Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Forever 15

So Jeri was tagged with a meme – “Forever 15” – in which she was asked to list 15 books that will stay with her forever. She had 15 minutes to come up with the list.

So I gave it a try. I know there are other books that should be on here, but these are the first 15 that sprang to mind.

Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Slaughterhouse-5 – Kurt Vonnegut
Madeleine’s Ghost – Robert Girardi
Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets – David Simon
Songs of Innocence – Richard Aleas (Charles Ardai)
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Chronicles of Prydain (specifically The High King) – Lloyd Alexander
The Razor’s Edge – W. Somerset Maugham
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Sandman – Neil Gaiman & Various Artists
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
The Stand – Stephen King
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck

I’ll take a cure from Jeri and just mention one of them: There’s a scene in The Great Gatsby that kills me every time. If I remember it correctly, Tom Buchanan has just discovered his wife Daisy has been having an affair with Jay Gatsby. Now, Tom’s a creep. He’s been carrying on his own affair with another woman, and if I recall correctly, even blackened Daisy’s eye at one point in the book. There is nothing to like about Tom.

And yet, as Gatsby urges Daisy to tell Tom she never loved him, try as I might, I always feel sorry for him. He’s so wounded, so crushed. He asks Daisy about a specific moment of tenderness between them; I can’t remember what it is, but he asks, “Surely you loved me then?”

And when he asks that, so afraid of the answer he’ll get, I feel this great wellspring of pity for the man. He gets what he deserves, but it gives me no joy to see it. In fact, it may be one of the saddest things I’ll ever read.

(Needless to say -- though I've gone ahead and edited the post to say it anyway -- if you feel like sharing your own list, feel free to post in the comments.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've got a theme working here like I do!