Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If you got a Kindle/iPad/Nook: Ebook suggestions, Part 1

You all know how to find The Catcher in the Rye* and Freedom, so I'm suggesting some wonderful books you might not have heard of.

I checked them all out, and they're all available on Kindle, so presumably most are in the other formats, too. The links are to Amazon Kindle.

Ideas: David Eagleman's Sum: 40 Tales from the Afterlives. $8.59. Here's part of what I wrote for Salon last year: I loved the idea of "Sum: 40 Tales from the Afterlives," but did I actually want to slog through 40 of them? How many novel conceptions of the afterlife are there? Wouldn’t this be about 35 too many? No, actually. David Eagleman has got a million of them.

Anthropology: The Interpretation Of Cultures by Clifford Geertz. $14.30. This is a classic, which changed the way I think about humans. (And you know one of my titles for myself is "pretend anthropologist," so I must know.)

Writers: The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner. $9.99. THE classic. Just revised this fall. I was so impressed ten years ago that I hounded her to be my agent. She said yes. (But she won the National Book Award with Patti Smith.)
Kids: NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. $11.99. Everyone with a kid should read it. And everyone who was a kid and wants to understand how they got this way.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. $10.99. I imagine you've heard of this, but it's even better than you've heard. This is the most flawless book I have ever read. It's not my favorite—that's a tie between Speak, Memory and Catcher in the Rye—but it's in my top ten. This book is masterful in its economy. I could not find one extra sentence—and I started looking. Not one extra word. Nurse Ratched comes completely to life on the first page she's introduced. Every writer should study this. Every reader should enjoy it. And what a story. It's one hell of a ride.

Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins. This was once my all-time favorite book. It's deeply philosophical about life, religion and reality, in the midst of a wildly fun romp, where some of the main characters include a fork, a spoon and an old can of beans who annoys the hell out of everyone.

There is also a book about Columbine that I hear is really good. Haha. (It's $9.99.) If you're reading this, you probably already have it. (But you could still recommend it to someone who got one.)

I was/am working on a longer list, but the holidays got away from me, and then the blizzard sucked up the last few days—half of it on the phone to American Airlines. So I'm posting these to start, with more coming later.

Looking through my list of all-time favorites, I was shocked to discover that most are not available on Kindle yet. Here are some incredible reads that the publishers and/or estates need to get a move on:

To Kill A Mockingbird. If you have never read it, it's even better than they say. And if you read it in high school, you will see it a whole new way.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Wearing Dad's Head by Barry Yourgrau

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles 

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson 

* And The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, which I mentioned up top is not actually available in ebook yet. Come on, guys. 


  1. Anything by Irving is good, "World According to Garp". Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience", Lao Tzu - "The Tao Te Ching"

    I canNOT recommend Dave's book highly enough if anyone stumbles on here and has not yet read it.

  2. Caroline in BaltimoreDecember 29, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children is on my to-read list, but I think I will have to read it sooner rather than later. Thanks for the great suggestions.