Monday, July 28, 2008

just a couple of days

Here is a short list of fictional books that made my brain orgasm and rattle my skull; books that wove a tight, gripping narrative with a philosophy or cosmology so compelling I decided there should be entire college courses devoted to these books:
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  • 1984, George Orwell (OK, there probably are, at groovier universities, classes in these first two.)
  • The Sparrow/Children of God, Mary Doria Russell
  • The Illuminatus Trilogy, Robert Anton Wilson
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
  • Tex & Molly in the Afterlife, Richard Grant
  • The Time-Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffeneger
  • Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy
  • Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk
  • Just a Couple of Days, Tony Vigorito (it is a hellish frames site, but ignore it and go anyway because the author is charming to an extent way beyond his big green eyes which, honestly, are just too lovely not to crush on for a second.)
Those are in random, as-they-popped-into-my-head order, but Just a Couple of Days is fresh and raw and warm in my mind, which is reeling on twenty three or so levels of meta just utterly geeking out on the fabulosity of the verbage and the kickass WIN of the plot. Also, I am giddy with anticipation as I've just ordered free ('cept for $0.75 for shipping) bumper stickers with slogans from the story. Finally, Goldie will begin her sticker collection!

I'm thinking quite seriously about rereading this immediately without passing in on to Bu, with a pencil in hand to circle the choicy words that flew right above my vocabulary so I can pursue their definitions- also because now that I know the story I can slow down and savor the language of it. I Can. Not. Slow. Down. when I'm sucked into a great book, and consequently my recall will be about 30% this time next week.

It's difficult to avoid spoilers (and I really want you to read this book) but the language is so perfectly used to enhance the concept of the book I kind of want to scream and rant and cry and jump up and down with former-lit-major happiness. On the first two or three pages I was thinking that it was so clever and sexy, all the tangles of alliteration and rhyming and punning, but that it made for such a dense read I'd never fall into the story but by the time that thought condensed into its own form I was transfixed by the narrative.

I will also say that the use of second person and self-references to the text are done in a direct enough way to make me come in my brain- again! because I love that- but also not enough to remove the reader from the story. I need a thesaurus: plot, story, narrative- what else!?

Also, all the best books have apples.

5 comments:

  1. dude I'm so glad you like the book! I kind of want to read it again now! Awesome!

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  2. Ian totally mail it back to you... after I reread it! *grin*

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  3. ha, i was actually going to use the sparrow/ children of god in my master's thesis! (on jewish identity in sci-fi/ fantasy... also was using lions of al-rassan and an anne rice book and probably a dan simmons book, but i never got @ to reading that one b4 i dropped out!

    you'd be surprised what gets taught in uni lit classes! and in creative writing, profs get even more far out! i "TA"d for my poetry mentor's book and film class one semester, and watched a shitload of brilliant movies that had started off as books! she was going to add LotR, but it wasn't out on dvd at the time...

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  4. DID YOU SAY "THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE"?!?!?! I love, love, love it. I've read it three times and my friend Martha has read it four.

    The Handmaid's Tale was spectacular but mesmerizing but the crap out of me.

    Other shorter, fairly simple books I think could go the entire college semester in discussion and analysis: To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm. I adore Atticus Finch.

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