Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Distraction, Borrowed from Abd & Mon

Bold the ones you've read, italicise the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't and underline the ones on your book shelf. (N.B.: Sorry, I can't figure out how to cross out something here--I'm too computer-handicapped. So I've marked them with "XXX"s. Odd list of books, I might add, but what the hell.)

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garci­a Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
XXX The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini XXX
XXX The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold XXX
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
XXX Angels and Demons - Dan Brown XXX
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
XXX Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides XXX
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
XXX Atonement - Ian McEwan XXX
XXX The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon XXX
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert


Blogger phd me said...

Now, I must ask: Why not Lovely Bones? That's one of the few pieces of modern fiction I actually enjoyed reading.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

You ever have the experience where you start reading a book and you get about 25 pages in and you realize with great certainty, that, whatever its merits, "This book was *Not* Written For Me"? That is, "I would have to be a completely different kind of reader to 'get' this." I feel this way about Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy--good authors all, I suppose, but just Not Writing To Me. Sebold's on that list. I just can't get into a book where the main character explores Heaven, and it's meant to be *serious*--or, as the dusk-jacket describes it, "luminous." To pull that kind of thing off, you've got to be Milton or Dante. Or kidding. She's not, and I just...can't. But I'm willing to concede that I might be the one at fault. Well, not concede, but consider. Well, not consider but not dismiss out loud. Well...

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dryden, for Christ's sake come off it. You've been mercilessly mocking both the book and the people who read it since Alice Sebold first appeared on the outskirts of everyone's consciousness. There's writing to please a reader, and then there's just...being dishonest.


1:22 PM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

Um, see, it's called "politeness." "Decorum." "Allowing for the contrary opinion of others." Granted, I'm a dismissive, arbitrarily judgmental prick--I don't deny this--and yes, I've mocked Sebold and her fans (which isn't really appropriate, since she's actually a friend-of-a-friend) to those of like opinion, but if there should be someone, like abd, who's shown herself to be smart and tasteful, who likes her, then I have to stand back and admit that, well, de gustibus non disputandum. Doesn't mean that if I were *reviewing* the book, I wouldn't rip Sebold a new one, just means I'm not going be rude. Good manners aren't dishonesty--they're a dedication to a higher belief that treating other people with respect is, whenever possible, the good and proper thing to do. That's the WASP code, and I'm sticking to it. But then, I'm the host here--*you* are free to be as impartially caustic as you like.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dryden,
I'll try to bring my copy of Life of Pi for you and SCG the next time I drop by. Maybe a copy of the Brokeback Mountain screenplay too. . . LOL

Question: Is "The Remains of the Day" considered Modern Period Fiction? By far, it's the best book I read in the Nineties.

9:43 AM  

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