So, what next? I’ll take a little break then try to come back with some new books before summer. What books have people read? What books would you like to see featured? I’d like to do something recent that’s actually “literary”, but it’ll be hard to find something that enough people have read. Here are some options (but feel free to come up with your own)...
- Lincoln in the Bardo?
- The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?
- The Goldfinch?
- The Great Gatsby?
- Jane Eyre?
- Midnight’s Children?
Let me know in the comments, folks (if you want me back!)
No Country for Old Men?
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell?
Wizard of Earthsea?
For nonfiction, maybe the Disaster Artist?
It might be fun also to pick apart a bad popular book like Ready Player One.
For non-fiction, maybe Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential?
I like/have read a lot of your fiction choices and would enjoy seeing you dissect any of them. Also in the schooldays classics vein, Dickens might be another strong contender, Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities.
Reading your comments on Game of Thrones, I thought of Assassin's Apprentice as a refreshing palate-cleanser. And it has a great first scene. It's not quite as widely known as you might be looking for, though.
Other ideas... Lord of the Rings? One of the common Agatha Christies, like Murder on the Orient Express (which would come with the added bonus of being able to talk about the recent film)? Ender's Game? Pride and Prejudice?
I'd also be a fan of a popular book with a bad reputation. Twilight?
Three very short novels that are worth reading (and have all been adapted to movies):
A well-written thriller that unfolds differently than its reputation, has a perfect halfway point change, and is packed to the gills with reversals that could be studied: First Blood by David Morrell.
A tense roman noir that also has a brilliant midpoint crisis and change, a well-written classic that contains a lot in very few pages: Double Indemnity by James M. Cain.
A modernist tale of education, ambition, and understatement: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. Brodie has a fascinating structure and plays with mystery to sustain reader interest in curious ways.
Perhaps a graphic novel like one of Raina Telgemeier's? Or Gene Yang's? Raina's books are one of the most well-read for this generation of school kids, and taking a look at how her visuals interact with the story would be a natural fit for a film thinker like yourself.
Johnathan strange and Mr Norrell
You guys are going to make me read a lot of books! Graphic novels are a good idea. Maybe Bone? The annotations would be tricky. Maybe pop-up-video style?
I like very many of the suggestions above. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Dickens, Jane Austen, Assassin's Apprentice (a personal favorite), Beloved. Even something like Twilight would be quite interesting to see what was working so well that it made millions of people like it.
If you are going to do a graphic novel, I think Sandman would be a great choice.
I vote for Assassin's Apprentice since I haven't read it yet and several people recommended it.
All the literary books you listed are ones I tried to read and didn't get through, with the exception of Middlesex, which I enjoyed. The others were either short on story or too dark for me.
Though Lincoln in the Bardo has an excellent opening -- doing many things well. It was just after that, where I was expected to care about a whole cast of characters who were already dead that I had to get off the train.
Any of the classics would be fine, though - I've read and enjoyed most of them.
I have a congenital aversion to any book with the word Assassin in the title, but I'll read more about it...
The problem with something like "Lincoln in the Bardo" is that I want to show that it's okay to do something experimental, but then I don't want to draw any "rules" from that example where I say "Okay, so you should be experimental in the same way," because that's a contradiction in terms.
Sorry to add more to the pile, but for something quite popular yet recent, I'd go for Fight Club or The Handmaid's Tale, both have been adapted as well so they'll be accessible if people haven't read them. Hopefully I can get a hold of whatever you're doing next though - this is starting to resemble a book club.
I would love a Malcolm Gladwell book.
I second the nomination of Fight club based upon its interesting history of starting as a short story that was successfully adapted into a novel at the publisher's request, and the into a screenplay.
Wool by Hugh Howey
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I love Jane Eyre! But a graphic novel would be cool, too.
I think Lincoln in the Bardo would be fascinating because it's SO different and complex. It's one of those books I can't really imagine having written; Saunders' craft is so far beyond my own. I would love to read anything on that. Though Eugenides or Diaz would be interesting too. I just finished Celeste Ng's Small Fires Everywhere and it was wonderful, but not experimental. It's closer to Eugenides' Virgin Suicides.
Don't let the word Assassin scare you off from the book. The world the book is set in is 1000X more humane/uplifting than Game of Thrones and the term Assassin is ironic in the context of the story.
Lincoln in the Bardo would be great!
Out of the choices, I'd vote for Beloved or Middlesex. I'd love if you wrote about American Psycho. Would be interested in reading your thoughts about serial killer protagonists.
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