It took me longer than 15 minutes to put this list together. Because I have something to say about every single book, and I can’t not say it. Oh well.
Strunk and White might be turning in their graves, but I’m okay with that. When it comes to talking about loving books, there are never enough words.
- Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. The best of her work. The ultimate guide to a thinking woman’s seduction.
- The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. A reverent, lyrical examination of one last human moment. If you have been to Crete, you will recognize the wilderness of mind and body.
- Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen. The human nature of virgins, beauty, and rigidity. A solve-for-yourself prose experiment written in time to prayers.
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. When I grow up, I want to write like her.
- The Girl’s Guide to the Apocalypse by Daphne Lamb. New release by a friend of mine. If you have read Swift, if you brush elbows with Voltaire’s Candide, and if you like World War Z, this book will suck out your brain in a super-pleasurable reading experience.
- The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Forget Stephen King. This book will terrify you. Elegantly. Another woman I want to write like when I grow up.
- Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman. I first fell in love with Eleanor Herman when I read “Sex with Kings.” After meeting her at BEA15 and reading the ARC of Legacy of Kings, all I can say is, there is yet another woman I want to write like when I grow up. Her handling of Alexander the Great as a teenager with mystery, suspense, action, romance, and…..freaking accurate history!!!!!!!!!!!!! (cough, sorry cough) is balls-out amazing.
- In the Woods by Tana French. Not so much a fan of The Likeness, but everything else is amazing. Reading her is like reading an elegant, addictive, meditative thriller.
- A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchmann. LONG ASS BOOK but amazing. She brings the reflection of the 1300’s close to home by bringing to life the lives of people both noble and “villein” of the 14th Everything that nonfiction history should be.
- Delta of Venus by Anais Nin. Authentic literary erotica. Read during Vassar years after viewing “Henry & June.” If you can peep past the sex, you will see poetry and the complexity of human love and sexuality.
- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. See above, except replace with: If you can peep past the sex, you will see a tale of how the most sordid of experiences becomes the most sublime.
- The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. After reading the book, watch the movie by Sofia Coppola. A rare instance where one is as good as the other.
- Finishing out the list with the Twilight Series and the Fifty Shades of Grey Series because they inspired me to believe that if these books – while enjoyable with suspension of many, many, many things – could be mega successes, I could write a mega success, too. While “Downcast” hasn’t exactly hit it big yet, I will say that an average of 4.7 stars on Amazon out of 28 reviewers ain’t bad. Thanks, Stephenie Meyer and E.L. James. Someday, though, I will eat your lunch.