Monday, September 1, 2014

Ten Books that Haunt

Maybe the original prompt from Eleven was "ten books that stick with you" but since I don't seem to see any tomes actually stuck to my person, I am going to narrow it to the books that come to memory in those viking-saturated gloamings of dusk (and, less often, dawn).

Borges.

Was it the Infinite Library, or the deadly labyrinths on imagined rocky coasts of an England that only existed in Argentina?  Can't say.  But it's in his collected stories.

Eco.

While I am thinking about libraries, hauntings and infinity and Italians Who Owe Borges, this is the moment for Umberto.  My copy of the Name of the Rose came from a house of a smoker, so, in my mind, those sneaky monks always had a Marlboro hanging out of their lips.

Searching For Anna, by Michaele Benedict

Because neighbor.  Because friend.  Because heartbreak and parenthood can take the floor out of the firmest bedrock.

The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton

If the monochromatic ink 'n paper page of a cheapo Penguin Edition can burst with color, then...
How many eye-breaking synonyms for "red" does the English language have?
Are all anarchists ginger-haired?
Does cinnabar taste like cinnamon?
Is the Back more interesting than the Front?

Til We Have Faces by CS Lewis

Was written after CS got acquainted with an actual woman.  (it shows, marvelously, thank you, Joy).

The First 3 Installments of Stephen King's Dark Tower Series (but not the whole thing)

I haven't read a lot of King, and I liked how these books seem like he didn't really plan ahead, but just followed the long. loping strides of his imagination.  But then, his imagination got tired at book 4, and so did I.

Sea and Poison Shusako Endo

Maybe he was just following orders, but the doctor of the Sea and Poison was haunted by more of what he did than was ever done to him.

Mark Twain

Why, of all the Twain I have enjoyed, the only title I can think of is the brown, canvas copy of Christian Science that I picked up at Bell's Bookstore (in Palo Alto) as a 16 year old.  Twain is universally loved (at least here) and my copy of his Complete Works is thoroughly thumbed.  Maybe it was the smell of his his story-loving, cult-hating soul that seeped through the yellowed pages.  Or maybe its the description of his broken leg that takes up the entire first chapter.

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Gravity's Rainbow Thomas Pynchon

I am putting these two books together because I checked them out of the same library (the Richmond Branch), I read them in the same basement at 419 11th Ave, I was pregnant with the same person, they have similar themes (war, absurdity, magical realism), and the same barf bowl rested on the pillow next to my head.

2666 by Roberto Bolano

Another pregnancy read (maybe its the hormones that haunt), this one on the shady porch of a St Helena farmhouse.  A great spot to read about unsolved homicides, frustrated professors and shady German serial killers.



2 comments:

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

This is by far the best Ten Books meme I've read.

Camille Offenbach said...

KAY. So wonderful to hear from you and thank you for the compliment!

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