Our List of Brilliantly-written Books
Ultimate Ink: Books
"What really knocks me out is a book that,
when you're all done reading it, you wish
author that wrote it was a terrific friend of
and you could call him up on the phone
you felt like it."
-- Holden Caulfield
(Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger)
Good writers are usually good readers. That is, they can't imagine the week going by without delving into a book or two. Newspapers and magazines, too, can provide info and sometimes inspiration. A poem, an essay. The back of the cereal box at breakfast. It is all fodder for the reader-writer. But, above all, books. Here are a few writers and some of their works which have inspired, moved or just plain wowed one or more of us here at TFG. These are books we buy for friends.We guarantee you'll find something here that will make your heart beat faster.
Goldberg, Natalie. Wild Mind. We like it even better than her classic, Writing Down the Bones.
McPhee, John. Anything by him. Pieces of the Frame. Coming into the Country. If you like Nature or nature writing, he's your man.
Ackerman, Barbara. If McPhee is the Man, Ackerman is the Woman. A Natural History of the Senses is simply one of the best books of essays ever written on a "scientific" topic. Her other ones are equally accomplished.
Sokolov, Raymond. Native Intelligence. An out of print novel by the current arts editor of The Wall Street Journal. Scour your local second hand bookstores for it. Witty, clever, invents its own language. Sokolov is an accomplished food writer and biographer of A.J. Liebling...anything he writes is sure to be painstakingly researched and enjoyable to read.
Nelson, Ted. Literary Machines. From the guy who conjured up the idea of "hypertext" 30 years ago. He lays it out here. Thought-provoking.
Nordan, Lewis. Music of the Swamp. A sweet, heart-breaking novel. You will never forget Sugar Mecklin. And look for a new re-issue of LN's earlier Sugar stories.
Lightman, Alan. Einstein's Dreams. A fiction set in Bern when and where Albert was working in the Swiss Patent Office. Lightman teaches both writing and physics at MIT.
Baker, Nicholson. The Mezzanine. Baker is better known for his later work, Vox, but this small novel is the real gem among his admirable, enjoyable books.
Grudin, Robert. The Grace of Great Things. One of Grudin's books of essays and insights. Try them all. An elegant thinker and writer.
Capra, Fritjof. The Turning Point. The Tao of Physics. What is it with these physicists who can write so compellingly and luminously? Hardly seems fair that they can do both art and science when most of us struggle with the one.
Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. It is, quite simply, a hoot. Clever and keenly observant. Above all, fun to read. From the guy who labeled Gen X.
Leibowitz, Fran. Social Studies. Metropolitan Life. OK, so she's been dining out on these books for decades. So what. If you like cranky, urban humor, read Fran. (Warning: If you are an ex-smoker, you might want to have some Nicorette handy.)