Monday, April 16, 2007

Great Lightning Reads

Each book on this list can be easily read in one or two sittings and is more worthwhile than most "great" 500-page masterpieces you feel like you have to read (Midnight's Children, etc...)

1. A Tomb for Boris Davidovich by Danilo Kis. (The horrors of totalitarianism in seven horror stories. Serbian.)
2. A Way of Life, Like Any Other by Darcy O'Brien. (A Fitzgerald-esque comedy about the fall of a Hollywood couple based on B-movie stars Marguerite Churchill and George O'Brien and written by their son. American.)
3. Amongst Women by John McGahern. (An unhappy family ruled by an impotent nationalist patriarch. Irish, of course.)
4. To Each His Own by Leonardo Sciascia. (A trippy Mafia thriller. Italian.)
5. The Poor Mouth by Flann O'Brien. (A comedy that includes a riff on the use of Gaelic. Irish again.)
6. A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov. (Novel in five parts about a Byronic asshole. Russian.)
7. The Piazza Tales by Herman Melville. (Includes "Bartleby the Scrivener," a story dear to everyone who has ever worked a temp job and surfed the net all day. American, as you know.)
8. Nocturnes for the King of Naples by Edmund White. (Strange gay classic of the '70s. American. Oh, and did I mention gay?)
9. Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis. (Lighthearded comedy about one man's descent into madness. Brazilian.)
10. Ultimate X-Men Vol. 1-6 by Mark Millar and various artists. (The finest interpretation yet of an ingenious American myth written by a paranoid Lefty Scotsman.)

Honorable Mention:

1. Blubber by Judy Blume. (A grim meditation on evil. American.)


Akshay said...

An excellent list, although I really enjoyed Midnight's Children, 500 pages and all.

Jeff said...

Very well done list.