Today's Categories. Two non-romance

Mapletree is coming up with the list of best books ever--at least in the last 25 years

I can't do it. I think I can come up with the worst ever, thanks to the bitches. (My votes were Bridges of Madison County and Atlas Shrugs. God, I hated BoMC. LOATHED it. I wonder if I reread it all these years later I still would.)

But the best ever--I can't seem to manage it. I can only come up with lots of categories and plenty of leaders in them.

I keep coming back to Perfume. You'd think I haven't read any other book, I talk about it so often, so I guess this one wins. I've actually read a bunch of books that set out to be scary and usually end up kinda gross (The Closer for instance). The Silence of the Lambs didn't keep me awake. And I laughed at that Hannibal book (it was read aloud on tape). I've read a bunch of Stephen King, and he succeeds. As my son said--too late for both of us--don't read his stuff while on vacation in Maine. But for some reason Perfume is stuck in my brain. Maybe because most of the books I've read are mainstreamy mass-markety and that one was slightly literary? Or maybe because it was flat out creeeeeepy.

There's no getting around the fact that any non-fiction about ebola virus, genocide or extremist politics is far worse (or better, depending on your POV) than fiction for scary.

For the last few years I've mostly read romance. I suppose I should stick to that?
Yes, but first. . .One more non-romance category:

Academic Funny Fiction.
People keep giving my husband the professor books about life in academia. There are some good books out there. Makes sense--writers hang out at universities. It's a strange world and fun to describe.

Two of my favorites are Moo by Jane Smiley and a book called The Big U by Stephenson. I think the winner for this group has to be Lucky Jim though. Moo is a close second. Oh, wait! It has to be written within the last 25 years?
Moo wins! The crowd goes wild!

Tomorrow: Regency. It was supposed to be underappreciated authors, but I couldn't think of any new names. Honestly I better start reading all of these lists other people keep making. Add to mine, too, please.


  1. ROFLMAO! I just bitched about TBoMC over on Dee's blog (think that was the one). - hehehe


  2. For books about academic life I strongly recommend Changing Places by David Lodge, and a sort of sequel, Small World. Malcolm Bradbury's Rates of Exchange is also good. These are british authors, so have a bit of a British flavour, although Changing Places is about a swap between an academic from the University of Rummidge (basically Birmingham (the original one, not the one in Alabama) and Euphoria State (basically Berkeley).

  3. yeah, I've read David Lodge (we have Therapy on tape--reads aloud beautifully) I like his books enough to get them from the library but not buy them. I'm not sure why I don't love him. Maybe because he does something like Evelyn Waugh but not as well?

    Actually I should not critique Changing Places since I can't remember anything it except the moment when both professors are in the sky--one flying to England the other to California.

  4. oh.

    The airplane bit I remember is from the back cover. It really has been a long time. . .I recall that Zapp, the California prof, was wonderfully obnoxious.

  5. I tend to forget the books I hated, and the ones I love line my shelves.
    The ones I hate line my dustbin.
    I'm also getting pickier as I get older.

  6. Well if your husband hasn't read it, I laugh out loud (many many times) when I read Straight Man, by Richard Russo. It's hee-larious.

  7. Perfume is an amazing book - breathtakingly original, in idea and execution, and brilliantly written. A fantastic example of writing an evil character, too - so deep in his POS (Point of Smell) that as a reader I understood what drove him to pursue his goal (even while it creeped me out...)

    I can understand why some people think it's way too creepy to read, and I (an ardent pacifist and non-violent person) would normally steer a thousand miles clear of any book getting into the head of a murderer, but this book was so well conceptualised and written that I'd read it again. I think the reason why it's so disturbing to some is because it is so well done.

    I think it's the only book with the focus on a murderer/villain that I've read more than 3 pages of.


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