Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The George Meme

Or, The Ten Most Influential Books I've Read.

In no particular order they are:

1. Doctor Dan the Bandage Man. The first book I recall owning. The Band Aids in the back made me want to cut myself just so I could use them.

2. The Catcher in the Rye. I identified with the kid who was out of step with the world. Still do.

3. The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I may have the title wrong, but once I read one story I had to read them all.

4. I. the Jury. I was just the right age to appreciate the sex and violence and I always found Hammer's over-the-top emotions amusing in a strange way.

5. Fanny Hill. This combination of Victorian prose and blatant sex made me wish I'd been born a century sooner and a lot richer.

6. Slaughterhouse Five. Which started me on a tear through Vonnegut's work, which I like a lot.

7. Farewell, My Lovely. My first Chandler. I still consider him the best.

8. Son of the Morning Star. The first detailed and balanced biography of George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn I read.

9. Babbitt. Love the zip, zing, and zowee.

10. The Pictorial History of World War II. A four-volume set we had at home when I was a kid, covering the war in stark detail.

I'm not counting comics, though if I did the first Spider-Man would be the one. I left out fantasy and science fiction, too. I was much impressed with Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlien. If I had to choose a Western it would be Shane or True Grit, but I read them too late in life to really call them influential. The illustration that accompanies this post is what is known as gratuitous.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Catcher in the Rye-should have had that one.

Evan Lewis said...

Well, I've read six of yours, which is more than I've read of anyone elses' (so far). You must have good taste.

James Reasoner said...

I've read four of them: The Catcher in the Rye, the Holmes stories, the Spillane, and the Chandler. I'm one of those oddballs who like the Holmes novels more than the short stories. I still remember the shiver that ran through me when I was sitting on the front porch reading the Scholastic edition of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES and came to the last line of the first chapter (I believe). The one that starts "They were the footprints, Mr. Holmes . . ."

George said...

Love the gratuitous picture, Bob! I sometimes resort to using them to hold Stilwell's interest. I read Vonnegut early, too. And Doyle. Somehow, I didn't read I, THE JURY until I joined DAPA-EM. Then I read all of Spillane. Chandler can write rings around most writers.