But today has been a crap-shack all the way around and if I started talking about the slush I wouldn't have anything even approaching nice to say. So positive thinking's a thing, right?
So, in the full understanding of how much I'm about to alienate half the world, here is my list of the 5 best books ever written. It'll be broad, some of them might not actually count as books. They aren't in order because I sat here for five minutes trying to figure out which was #1. You are warned.
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guys. I can't even. My obsession with this book is about the closest to actual obsession I ever get. Someone suggested it to me when I was sixteen and my high school creative writing class was going to meet Cormier and we were supposed to read like six of his books. The best thing I can say about it is that it's almost as strange as American Gods without actually being that weird. It's been *cough cough* years since I read it the first time and I still love it, it still fires my imagination in the same way it always has. It makes the list because even more than anything else, Fade is my mental landscape for life in the late 1930's. It's beautifully crafted (which is not usually a think I pick as favorite) and sometimes creepy and often really freaking inappropriate.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Okay, so I have to preface this with the fact that I've read Pride and Prejudice about four times for every one I've read Jane Eyre. And much as I love me some Austen, she's not on this list. If I listed all the things I deeply, deeply love about Jane Eyre it'd take forever. I'll contain myself to the biggest one. By the tenants of little-r romance (to borrow a phrase from John Green) This book should have been simple and sweet. Unattractive girl with no prospects meets Gentleman of Fortune and Property, he sweeps her off her feet, we're done. Elizabeth Darcy is fiery and passionate and I love her, but I want to be Jane Eyre. I want her internal compass, even when she's maybe not the smartest character ever portrayed.
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee
Everyone in Freshman English utterly hated this. It was dry and tired, and about crap that happened forever ago, and everybody already knew evolution was a thing, right? Some of you will be remembering right now that I grew up in Kansas and thinking about that statement in light of like...anything from the news involving Kansas and Schools. I probably don't have to explain why this is on the list. The short version is the quiet message I got from this about the evils of zealous, blind belief in pretty much anything. Also, I might be prejudiced because they snuck this in on us the year before we started biology and we voted on which creation/earth-origin stories we wanted to spend the most time on. Yes, you read that right.
A Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
This is about like Fade. It's grossly inappropriate, and strange, and I love it with every ounce of my tiny, black heart. Also, this is on the list because it takes talent to make me utterly hate everyone in a book, and still keep reading it. The way Rowling strings you along, hoping certain people will get their just desserts, and constantly manages to make you like/dislike/like characters is genius and almost emotionally exhausting.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I have to admit I could only do this one once, and I read it forever ago. I suppose it gets on the list just because I can still, very clearly, remember a specific scene (not one of the bad ones) clear as crystal, and sometimes it sneaks up on me on hot summer days. There's an unutterable power to Angelou's writing I sincerely hope I master before I kick off.
So there's my list. Come back Friday where I'll manage to pull something out of the ether. And hey, check out my new book Lost and Found if creatures of the night/dysfunctional monster hunters are your thing.