"This evening, I sat by an open window and read till the light was gone  and the book was no more than a part of the darkness.
 I could easily have switched on a lamp,  but I wanted to ride this day down into night, 
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page  with the pale gray ghost of my hand."
Ted Kooser


Steve Mitchell said...

I love this. And am now somewhat curious as to your reading habits for some reason... favorite books?

jessielynn said...

Note: This will be long-winded, as I will attempt to give you a constructive answer to your question; however, it is one that comes with much explanation. With that...
Over the past few years I've worked full-time while also pursuing a master's degree. As a result, my free time was mostly spent either writing papers and studying for exams or unwinding, which didn't include reading for pleasure. (Side note: my degree is not related to literature.) So I am reluctant to admit, that my "favorite books" don't come from years of consuming novels at a breath-taking pace, but rather over the course of two short years full of hardy recommendations, most of which have become "favorites." I hesitate to truly use the word favorite, as I don't feel I'm equipped to rightfully categorize the books I've read as such; therefore, the books I mention are books that I've thoroughly enjoyed:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (A classic I had never read that I finally picked up, read, and loved.)

As I lay Dying by the infamous Willam Faulkner (A rec. from an old friend. It was not until after I read it and expressed aloud to others how much I enjoyed it that I realized Faulkner is an acquired taste, which has only made me like it more; it's like the feeling you get when you're the only one who can see the stereogram of the bunny rabbit while everyone else is just left seeing nothing but some colorful, funky textures.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (I love how it gives you the ability to exercise your creative imagination...how you get to know the father and son so intimately...their affection for one another...the meaning of what it is to be a "good person.")

White Noise by Don Delillo (Yet again another rec. from a friend who DID happen to be studying literature; knowing someone who has already weeded out the "not- worth-your-time" reads and can lead you toward the "this-was- great" reads is helpful, nice--i.e., if their idea of "great" saddles up to yours. The book explores the notion of death--one's fear of it...the unknown--as well as that of simulacra [something that resembles something else]. In addition it has some descriptive narrative about grocery stores: a slight fascination of mine. [Note: See some of my much earlier posts.])

I'll end with this:
Current book: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

On my night stand to read next:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

The "something different":
Design Your Life by Ellen and Julia Lupton

Recently thought of picking up:
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

And you?

Apologies for being so verbose and thanks if you read the whole thing!

Steve Mitchell said...

No need to apologize, I prefer verbose explanations to meager ones :)

I know how it feels to not have much time to read for pleasure. I worked full time during my studies as well. Fortunately I majored in English, so there was some relief.

The Road lands itself somewhere in my list of favorites as well. I loved how McCarthy used so many fragments... it really brought to life the bleak landscape he described.

Lolita is a good read as well. I went through a Russian literature phase a few years ago... the Idiot by Dostoevsky being my fondest memory of those few months.

I must say I've never read any Faulkner. I suppose I'm one of the people standing bewildered before that psychedelic painting. Maybe one of these days I'll blur my vision enough to see the rabbit.

My list of favorites is always changing. I find literature much more difficult to pin down than, say, music or movies... but... off the top of my head, top ten (at the moment) goes something like this:

Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
My Antonia by Willa Cather
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
1984 by George Orwell
and The Trial by Fanz Kafka

Oh, and Yes, I have seen The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Beautiful film. Thank you for the suggestion anyway! I love getting recommendations, especially from people who know what they're talking about. And judging by the music you post, and your "constructive answer" you seem to have wonderful taste.

jessielynn said...

Ha! Well, I'm glad you didn't find the answer too combersome to get through. And I, too, enjoy a good recommendation, so thanks for your Top 10 list. Some I've read, others are on my to-read list, and the rest are completely new. I love hearing about new reads, they're like the free toy at the bottom of your favorite cereal box: just when you thought it couldn't get better, it does! It's funny you mention an Eggers book, because I was just reading a write-up of "Zeitoun." Maybe he'll be the next read...that is after the others waiting on standby.