Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | June 6, 2009

Fifteen Books

BookShelf

As y’all have probably deciphered by now, I’m kind of a chain-letter slut.

Every time one of these chain-lettery things (apparently called “memes” on the east coast) comes around, I find myself compelled to waste my time filling them out. As such, I’ve got an entire tag listing dedicated to my inability to pass these things up.

So without any further adieu here is the current “Meme-of-the-Moment” making its way around Facebook and the interwebs as a whole…

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FIFTEEN BOOKS

Choose fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you, be it positively or negatively. 

Don’t take too long to think about it and overanalyze. Just choose the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Copy the instructions into your own note, send it along to how ever many people you like, and be sure to tag the person who tagged you.

These are not in any particular order.

01) “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss

-I don’t know why, but every time I read this it gets me in a weird mood and I want to completely re-evaluate what I’m doing with my life…but always for the better. It is surprising inspirational. That Seuss guy knew what he was doing.

02) “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

-To this day Grace still jokes that “Animal Farm” is the only real book I’ve ever read and that’s why I always rant and rave about it…or at least I think she’s joking?! Anyway…I always like to see it’s because I like pigs, but in reality I’ve always found the writing to be absolutely top-notch and that’s why this is one of the only books I’ve ever read more than half-a-dozen times.

03) “Road to Cooperstown” by Tom Stanton

-Tom Stanton—who in addition to being a great guy and a proud Tigers fan—could have been responsible for a big chunk of this list all by himself, but I tried to limit each author to one spot on the list. Stanton’s relationship with his father is deeply-rooted in a mutual love for baseball and I can’t help but see some serious parallels between both myself and Stanton. Plus he’s a gorgeous writer who paints the sleepy town of Copperstown, New York, in a more brilliant light than any photographer or artist could ever do.

04) “Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold

-I was skeptical when someone (read: everyone in my senior year creative writing classes) suggested I give this book a read. In my closed lil mind I couldn’t help but think that a book about a young girl getting raped and murdered wouldn’t resonate with me, but I was completely wrong. The book merely uses those events as a jumping off point to show the way a family can completely unravel under the most dire of circumstances. A great read that left a big pit in my stomach when it ended—but in the good way.

05) “Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball’s Lunatic Fringe” by Sam Walker

-This is the first major release written about fantasy baseball and as a noted fantasy baseball addict, I tore through this book in like eight hours or something. I’ve since purchased a copy for nearly every member of my fantasy baseball league (or at least those who actually read) and I’ve read it a handful of times myself. Great book that shows how such a simple game can really take a toll on a person and the ripple effect it can have on their love for the real game of baseball.

06) “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” by Chuck Klosterman

-They always say your first-time is the most special and with Klosterman that is definitely the case. My best friend, Johnny, suggested this book for me and purchased me a surprise copy for my birthday, needless to say…I was pretty stoked. I plowed through this book in just a few days, eating up every page like it was cooked up just for me. Klosterman is one of the first author’s I’ve encountered who put together a work that was timely, funny, poignant and simply awesome. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the rest of his work has struggled to reach the same level of awesomeness in my mind, although good…it just can’t quite recreate the feeling I got from “SD&CP.”

07) “Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time” by Rob Sheffield

-In the same mindset as Klosterman…one of his contemporaries, Rob Sheffield, takes his own stab at modern pop culture and music weaved into a beautiful tale about life, love and death. This one was recommended for me by the ever-elegant Ms. Bethanie Edwards Pinkus, and being one to always trust the opinion of pretty ladies, I immediately ordered a copy. It took one round trip flight from Boston to Minneapolis to polish off this book and left me wanting to create mixed CDs for Grace by the dozens.

08) “The Tender Bar” by J. R. Moehringer

-A great read about a kid who grew up poor and without a father. As such, he received the vast majority of his “man-learnin’” from his uncle and a group of guys at the local pub who eventually took him in as one of their own. The book focuses both on his need for a relationship with the many father-figures in his life and his own battles to avoid becoming just like his real father. The focus on relationships throughout the book is top-notch and the writing makes you want a beer, a reading lamp and a free weekend with “The Tender Bar.”

09) “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir” by Bill Bryson

-Bill Bryson is Iowa. Period. This book captures the heart and soul of small-town Iowa in a way that very, very few authors have been able to do. WP Kinsella has done it, but always with a more mystical quality. Bryson’s Iowa is real, raw and without any polish…just the way I’ll always remember it. If you want an idea of where I’m from…even though it’s about a half-century ahead of my time…give this book a gander.

10) “Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett

-I recall wanting to vomit when I heard we were going to read a book about an opera singer in one of my speech communications classes junior year. By the end of the book, I wanted to vomit because I’d nearly missed out on Patchett’s beautiful writing. The words seemed to take on the harmonic qualities of the characters she’d created and I fell in love the book. Plus when we had to re-enact a scene from the book in front of the class (from memory, mind you) a whole bunch-o-chicks swooned over my performance of a love-scene…can’t beat a good swoon!! ;-)

11) “Heart of a Champion” by Carl Deuker

-Friendship and baseball are on full display in “Heart of a Champion.” I stayed up all-night to plow through this one and found it to be totally worth my zombie-like state the next day.

12) “The Rookies Series” by Mark Freeman

-Once again, this entire series (all meant for young adults) focuses on friendship and baseball. The six books follow three friends as they make their way up the ranks from high school baseball to the pros and eventually the World Series. I read this in Middle School and can’t find them anywhere…for that reason I’ve contemplated going back to my old Middle School and swiping them…is that wrong?!

13) “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” by Tucker Max

-This one has stuck with me because Tucker Max is an awful human being and I hope that I am never even remotely like him. I hope I never have friends who are like him. I hope I never even have to share a zip code with anyone like him. The biggest reason I read this book is because someone had compared my blog to him and I didn’t know what the hell a Tucker Max was, so I read the book…I’ve determined that the person who made that comment should probably find another blog to read…I don’t need your awful comparisons here.

14) “Have a Nice Day” by Mick Foley

-As y’all may have learned by now, I used to be a HUGE wrestling fan. During the big wrestling boom of the late ‘90s many of the popular wrestlers of the day started releasing memoirs about the lives in and out of the ring. Mick Foley was always one of the more compelling men in the business and he proved to be a solid author too. I always felt that we had a lot in common and this book further proved that…you know, except that he gets paid to be thrown off of 20-foot high steel cages and I get paid to shelve library books.

15) “On Writing” by Stephen King

-Senior year of college, I was taking a ton of classes to just round out my schedule. I had tennis, badminton, resume writing and a whole butt-load of creative writing classes. I’d wanted to take creative writing since freshman year, but the were upper-level classes and along the way I got distracted by journalism and speech communication…so by the time senior year rolled around, I finally took a ton of creative writing classes. I knew I enjoyed the writing, but after reading “On Writing” I knew that I wanted to write. Period. What better review can you give a book than that?!

And that, my Faithful Readers, is my fifteen books.

Feel free to post yours in the comments or make any sort of comments regarding my fifteen, I’d love to hear ‘em!!


Responses

  1. I took badminton my senior year too!!

    And, I’m sure I’ve asked you this at least 5 times already… but have you read The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson? If not, you must. It opened my eyes to Iowa and the Midwest in a way that no other book has, or probably ever will. Plus it was hilarious.

    • I believe we have talked about Lost Continent…and I always give you the same sad no.

      …hold on a sec…

      Okay…just requested it from Hayden. It’s in next in my list of books to read right after I finish (surprise, surprise) a book about baseball in the Midwest!!

      :-O shocking!


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