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Old 07-09-2010, 10:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
The Great Disappearer
 
Davey Moore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: URI Campus and Coventry, both in RI
Posts: 461
Default Favorite Novels

A simple concept. List your favorites/what you think are the best novels you've ever read. It'd be nice to have a sentence or so about the book or how you feel about it.


1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

A sprawling tome that is about nothing and yet is about everything important.

Quote:
The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

An overused choice perhaps, but I truly believe it penetrates to the heart of America and defines our nation, yet it finds only desperation and regret.

Quote:
And as I sat there, brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out Daisy's light at the end of his dock. He had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And one fine morning ——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
3. Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Funny and sad, philosophical and low-brow, all over the place and concise, brilliant all the way through.

Quote:
If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still--if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice.
4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

To me this book is a great drug story and road trip, but there are also passages and passages about the 60s and why they were an utter failure, which are insightful in a way that can only come from someone who was in the middle of it.

Quote:
That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary’s trip. He crashed around America selling ‘consicousness expansion’ without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him too seriously . . . All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours, too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped to create . . . a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody—or at least some force—is tending the Light at the end of the tunnel.
5. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

A devastatingly real family falling apart. Also surprised me with a Gang of Four reference. But the real joy are the characters, and how they could really be almost anyone's family.

Quote:
Here was a torture that Greek inventors of the Feast and the Stone had omitted from their Hades: the Blanket of Self-Deception. A lovely warm blanket as far as it covered the soul in torment, but it never quite covered everything.
6. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

I don't have a quote here, but this really is the best individual Science Fiction/Fantasy book I've ever read. It's got all the literary chops(meaning great prose), it's interesting, sad, symbolic, political undertones, it has everything.


Hell, I'll leave it at that.
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