Wednesday, March 10, 2010

if I could only recommend one book... (Your Questions continued)

[Briony asks, "If you could recommend one book to read, what would it be?"]

So in order to answer this question, I had to access my BookBook, which is my nerdy catalog of every book I've ever read since I was 15. What a treasure it is.

Woops, I just spent 45 minutes poring over my BookBook. Gee, thanks, Briony. Thpbpbp.

My final answer, and why: Autobiography of Red, by Anne Carson. This is a novel in verse that ostensibly re-creates part of the Hercules myth, the episode where Hercules slays the red monster Geryon. Only in Carson's retelling, Geryon, the little red monster, is an introspective photographer who falls in love with Hercules and who is slayed by a broken heart. My reasons? It is both rich and utterly surprising. Since it's poetry, and since Carson is a really capital poet, every word is beautiful--but at the same time, it's not at all as scary or boring as "novel in verse" sounds. I wouldn't say it's the easiest read in the whole wide world, but it is (to me at least) the most accessible poetry I've ever read, since it tells a story. I just think it's a really special book.

15 comments:

The Rejectionist said...

OMG YES. The BEST BOOK EVER

KID LIT WRITERS said...

I LOVE that book. So many layers, and so much language that filled me with joy and sorrow.

"It was the hour when snow goes blue and streetlights come on and a hare may pause on the tree line as still as a word in a book."

Thanks for reminding me about this one! Must go reread immediately. (Okay, after the mundane work stuff!)

Jennifer Ambrose said...

Wow. Your recommendation plus Kid Lit's quote just sold me. I want to run to the bookstore right now and get this book!!!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Verse novels scary and boring? Boo to that.

Adding this to my list.

Laurel said...

That is always a tricky question. I read your post on Faulkner and how nobody really loves Faulkner, but I do. I lovelovelove The Sound and The Fury. I loved reading it. I loved reading it again.

I grew up in the belly-button of the Deep South. (Or Heart of Dixie as they romantically call it 'round these parts. Belly button is more accurate as it tends to collect lint and grime of an indeterminate origin but when presented in its best light is dead sexy.) I know the Compsons. They go by other names but the decay of Southern Aristocracy keeps the social mill running in small and medium-sized towns across the Bible Belt.

But after recommending The Sound and The Fury to too many people, I realized I was making a classic mistake. Nobody brings the same things to a book as anyone else. You have to qualify. I can't make a recommendation without asking someone what other books they really loved.

CKHB said...

How fantastic! Thank you!

JES said...

That is one damn convincing review, Moonie (especially with the additional evidence from Kid Lit Writers: thanks!).

Curiosity: do you read books like this more than once?

JES said...

That is one damn convincing review, Moonie (especially with the additional evidence from Kid Lit Writers: thanks!).

Curiosity: do you read books like this more than once?

JES said...

Forgive the stereoscopic comment. If you wear bi-colored glasses to read it, though, it practically jumps off the page at you.

Mark said...

Holy crap, I too have a list of every (well, most) book I've read since 1982, when I was 16. Started as me trying to remember the last bunch of books I'd read, writing them down, jotting down the next one, etc. And at that point, why not just continue? Good to know -- very good, actually -- that I'm not alone. :-)

Lisa_Gibson said...

Well based on all these comments, I have to check it out. Apparently, I can't go wrong. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks!

Rosalind Adam said...

I am so angry with myself that I've never kept a BookBook and it's not a nerdy catalogue, no way. I would love to be able to browse all the book titles that I've loved over the years. Why couldn't I have thought of doing that 30 odd years ago?

Briony said...

Thanks Moonrat! I'm putting this one on my radar right now :)

Ellen said...

That is the book that made me fall in love with poetry (after 4 years of super-analytical high school teachers brutally murdered all enjoyment of it for me). Good choice! :D

Kathryn said...

"In those days the police were weak Family was strong
Hand in hand the first day Geryon's mother took him to
School she neatened his little red wings and pushed him
In through the door"

just to jump in on the love fest.