Holy Cow!

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful book recommendations! Needless to say, I am overwhelmed. I've decided to finish Homage to Catalonia before beginning anything else, but I certainly have a lot to choose from.

Thought you might be interested in this list: books that will induce a mindf***. Despite its vulgar heading, I think it kind of captures what I was looking for - something that will, well, blow one's f***ing mind if you will. I would say I've read 1/5 of the books and authors on that list. I strongly agree with many of the recommendations there, but I was surprised at some left off. Since I owe *you* some recommendations now, here are some mind-blowing reads that were (a) not on that list and (b) not (I think) recommended by you guys:

The Art Lover by Carole Maso
The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
"The Dead" from Dubliners by James Joyce
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
Tristam Shandy by Laurence Sterne
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
News from Nowhere by William Morris
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

(In no particular order) Surely I left some off - I'll probably add more as they come to me. I wonder what you think of my taste in literature ;-) Anyway, now you have about 200 book recommendations to choose from!

Posted by jess at March 22, 2007 8:09 AM | TrackBack

I, too, love Octavia Butler. Good choice!

Posted by: Ingrid at March 22, 2007 9:34 AM

Ahh the Feast of Love!! Thanks for reminding me of it. Must get it off the shelves for a re-read! :-)

Posted by: margaux at March 22, 2007 9:48 AM

I LOVED Feast of Love and Midnight's Children -- really almost anything by Rushdie. The Ground Beneath Her Feet was fabulous as well, though not necessarily a mindf*** book. :) Thanks for the recommendations!

Posted by: Nicole at March 22, 2007 10:02 AM

I love The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Actually I love anything written by Milan Kundera.

Posted by: Kaitie Tee at March 22, 2007 10:06 AM

What a fantastic list we've all got with your little question! I definately know what to do with my spare time now - I may even need to teach myself how to knit and read at the same time :)

I still think that some are missing though...

Paul Auster; esp. Mr vertigo (his books are first published in scandinavia although he's from Brooklyn)

Siri Hustvedt; What I loved (She's Paul Austers wife but her style is very different)

and I second "Ender's game" from the mindf*** list. I read it in my mid teens and i still think about it.

greetings from Denmark

Posted by: Lene at March 22, 2007 10:09 AM

I recommended The Dispossessed! ;) I love Ursula LeGuin...her short stories are good too, and I especially recommend A Wizard of Earthsea.

Posted by: Julia at March 22, 2007 11:40 AM

Between your mindf#$% link and this list of the most challenged books I should have enough to read for years.

Posted by: wanett at March 22, 2007 11:57 AM

Thank you!

Posted by: doulicia at March 22, 2007 12:40 PM

stop it right now! I am practically buried under hundreds of books in my apartment as I try to make space for baby bjorns and whatnot and now you're giving me reason to go out and buy more??

Posted by: MeBeth at March 22, 2007 1:34 PM

I'm currently teaching my students Marge Piercy's _He, She, and It_, and I can recommend that, too.

Posted by: Specs at March 22, 2007 2:39 PM

I tried to read Midnight's Children last year. I forced myself to get to about two-thirds of the way though then just gave up.

Posted by: Anushka at March 22, 2007 3:42 PM

OMG, Tristram Shandy, what a nightmare! I thought I was so smart in college until I got to that one in my 18th c. fiction class. I still have nightmares!

The recent film version was so brill, though, I thought I might try again now that I am older/wiser, supposedly.

Posted by: Sarah at March 22, 2007 6:15 PM

Pedagogy of the Oppressed is unfreakingbelievable. It's not a novel though, which is what I had assumed you were looking for. Very Rage Against the Machine!

Thanks for a great list!

Posted by: Leyna Faye at March 22, 2007 7:33 PM

Agree with Tristram Shandy absolutley.
Not so much with the nightmare aspect, but that it's a great read!

Posted by: Carson at March 22, 2007 8:32 PM

Oops, I missed the call for recomendations - here are two late ones:

Seven Types of Ambiguity by Eliot Perlman

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell

Both contemporary novels - great books.

Posted by: Emily S. at March 22, 2007 8:56 PM

GEEK LOVE. Did anyone mention that one? Cheers

Posted by: katie at March 22, 2007 9:13 PM

jess!! hi! i loved loved loved lorrie moore when i was in college - i was oddly obsessed with anagrams. i haven't read it in years... and birds of america is one of the few of hers i haven't read... interesting.

i read geek love about 10 years ago and i was alternately enthralled and enraged by it. i think that even though i didn't enjoy the experience, it evoked such a strong reaction in me that i admire it nonetheless.

(i moved to wash., dc and may be up in ny for memorial day for a 30th b-day/yarn crawl - i'll let you know!)

Posted by: heatherfeather at March 22, 2007 9:55 PM

I love that list. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: schrodinger at March 22, 2007 11:49 PM

thanks for the recommendations! i love the book of laughter and forgetting so much. it reminds me of a very particular time in my life, eyes wide open to new possibilities, hopeful.

Posted by: amisha at March 23, 2007 8:49 AM

Oh, The Dispossessed and Midnight's Children are two of my favourites. Also anything by Umberto Eco. You have great taste in literature!

Posted by: earthday at March 23, 2007 12:35 PM

Ah, very good.

What about these:
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (HIGHLY recommended)

Posted by: Steph at March 23, 2007 2:02 PM

That's so funny--I didn't suggest any books, but YOUR list contains 6 of my favs that came to mind: Kundera, Joyce, Baxter, Stern, Rushdie, and Morris. Clearly I was an english major.

Posted by: femiknitter at March 23, 2007 4:21 PM

Good list, I just finished Midnights Children and it's a great read. Thanks for the recommendations!

Posted by: lisa at March 23, 2007 4:37 PM

Woman on the Edge of Time- what a great book - and I forgot all about it. I may just have to reread that one.

Posted by: nina at March 24, 2007 1:43 PM

I feel overwhelmed! I had hoped you would supply your own list. Thanks! We need a literature blog linked to your blog. Get busy!

Posted by: Deborah at March 24, 2007 2:08 PM

How do you post the percentage bars on your WIPs?

Posted by: knitting harvest at March 25, 2007 8:27 PM

I had the good fortune of conversing with Charles Baxter about his book, and his insight and endearing manner made the novel even better. He's really invested in the characters he creates.

Love your blog!

Posted by: veronica at March 25, 2007 10:00 PM

I am late with recommendations, but I wanted to add two nonfiction books I still think about that haven't been mentioned:

War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges

A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman

(Also delurking - love your site, and am terribly jealous that you are in nyc, I miss it quite a bit.)

Posted by: Robin at March 27, 2007 6:00 AM

The Little Girl who Loved Matches too Much...
Gaetan Soucy
It is incredibly mind f****ing!

Posted by: Callie at March 29, 2007 8:16 PM

No one has mentioned Dostoevsky! The Brothers K, and The Idiot, definitely, and anything else once you finish these two. I have been reading Roald Dahl to my daughter, and the depth for children's books is wondrous.

Great question -- I've culled lots of ideas for my list.


Posted by: rosesmam at April 7, 2007 8:06 AM

Oh, I forgot Awakened By the Moon, a biography of Margaret Wise Brown, the children's author. She was not what you'd think a children's book writer would be, and it gives a fascinating look at the literary world of the 40's in New York.

Posted by: rosesmama at April 7, 2007 8:11 AM

Oh, and Ben Okri, especially The Famished Road.


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