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(Buzzfeed)   32 Books That Will Actually Change Your Life. Yeah, I know, it's BuzzFeed. How many have you read? Bonus: Not a slide show   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Zen and the Art, butterflies  
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1548 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 20 Apr 2014 at 7:29 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2014-04-20 08:09:03 PM  
1 vote:
Some decent books on the list, though, to be fair, I would substitute Jacques Pepin's The Art of Cooking. Julia's book was inspirational, at the time--but those were dark days for American cuisine, and Jacques' approach is accessible, and far better laid out--each recipe builds skill sets, and between both volumes, it is an entire cooking course, as well as a gorgeous reference book. It is the book that I suggest to folks who want to improve their cooking, and Jacques is a brilliant chef, a wonderful educator, and his cuisine has a simplicity to it that builds young chefs' confidence, as well as hobby cooks.

As for It? That is generational, I think. Same as Chuck being on there. There are books that help form a generation, and for mine, It wasn't just a horror story, but if you got to it at the right time--say in your high school years--it did change how you looked at the friendships you formed, how important those folks were to you, and what you would do to keep them--with enough remove from your life to not feel preachy or histrionic.

Books of all sorts can change your life. For me, there was a lot of Heinlein that resonated. Oddly enough, John D. MacDonald did as well. Same for Melville, and Larry Niven. King had his place too, though as I grew older, he got longer winded, and lacked for editors, which was sort of sad. Millward's A Biography of the English Language changed how I looked at language, though it is a textbook, it is frighteningly thorough, and yet inspiring at how English came to be. Gould's, The Mismeasure of Man was likewise eye opening. Whitman broke me from the thought of poetry as being something to be avoided. Then again, so did Ginsberg's Howl. Mill on the Floss and George Elliot was brilliant--even if Heinlein had little thought for it, and I do love me some Heinlein. John Irving's Cider House Rules came at just the right time for me as well.

And that's really the crux of the matter. Banana Yoshimoto I read at the right time. Clive Barker hit at just the right time. Neal Stephenson hit at just the right time. We take what we can from books, as they come. Some resonate more than others. Some we just obsess about, and some...meh. It's about the place we're in, at the time. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I was too young for the first time it came around. I got more the next read through, but even then, it didn't resonate as much as Alan Steele did. Or Twain. Or Burroughs for that matter. Or even King. That doesn't detract from books that have resonated with others, but it has to be about you and your relationship with the printed word. I LOVE Melville. The intro to Moby Dick is absolutely brilliant, with tongue firmly in cheek, with the right amount of wryness, and observation. For me. For others, forced to read it, it can be a dull plod, because it's forced. I absolutely despise Catcher in the Rye, and while I've tried to approach it again, without a reading list from a professor, it's still a book that I just don't like. I get why it hit some folks like a ton of bricks, but it absolutely doesn't resonate for me. Vonnegut on the other hand, has enough humor to click. Herbert. Nabokov. They are a toss up, because at the wrong time in your life, in the wrong mood, their work can just turn you away, and in the right mood, they can draw you in. It is about timing, and great books aren't just great, but they have to be great to you, and that is all about timing, as well as talent.
2014-04-20 07:29:33 PM  
1 vote:
Play It as It Lays is a great book, as is most of Didion's stuff. I take more away from her style of writing than anything else, though.
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