Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Classics or Tomorrow's Kitty Litter Lining?

Back in June, Entertainment Weekly ( posted its list of new "classics," which they're calling the 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008.

Being mainly a reader, more so than a movie-goer, I've culled through the book list a couple of times now and while I've not read everything, or even close to, I've had some definitive reactions to some of the listed titles.

Here are my reactions to those I know: *
* I am not including any movie versions of books I've not read.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Entertaining, though I wonder why the series never truly hooked me. Twice I've stopped reading book 3. Maybe I'm just not a fantasy-lovin' gal.

Maus: Awesome, and I'm not into graphic novels one bit. The cats as Nazi and the mice as the Jews who were hunted? Brilliant! It's the only book that held my attention when I was holed up at the infirmary with a 104 degree fever for eight days during my freshman year of college.

Bridget Jones' Diary: Cute chick-lit. That's it. I enjoyed the movie much more. Perhaps because I got to look at Hugh Grant and Colin Firth for two hours.

Naked: I preferred ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY. My favorite part is when Amy Sedaris yells to her brother, as she's getting off a crowded NYC bus, "Hope you beat the rape charge." Ridiculous. Funny. I kind of wish Amy Sedaris was my big sister.

The Lovely Bones: No, no, no. Just no. I much preferred Alice Sebold's memoir, LUCKY. The ending to this book said one thing to me, "I don't want to work on this book anymore so I'm going to end it in the lamest way possible."

Interpreter of Maladies: AMAZING! Jhumpa Lahiri is my girl crush. I wonder why her debut novel, THE NAMESAKE, and/or her latest book of short stories, UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, weren't included?

The Glass Castle: Interesting memoir that held my interest but a new "classic?" Doubtful. I'd vote for Tobias Wolff's THIS BOYS LIFE instead.

Nickel & Dimed: Ok, this one I get. Eye-opening and disturbing. I met Barbara Ehrenreich at BEA a few years ago. She's delightful!

The Giver: Um, Lois Lowry is a LEGEND. It doesn't matter how old you are. Read all of her books. Now.

The Kite Runner: Also amazing. Most of my friends enjoyed A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS more but I disagree. How Mr. Hosseini could write a book about a topic so devastating and yet still allow the reader to feel hope is beyond me. Bravo.

Secret History: It was okay. My friends loved it. Maybe I just didn't get it.

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: This one of those books I KNOW I enjoyed but yet I can't remember a thing about it. I hate when that happens.

Eat, Pray, Love: Women love this book because they want to be Elizabeth Gilbert. At least I do. Maybe not the divorce part but eating my way through Italy and then spending months in an Ashram sound great. Part inspiring and part babble.

Fast Food Nation: I declared I'd never eat fast food again after reading this book. And I didn't... for approximately two years. From time to time though I need a Whopper. What can I say? Would a real "classic" turn me off to the underpaid workers and Grade F meat forever? Maybe. Or maybe my stomach just rules who I am.

So, is there a favorite of yours missing from this list? Disagree with any of EW's choices?


Lauren said...

Very helpful info! Thanks for the suggestions!!!

Randy said...

I loved some of the books you've read.

Fast Food Nation -- I had the same reaction. I didn't go to McDonald's for a few years, but then we had kids and well, what are you gonna do?

My favorite part of Fast Food Nation was when they describe how you can have 100 cows in one burger. Yum!

I also loved The Curious Incident... An amazing book. Just beautiful.

And David Sedaris is one of my favorites. I loved Me Talk Pretty One Day. The story about the nudist colony and "Big Boy" make me laugh out loud and people look at me like I'm nuts on the subway.

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