As we were winding down our weekly Cocktail Hour (everyone who reads this invited, by the way; just remind me to tell you where it'll be on any given week), we started discussing our top five books and, briefly, albums. Kristy said she only had one American author on her list, which made me realize that my list is comprised entirely of Yanks. Caleb listed a bunch of works I've never heard of but which I'm sure have massive indie intellectual cred, which made me realize that my list is quite prosaic. So I didn't say any of my list out loud, but here in the safe confines of my prosaic American blog, I present you with My Top Five Books, Plus Bonus Tracks.
1. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. Bluebeard, Kurt Vonnegut
3. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
5. To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
6. Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut
7. My Antonia, Willa Cather
8. The Nick Adams Stories/The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories, Ernest Hemingway
Yes, I know it reads like a 10th grade summer book list. But those are the only books I can think of that I have voluntarily re-read multiple times, thus pushing them into the small category of literature I remember. There are a lot of things I've read that I know should be on this list but I've left them off just because I can't remember anything about them other than that I liked them. There are also the books that I know have a justified place but just can't put up there because, much as I appreciated them, I just didn't love them. Lolita falls into this category, along with The Sound and The Fury and pretty much the whole of pre-1950s British literature (this entire last sentence written at the risk of Kristy never speaking to me again). And yeah, I wish there were more women on there. And I'm sure I'm also leaning towards publicizing the more respected works, because it seems entirely unbecoming of a Northwestern University English-degree-carrying writer to admit that she found High Fidelity more moving than For Whom The Bell Tolls.
(This took longer than expected to explain/justify, so the Top 5 or So albums will have to wait ...)