Tuesday, July 17, 2007

spirit etc

My post about The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down reminded me of my shelf of books I wish I'd written. They aren't really books I wish I'd written, because that would have required an extremely large amount of enthusiasm for topics that I really only want to read one book about. But they are the kind of narrative nonfiction I can almost imagine myself someday writing, if I find a long attention span in one of my boxes.

So, on the shelf:

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - (Already discussed).

Seabiscuit - Horses! The author had chronic fatigue syndrome and terrible vertigo the whole time she was writing it. She wrote a New Yorker article about her experience and I had to take several breaks from reading it, I felt so sick for her. This would not be on my list of experiences to have while writing my Great American Work of Narrative Non-Fiction.

The Cult At the End of the World - It's all about Aum Shinrikyou! And Japan! It rocks! In a horrifying way!

In Cold Blood - Totally gripping. Go Capote go.

The Perfect Storm - I haven't seen the movie, but the book, lemme tell ya - you get new appreciation for fishermen and what they do.

The Devil in the White City - For some reason, I associate this book with Grrrbear. I don't know if he told me to read it or if it's just the setting, but, in any case, I'm pretty sure it's not because he's a serial killer.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Because Mary Roach is hilarious. This is less hilarious than some of her magazine articles, and I had to skip much of the cannibalism chapter, but it's still an awesome book. She came to talk to one of my classes once in grad school, and I was like, hi, I want to be you.

Hm. As I study the list, I notice two things: they're mostly about murders, death, and serious illness, and Stiff is the only one about science. So does this mean my book should be about murder? Because that stuff makes me really uncomfortable. I think it's more likely my book will be about...uh...I have no idea. At one point it was going to be about hot air ballooning, but that's been about three years and has gone nowhere.

What's your book going to be about - or if you don't have a topic, what genre?


grrrbear said...

I probably recommended it, I've pushed that book on all my friends for years now. My own copy has been in the posession of the GF for so long now that she may actually believe it's hers. I don't mind really, it's so beat up by this point that I'd probably be better off buying a new copy.

My book will be the unauthorized book #8 in the Harry Potter series, where he moves into an entry-level job at the Ministry of Magic and sits in a cube shuffling papers all day. Sort of a mashup of Harry Potter and The Office, it'll make me a bejillionaire.

towwas said...

Awesome. Can I come hang out in your bajillionaire mansion?

Coloradan said...

Oooh, In Cold Blood. Ah, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

My book idea is to track the genesis of the World Wide Web. There were no murders involved (that I know of), but I understand there was quite a bit of nastiness.

J.Po said...

Devil in the White City is SO SO good! I practically lost my job because I couldn't stop reading (okay, that's an exaggeration).

I would add to the list "Fast Food Nation" and others, which I can't remember right now.

J.Po said...

...although FFN doesn't really fall into the category of books you're talking about. Whatev.

towwas said...

Yeah, since I've never read Fast Food Nation, it's not in the category of nonfiction books I wish I'd written. :) But perhaps I should consider it.

Al said...

I just thought I would mention that my book club was supposed to read Stiff and not one person could get through it, I had nightmares every night until I stopped. I agree it's well researched and written but man, does that take a strong stomach! OR something. I'm impressed.
And I am happy reading everyone elses books. Look forward to yours, grrrbear.
PS already on my second name....

David J said...

I liked "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer, mostly because it confirmed what I learned after living in Utah for 3 years, namely, that they are all freaks.

I also just read "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader," which is all about the Kim (Il Sung and Jong Il) dynasty in North Korea. Totally gripping, fascinating, and they are even freakier than the polygamist Utahans.

I'm totally going to go out and read "Devil in the White City," that sounds awesome.

towwas said...

Ooh, yeah, Dahvay, Under the Banner of Heaven is a good one! Also Into Thin Air. I should probably read that dude's other books, because those two are great.