October Reviews

[yes, I carved this]

Oh October- I really hate you. The weather can't make up its mind, there are absolutely no days off for holidays, and worst of all, the whole stupid month culminates in the most annoying holiday of the year (parents, please remind your children to not trample peoples' lawns and that doorbells should only be rung once). But, in less than two hours the month will be over and wonderful November will be upon us. 

This month's reads:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
400 pages
I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but to sum it up, Kingsolver describes the year her and her family spent trying to eat locally. They grew their own food, raised their own poultry, and bought everything else they consumed from their own community. Kingsolver shares their trials and tribulations, while her husband weighs in on some of the more political aspects and her daughter provides recipes.

Verdict: I thought their story was fascinating, but at a few points I did get a little bored. I was also a little frustrated at the feeling that my increased vegetable consumption wasn't good enough- I had to find local food on top of eating healthier.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
74 pages
This was for work, and is currently the piece we're studying. For those unfamiliar with this classic, it's about Gregor Samsa and his sudden transformation into a giant bug. He must cope with his new body, his family's reactions, and the inner turmoil that naturally comes with the situation. My students are really torn so far as to whether or not they like it; the more advanced ones are fans, while some are taking it quite literally and just think it's "weird." We'll see what they think when we're done with it. 

Verdict: It's a short, interesting classic- might as well burn through it in an afternoon and add it to your snooty "yea, I totally read that" list.

The Stranger by Albert Camus
123 pages
I also read this for work, trying to decide if my students should read this or The Metamorphosis. I actually really liked The Stranger, but opted for the other because I thought the kids would like it more. The Stranger is about a man who ends up involved in a murder, right after handling the death of his mother. He is taken to jail and tried; a simple story on the outside but a fascinating psychological study if you dig a little deeper. 

Verdict: Another novella, it's a quick read that will help booster your classics list. Like The Metamorphosis it's a story with layers- something I personally enjoy.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
304 pages
I have no idea what this book is about. Fine- it's a dystopian story about drugs, sex, drugs, anarchy, sex, and more drugs. And Burroughs doesn't go easy on you- everything about this book is pretty hardcore, whether it's the graphic descriptions of shooting up drugs or the violent orgies. At the heart of the book is the questioning conformity and the human spirit, but man- it's a trip. If I had the time/desire I would reread it and try to actually study it, but I currently have neither.

Verdict: Honestly, I didn't really care for it. It has nothing to do with the subject matter, the style and wandering narrative is just not my thing.

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
334 pages
I saw this book at the bookstore and then ordered it on a complete whim- the premise alone sounded pretty quirky. Mary Lou, an older lady from Memphis, decides to take revenge against the doctor in charge of a study that subjected her to a radioactive material that ended up giving her daughter terminal cancer. Mary Lou moves to Florida and learns that the doctor now has dementia, so she decides to infiltrate his family and cause havoc from the inside. Her actions end up having far-reaching results that are often humorous but also very, very serious.

Verdict: I thought the first 3/4 of the book was decent- maybe not exceptionally well-written, but at least original in premise. The end was a bit forced and choppy, though. It's a super quick, entertaining read, though- great after something like, say, crazy Naked Lunch

Hey, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow! Let's see how that goes- maybe I won't be loving November as much as usual...

Top Whatever Tuesday- Heroines

The Broke and the Bookish asks us to come up with our top ten heroines this week- this was seriously hard for me. First of all, what makes a hero? To me heroes are people that actually change society- they cure diseases, save babies from dying, invent tampons. I generally don't read books about people I consider heroes, so I'm going to have to extend the definition to females I admire. And, because I'm drawing a blank, for the first time ever I'm going to leave my list incomplete. 

1. Antigone (Antigone by Sophocles)- Yeah, she gets on my nerves, but her willingness to exert herself was way, way, before her time.

2. Fern (Charlotte's Web by EB White)- The vegetarian in me commends her efforts to save a pig from slaughter. 

3. Hester Prynne (Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)- You wear that A, lady. You wear it. 

4. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter by JK Rowling)- A goody goody whose willing to break rules to help her friends and defy evil.

5. Nancy Drew (Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene)- I can't imagine what the world would be like if she hadn't solved all those mysteries and put away all those criminals. The world is better place because of Nancy.

6. Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)- Her concern with the goodness of humanity, as well as her willingness to fight boys, makes her pretty damn cool.

7. Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)- Because we've all had a crazy man with a wife locked in the closet in our life.

8. Paula Spencer (The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle)- She kicked out her alcoholic, abusive husband. Enough is a enough. 

Books on Your Back- Book Talks

I ran into this cute idea on Pinterest- the teacher behind Teaching My Friends had her students design a t-shirt to match the book they were using for their book talks. This is an awesome one on Jaws- check out her site for more great ideas. My kids are a bit old for this, nor do I have time considering what I have to cover, but I bet elementary and middle school students would love it!

[Teaching My Friends]

Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts

This post is a mess- just like me. Sometimes I think it's easier to have the flu than a cold- I'd rather blow chunks for a day or two than five or six of the sniffles, a cough, and a sore throat. I haven't been sick in almost a year, so I guess I was due. 

1. I have been wishing lately that gift giving wasn't part of Christmas. Personally, I'm just happy to have time off. I have gotten so sick of the commercialization, greed, and spoiling surrounding the holiday. Yeah, I have a book wish list full of lovely gift ideas for me, but I'd be fine not receiving any if it meant I didn't have to deal with holiday shopping for others. And it's not just the money; it's the whole concept of thinking of unique things for people that already have everything they want. You can thank the Christmas merchandise appearing next to the Halloween candy for setting off this rant.

2. Speaking of Halloween, and rants, I've decided as a homeowner I hate this holiday. I have to spend my hard-earned money on candy for complete strangers' kids. My dogs bark, I can't get anything done for a solid two hours, and all the store-bought plastic costumes make me nostalgic for my youth when moms got all crafty with the sewing machines and hot-glue guns. The only reason I do it is because I know that one day I'll be parading my own kids around to the houses of childless people, interrupting their peaceful existences.

3. You should read  this article about Joe Queenan and his 6,128 favorite books. I really wish I would have kept track of all the books I've read in my lfe.

4. Denny's is going to do a Hobbit inspired menu, offering such delicacies like "Biblo's Berry Smoothin," "Shire Sausage," and "Build Your Own Hobbit Slam." J.R.R. Tolkien is going to come back from the dead and beat some ass. 

5. The Giants won the pennant- in the rain. Making the victory even sweeter is the fact that the three Southern California teams didn't even make it to the playoffs. Going into the World Series they're definitely the underdog, but the comebacks they've been making lately are impressive, so you never know.

6. The Giants were part of the reason I bailed on the Nick Hornby reading last night, that and the crappy cold thing. I've seen him before, and the lovely folks over at Writer's Bloc are going to send me the copy of the book that came with the ticket.

7. Cloud Atlas comes out this weekend. I'm a little unsettled by how supportive David Mitchell has been of the project, to be honest. I've been trying to listen to the book on audio in order to refresh my memory since it's been several years since I read it, but the narrator is so horrible my mind constantly wanders (which totally defeats the whole purpose for subscribing to Audible). We plan on seeing it, but I'm a little worried about how long it is...

8. I am really, really struggling to get through Naked Lunch right now. It's not that it's a bad book, it's just not for me. I have no problem with the fact that every single page so far has graphically discussed drugs and sex, it's a stylistic issue. Fortunately, it's only a little over two hundred pages, so I can, and will, power through.  

9. I need to buy an Obama shirt asap. I have jury duty the week of the election and plan on wearing it in hopes that it will make me an unattractive juror. Fingers crossed there are some Republicans in the courthouse. 

That's all I've got. It's been a tough week. 

What the Hell?

[Rebelle Society via 101reasonstostopwritng.com*]

1 month. 50,000 words. 150ish pages. What the hell? (Now is that "what the hell?" as in "suuuuure," or "what the hell?" as in "are you effing kidding me?)

Last year when I heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I thought that it was a stupid gimmick. I thought that writers should write every day, that serious writers shouldn't need games to make them write, that people would cheat, quality would be sub-par at best, and that the name was stupid. 

Fast forward a year- while I still think the name is stupid (and so hard to say), I must admit to writing zero actual in-novel words in the last twelve months. Zero. 

So, needless to say, this year I'm singing a slightly different tune. NaNoWriMo is so simple- it's free to sign up (although they do take donations, which I'll probably contribute something to) and all you have to do is write starting on November 1st and finish by the 30th. You submit your word count, not the actual text, so copyright fears do not exist. The quality aspect does have me worried, but sometimes you have to do something before you can do something (fingers crossed I use super descriptive language like that when I write). And I'm sure people do cheat, starting their novel early or by just inputting numbers, but, honestly, what does it matter? It does matter, cheaters are horrible people and they ruin the process for everyone else and I effing  

By this point, over half way through October, I had fully intended on having some more of the foundational work done, on paper. I'm going with an idea that will absolutely, positively not be publicly divulged until I sell it off for at least $200,000 (so never). I've played around with it for a few years and had the balls to talk about it with my husband once, but other than that it's been trapped in my brain working hard to make me feel incompetent and unmotivated. Actually, I've started brainstorming in the past and actually wrote maybe ten or twelve pages of worthless shit, but that's it. And now I will start afresh.

While I know it's going to be a serious struggle to get going, I do really want to finish the challenge. My aspirations regarding writing are very realistic; I understand that the chances of ever publishing (let alone making enough to quit my day job) something are slim to none, but I would like to die saying I wrote a novel. And who knows when I'll die? My goal right now is to make it to 101 (seriously), but I could be run over by a bus or strangled by an angry student next year. Or tomorrow.

My plan right now is this: have an entire plot line for an approximately 100,000 word book done by the end of the month, as well as legitimate character background profiles, and a definite setting squared away. I have a week off in the middle of the month, from the 17-24, so if I can get up to 15,000 before then I think I can make up for lost time then. Eventually I'll put a counter up on the side right bar so the world can track how shitty I'm doing. 

Go team. Does this mean I can drink more this month? Isn't that what real writers do?

*What appears to be the original source, 101reasonstostopwriting.com seems to be defunct, as it is quite old

Baseball and Politics

Politics and baseball are completely interfering with my reading this week. Playoffs and debates- a girl has her priorities. Go Giants. Go Obama. 

[source- SF Giants]

The Weekend

I can work books into anything. Watch. Be amazed at my nerdiness


I started off the weekend with a hike from 50 Hikes in Orange County with my brother. We headed off on hike #8, Guna Peak and Emerald Canyon. Unfortunately we didn't actually make it to Emerald Canyon, since it was a 10 mile out and back trail (we turned around at about an hour in). Ordinarily I'd feel bad about cutting something short, but 5 miles over some serious hills is no joke (well, unless you're comparing it to Half Dome...). I will definitely be returning to Laguna Wilderness Park again- the trails were extremely well-maintained and there were enough people to make you feel safe, but not so many you felt like you're at Disneyland.  The views of Laguna Beach were great:

Later that night my husband and I went to see Argo, the new Ben Affleck movie about the Iranian hostages. It was really good, which is saying a lot, since I kinda sorta hate watching movies (miraculously, this is our third movie in a month; we saw my pick End of Watch, and then his, Looper). I left wanting to read more about the crisis, and, sure enough, Tony Mendez (the guy who comes up with the idea to stage a fake movie) has written a few books, including Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA and Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History. I'm more inclined to go for the second, just because I'd like to learn about this particular incident rather than his whole life. 


First of all, I have to say I'm very lucky to have friends who are willing to go "do things" with me. I have friends that go to readings (people are finally seeing the appeal), friends that go out to bars, friends that go get cupcakes, friends that go to yoga, and friends that go to museums with me (and a few particularly awesome ones that will do all of the above). Today was a museum day- one of my oldest friends and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) this morning and were able to see most of the exhibits. My absolute favorite was Metropolis II, which you can see more about in the video below:

We also saw their collection of Picasso's, some of Kandinsky's (love him), and Andy Warhol's can of soup. This mid-eighteenth century book from India also caught my eye- the picture doesn't do the intricate carvings justice. 

And now I'm off to sit on my ass and (hopefully) watch the Giants win game number one against the Cards. 

Carlos Ruiz Zafon Reading


I'd like to start this post off with a few apologies. First off, I'd like to apologize to Carlos Ruiz Zafon for silently sending him "hurry up and finish" vibes last night after his reading reached the 90 minute mark (after starting 15 minutes late). I'd also like to apologize to the friend that came with me that she got home over an hour later than I predicted. And thirdly, sorry to my husband that the stupid peanut butter cups I made for his work potluck after I got home at eleven ended up looking like shit. 

So the reading.


Writer's Bloc hosted Carlos Ruiz Zafon last night at the Goethe Institute (which is an amazing building on Wilshire) in Los Angeles, and I had been looking forward to attending for the past few weeks. Then this week rolled around and I happened to have something going on almost every evening, resulting in a bit of a sleep deficit. Anyway, we made the drive and once things got started Zafon was incredibly, incredibly interesting. The highlights:

- There will be a fourth book in the Cemetery for Forgotten Books series. But don't expect a movie! He said the best movie is in the reader's head.
- Zafon's comparison of Los Angeles and Barcelona was fascinating. He talked a lot about the history behind Barcelona and how fortunate they have been to not have any major catastrophic event destroy the city like so many other European cities. He juxtaposed this with Los Angeles, and the newness and the ability to recreate yourself there.  
- His writing process was surprising- he doesn't believe in drafts. He meticulously obsesses over every single sentence until it's perfect. 
- He is very involved in the translation from the initial Spanish versions to English. His translator will translate a draft, he'll make changes (since he is fluent in both languages) and they'll go back and forth.
- He looked like a middle-aged Harry Potter- super thick, round glasses and a striped rugby shirt. 
- While he doesn't care in what format people buy his books, he does think that the physical form will always be around.

He was great, and I was tired. Check out his funny little top ten lists on his site.

Top Ten- Pack Your Bags

The Broke and the Bookish gave us license to choose our own topic this week- I'm going to with The Top Ten Places I'd Like to Sit and Read. What can I say, I'm experiencing some massive cabin fever lately, especially with our annual Christmas trip is so far in the away (and yet to be decided). A few of these places I've been before, and I know there is a definite cheese factor, but I'm going to go ahead and embrace it tonight.

1. In a hammock in Fiji, overlooking in the water (cheesiness factor: 9)

2. At a coffee shop in Paris, with a view of the Eiffel Tower (cheesiness factor: 10)

3. On a blanket in Strawberry Fields, in Central Park (cheesiness factor: 5)

[my own- maybe in the spring next time...]

4. On Janss Steps at UCLA. The nostalgia for college kills it (cheesiness factor: 7)

5. St. Marks' Square in Venice, Italy (cheesiness factor: 6)

[my own]
6. In a snowed-in resort lodge in the Swiss Alps (cheesiness factor: 4)

7. On the deck of either a Carribbean or Mediterranean Cruise (cheesiness factor: 9)

8. By a huge fire at a luxury dude ranch in Montana (cheesiness factor: 3)

[source via source- desperately want to go here, by the way- eco friendly!]
9. By the beach in Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket, wearing Ralph Lauren Polos and pretending I'm from old money (cheesiness factor: 6)

10. One  a jungle safari in Africa (cheesiness factor: 4; and yes, I'd really go)

Anyone else itching to drag their book around the world?

Bookish Thoughts

1. I read two novellas this weekend, Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and The Stranger by Albert Camus. I was all set to read The Stranger with my students next without realizing Metamorphosis was in the set of books I had. Personally, I think The Stranger is a better, more meatier book to analyze, but I think the students will like Metamorphosis better (I mean the guy turns into a bug). I have approximately twelve hours to decide. 

2. Next weekend I'm going to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and couldn't be more excited to see Metropolis II. It's been over a year since I went to a museum- high time to get my culture on. I desperately want to make it over to the Huntington Library this fall too.

3. Last Thursday I broke down and ordered Building Stories by Chris Ware. Literally thirty minutes later my husband texts me with the news that he bought it too. Cancel order. I have to start reading it but did spend a few minute looking through the box. Unbelievably awesome.

4. I've decided that from now on I'll simultaneously read two books- one fiction and one nonfiction. Currently I'm reading Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (struggling to get into it, but am only five pages in) and Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith (I want to be her when I grow up). 

5. I have extremely mixed feelings about J.K. Rowling's newest book, The Casual Vacancy. While I never wanted her to fail, I did doubt her ability to break away from the Harry Potter franchise. The reviews have been mixed and I know the only way to really find out for myself is to read it. My only problem is that it's a little pricey and pretty long- do I want to devote the time and money to a book I'm not exactly pumped about? 

6. The Carlos Ruiz Zafon reading is this week, meaning I'll be making the drive into LA on a work night. While I'm confident he'll be worth it, the timing is a little crappy- this week is a busy one. Not to mention I'll have to promise my first born to Exxon Mobile to fill up my tank, considering the price of gas now. $4.67? Kiss my ass. 

7. The rules for NaNoWriMo say you can't start your 50,000 word "novel" (I'm having serious issues saying that 50,000 words when in fact it is more like a novella) before November first, so I'm trying to do a ton of brainstorming and story mapping in October. The problem I'm having right now is getting the plan out of my head and onto paper. I'm also already worrying about my idea- it has to be done really carefully so that it doesn't seem too far-fetched. I'm also concerned about the ending. It feels really nice to worry about things that aren't like "real life" important- the distraction couldn't come at a better time.

Books On Your Back- NaNoWriMo

While I fully intend to dedicate a post to this later (actually several), I am definitely starting to get excited about National Novel Writing Month next month. I plan on taking the NaNoWriMo challenge and writing 50,000 words in thirty days. Unfortunately, this only equates to about 150 novel pages, but it's more that I have now. More details later, but for now here's their 2012 shirt:

Anyone else planning on taking on NaNoWriMo this year? Or have in the past? Or have no idea what I'm talking about? Or don't give a crap?

Nonfiction Nagging- Eat Local! Or Don't...

Growing up, I was not a fan of vegetables, and fruits were ways behind the list of baked goods and ice cream. My mom offered both to us, although fruits were definitely more plentiful that the canned and frozen green beans, corn, and peas that we were served at dinner. After I started college I are salads more often since the UCLA's dorm dining offers some great, fresh choices, and now as an adult I eat one for lunch almost every work day. After becoming a vegetarian this spring I have made a tremendous effort to get in at least two servings of fruit a day and three or four of vegetables. And I've been quite proud of myself- I've successfully made the transition to herbivore. I'm like a little brontosaurus.
And then I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and realized that apparently my increase in fruits and vegetables weren't enough. Kingsolver advocates a purely regional, local diet, allowing consumers to be completely aware of what they're putting into their bodies. This diet based on proximity also cuts down on transportation cost and waste (allegedly), and, since the products are organic, it also reduces pesticides (allegedly) and soil contamination. By taking it a step further and growing your own produce and raising your own meat you can save money and truly develop a relationship with your food. You become healthier, more aware, and environmentally conscious.  

Kingsolver's family made it their mission to embrace locavorism- they moved to a house in the country and decided to live locally for a year. They started a massive garden, raised poultry, shopped at their farmer's markets, harassed grocers over where produce came from, preserved their produce for winter months, and even bought flour from a local mill for the bread her husband made from scratch everyday. It was a complete family affair- one of Kingsolver's younger daughters raised chickens in order to sell, with their eggs and her other one became very involved with cooking and recipe creation. It was definitely an ambitious undertaking and the project was incredibly successful- they managed to eat almost completely locally, save a ton of money, and revolutionize their health. Kingsolver includes extensive research on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), soil health, heirloom vegetables, economics, and our ability to make more than we do (like cheese!).

It sounds like a great plan, and there are definitely aspects of the locavore movement that I applaud. I buy almost all my produce at a local farmer's markets of sorts called Tom's Farm (I'm quite skeptical about some of their produce being local, though; I asked the cashier and he named some local farms but also added that some of their products come from LA- I resisted the urge to ask him if they were picked up from the docks in San Pedro...). I try to buy organic as long as it's not terribly more expensive (especially of the Dirty Dozen), and I've even fantasized about turning my landscaped backyard into a garden (realistically not happening). 

On the other hand, there are some definite issues when it comes to being a locavore. First of all is cost. Most people don't have the space for huge farms, which means that they need to buy organic- this costs more. Also, eating as a locavore means eating what's in season- that means no apples in February, no tomatoes in December, and no bananas, ever, unless you live in Ecuador. Not to mention the fact that recent studies have shown that eating organically isn't necessarily healthier in terms of vitamins and minerals (no one disputes taste, though). Organic farmers still use some pesticides and it's truly hard to find things that have been genetically modified at some point in time (although I will be voting "yes" on Prop 37 in California that calls for GMO labeling). Transportation costs can also be debated. Sure, it costs a lot of money to transport thousands of tons of avocados from California to Massachusetts, but we have to use a per fruit/vegetable ratio- how much is it costing for a small farmer to bring a few boxes thirty miles to a farmer's market? 

Kingsolver and her family admittedly went to the extreme- they were passionate in being locavores and had something to prove to themselves. I don't feel the need to get quite that dramatic, but after living in California's Central Valley for fourteen years I can assure you local does taste better. So, while I won't be turning the area above my pool into an area for growing tomatoes and lettuce, I will continue to increase my fruit and vegetable intake and will try to be as conscientious about where I'm buying from.

September Reviews- Here I Go Again

I promise, this will be the last title with a reference to an eighties song in it. I actually did it on purpose this time. The only things I really did "again" was post twice in a day. But please, who doesn't enjoy some good Whitesnake?

This month was a little unimpressive, with only four books, but, like I tell my students, I do try to have a life that involves me leaving my house. Go figure. 

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle
240 pages
First of all, I must admit to the fact that, thanks to Amazon's super helpful product update, I ordered this book in February of 2007. Oops. The fact that I waited five years to read it is pretty pathetic, considering that it's a really decent read. Doyle writes the story of Paula Spencer, the Irish, alcoholic wife of an abusive man. Finally, enough is enough and she beats him over the head with a frying pan. He should be thankful that she didn't burn his bed.

Verdict: A quick, emotional read that is written very well.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
120 pages
I've read this before, back in ninth grade, but I did again this month so that I could teach it at work. I've made my love of Marquez and magical realism known before, so I won't gush anymore. For those of you not familiar with the story, it's all about what happens when you can't keep your legs together before marriage- basically, people die and you end up embroidering all day. The end.

Verdict: It's 120 pages and has magical realism- get on it.

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
224 pages
Yay Junot! I rushed out and bought this the day it came out so that I could start it before I went to his reading a few weeks ago. This is a short story collection that mostly focuses on his reoccurring character, Yunior, and his inability to keep his legs together too (see above). Infidelity, family, and growing up are thematic components that run through each of the equally fantastic stories.

Verdict: You won't regret it.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
288 pages
I snatched this off of Amazon Vine last month and was glad I did. The novel is about Benjamin Benjamin, a man who has lost everything and has turned to caregiving in order to stay afloat. He ends up working with nineteen-year-old Trevor who has MD and has never been able to truly experience much of anything. As the novel progresses we watch their relationships grow and learn more about the tragedy Ben was a part of (it will break your heart). Eventually a road trip brings a new cast of characters that continue to add to the plot.

Verdict: This is definitely not a perfect book; there are some flaws (like the pacing at first). But it pretty solid and is fairly quick; once I got fifty pages in I read it over a weekend.


Top Ten Tuesday- Don't You Forget About Me

This week The Broke and the Bookish ask us for ten "older" books we don't want forgotten. I had a little trouble defining "older," so I'm going with late 19th century to late 20th century oldies. I'm purposefully staying away from traditional classics, for the most part- ones that will inevitably be remembered but will still appear on many lists.

1. Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1987)- Do I really have to explain why?

2. Tobacco Road by Erksine Caldwell (1932)- Do yourself a favor and read some Caldwell ASAP- funniest, smartest shit ever.

3. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (1984)- How have we never talked about how much I adore this book? It makes my heart go soft and mushy. Love it to the max

4. By the Great Horned Spoon by Sid Fleischman (1988)- I forgot about this book until the other day (I think my teacher read it to us in fourth grade) when I told my husband that he was "on the horns of a great dilemma." For some reason I could still remember that it was from this book and that I loved it. So maybe I'm actually the one that should remember it...

5. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1932-1943)- What's with all the kids books? Anyway, I love Laura. I love the prairie. I love that stupid bitch-face Nelly. Please don't forget about these books, technologically advanced future and that builds high rises apartments over the prairies.

6. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)- We must never forget our roots.

7. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (1966)- Odd choice, I know. First of all, I've never read it (but do want to) and know Susann is definitely not a great writer. But I think the fact that she was ahead of her time and the ties it has to the feminist movement makes it worth a look. People are so swept up in the current kinky porno novel of the month and they forget about the fact that the genre has been around for awhile.

8. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (1985)- I think this book is actually slowly being forgotten- Westerns aren't exactly a leading genre right now. But the writing and the story deserve to be remembered.

9. A Prayer for Own Meany by John Irving (1989)- I've been listening to this on Audible lately (I read it many years ago), so this really is a proximity/nostalgia add. That little Owen and all thematic ties he embodies. 

10.  The Joy of Cooking (1936-)- I love blogs for recipes and utilize the internet constantly for my cooking needs, but there is still something to be said about having an actual cookbook, covered in crusty dried food, on out the counter.