Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Books I'm Thankful For, 2006

Presented by Mutt Ploughman.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I now present for 2006 six books that I am thankful for: not only favorites books of mine, these are the books that I literally feel grateful that someone had the guts and heart to write, the ones that have meant the most to me personally in my development as a writer and a fan of literature. The selections are presented in no particular order.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday and God's blessings for this holiday season.

WINTER'S TALE, Mark Helprin. This book will always have special meaning for me. It blew the doors off of my conception of what the novel, and the imagination, could accomplish and remains a luminous and fascinating story.

MARIETTE IN ECSTASY, Ron Hansen. One of the novels I admire the most of the 20th century by one of the writers I respect the most. A virtuoso concoction of poetic beauty, literary quality and spiritual potency.

THE GRAPES OF WRATH, John Steinbeck. A novel which literally changed my life. It may be THE book that made me really want to try to write fiction for as long and as far as I could sustain the effort.

MOBY DICK, Herman Melville. I've only read this once, but plan to change that; this is the ultimate story of obsession that in my mind delivers the greatest reward for the terrific investment one puts in to read its nearly 1,000 pages. This book has a perfect conclusion.

THE ROAD, Cormac McCarthy. People will be surprised to see this new novel on this list, but this novel is nearly perfect in my view, and affirms in a most arresting and memorable way the power of love and, at least in my reading, the overwhelming Majesty of God. Also, it is a thrill to see a truly great writer silence critics who question his skill late in his life.

COLLECTED WORKS*, Flannery O'Connor. I was simply unable to narrow it down between the four books she published during her life. All of her works are brilliant, endlessly mysterious and extremely important to my writing and literary life.

* - ok, ok, so it's not one book.


Duke Altum said...

Fantastic post Mutt! And here's wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving as well... and to anyone else who might see this!

Rather than create my own list, I will just throw out a few I would choose that are NOT already on Mutt's list... the ones that are on his list I would have included too would be Moby Dick and the works of Flannery O'Connor.

Here are some others that I personally am thankful for:

1. Anything and everything by C. S. Lewis, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, The Four Loves and The Weight of Glory: Selected Sermons and Speeches.
2. Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
3. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
4. Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry
5. The Confessions of St. Augustine
6. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
7. Holy Thursday, Francois Mauriac
8. Thoughts in Solitude, Thomas Merton
9. The Collected Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
10. Blood Meridian and Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

Duke Altum said...

By the way, I didn't include poetry on this list, because I didn't want it to get overlong... but certainly the works of Seamus Heaney, Richard Wilbur, Denise Levertov, Billy Collins, Tarjei Vesaas and Wislawa Szymborska deserve special mention as well.

Aura McKnightly said...

How could you have a list without Wislawa Szymborska?