say this but I’ve started her latest novel several times but have not been able to progress. I will try again hoping the magic is only temporarily lost on me.
Running With Scissors was a book given me by a friend and primarily bought for the funny cover shot of the boy with the box on his head. Augusten Burroughs’ harrowing childhood adventures are now well known and a film is to be released starring some big name talent. I laughed, I cried, I was impacted. Many of my unusual childhood recollections pale in comparison with the ones outlined in the book but still, I identified.
What I admired most was the way the author was able to so successfully temper the horror with humour. I wondered how he made it through all that in one piece. And then I read his follow up, Dry. Everything made more sense.
There are so many books that have moved me in the last few years like Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Paul Auster’s Oracle Night, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
Although I didn’t finish it until on the way to work this morning, I had already decided to go with another Auster book for this list, The Book Of Illusions. By the time I was about 1/3 of the way through it, I felt like I had read a couple of good books already. Mr. Auster is a masterful storyteller and artist and this book is going to stay with me a long time. It has suspense, drama, hope, love, loss and a lot more going on and is just what I'd been wanting in the last few books I'd slogged through.
I could go on and on with my silly love letter but for now, I’ll close and say thank you to all who have kept me in such good company.
I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony so please feel free to share some of your favourites in the comment box or enjoy the home game.