Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top 13 Testic Lit Reads of Summer 2008


I apologize for the delay in revealing the Summer 2008 Testic Lit List, but with good friends in town and a busy work schedule, it got pushed to the side. Besides, I couldn’t possibly rush something as significant as what will most likely be the first in a long series of incredibly famous lists.

The Summer 2008 Testic Lit List came to fruition from the following sources: diligent research, anecdotal recommendations from friends and colleagues, suggestions gleaned from thousands of comments left by loyal readers, and some interesting books I saw on the train ride to work this morning. Some stories have recently appeared while most are/should be classics.

Without further ado, here are the Top 13 Testic Lit Reads of Summer 2008 in no particular order. So dig that library card out of that shoebox in the closet and git runnin. These selections are sure to gently stimulate your giant intellect for the rest of the summer.

T.C. Boyle, Tortilla Curtain
You don’t get anymore testicular when you can summarize a story with the words tortilla, environmental destruction, and xenophobia.

Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
A story about a brother raising his younger after the death of their parents. Dave is a Chicago native and the novel (Creative nonfiction? Memoir?) is praised for its wild and manic-depressive tone. Thanks Nyberg.

George Saunders, Civilwarland in Bad Decline
Six short stories and a novella. Smart satire for the summer; about the ridiculousness of the modern world. Per DNALand

Jonah Lehrer, Proust Was a Neuroscientist
This is an easy-to-follow book about how eight artists who were tortoises to the hares of science. If you don’t mind your eyes being opened to the world of literature, food, and a little history, this is a must-read. You will appear incredibly intelligent and sexy to anyone you’re trying to bag.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Honestly, I’ve started and stopped this book three times. Not because it’s unworthy, but because I’ve never been man enough to handle the rambunctious journey. Maybe 2008 is the year? Per White Collar Redneck

Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
Meet ice-nine, a compound that turns liquid water into solid. It’s got science, religion, and the end of the world. Everything a growing boy needs.

Anthony Doerr, The Hunter’s Wife
This is a short story that, after finishing, kept me still for three train stops because I was so struck by its words. Not for the vegetarians.

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
This borders on chic lit only in its title. In fact, this meandering tale theorizes why humans began to stand upright, comments on the irony of gyms, and is a great story about pilgrimage. Perfect substitute for an actual walk.

Isaac Asimov, The Last Question
A very short story that answers all your questions about the future and God. Hint: He does not have a long, white beard.

Evolution’s Workshop: God and Science on the Galapagos Islands
A personal favorite due to my obsession with this island chain. Features pirates, rats, and delicious tortoises whose meat keeps for months!

David McCullough, 1776
A militarized (and very popular) account of the American Revolution. The rebellion was bred into us.

Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray
Completely haunting. I read it frequently. Then stab myself.

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Say what you want about Rand or her philosophies, but this has sex, trains, and perpetual motion engines. Read this last, as its 645,000 words will surely take you until my next list is released.

BONUS:
Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma
DNALand lent it to me at the bar last night. C'mon, anything involving food...

30 comments:

Aaron said...

Nice list.

Every time I think about Ayn Rand I remember a NYT article about her relationship to, a then young, Alan Greenspan. Apparently they ran in the same intellectual circle from the 60's until her death in '82.

"As for an objective reality apart from consciousness — in this age of spin, the less said about that, the better. Greenspan ultimately concluded that these basic issues didn’t actually have to be settled before breakfast in order to make it through the day. Democracy implies disagreement, and compromise on public issues is the price of civilization, not an abrogation of principle.” He credits Rand with broadening his outlook and making him more tolerant of new ideas — not qualities she is often associated with."

Cool, I'm with it. But, here is the part that has stuck with me...or should I say haunted me from the article.

"Rand’s inner circle was a cauldron of politics and sex, but Greenspan (he says) participated only in the former."

Sick.

Stef said...

Great list. I'm not sure what it says about me, but I prefer testiclit to chiclit any day.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all-time faves as well. And don't even get me started on "The Importance of Being Ernest"

kevingnyberg said...

You're still going to read "Y". But these do sound really good. I'm a bit surprised there's no Pahluniak ("Fight Club" and others), but I actually didn't get very far in his book "Choke" before I got bored.

Keller said...

Damnit, too late but I was going to suggest Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club ...very manly.

Ashleigh Garrett Long said...

ummmm, i wish i was an avid reader...i MAY have read 10 books in my lifetime..i am slowly opening my eyes to the world of lit..i need a new read asap, so i may take a suggestion from you. however, anna has excellent book tastes, and she is now reading "another bullshit night in suck city" by nick flynn...sounds promising, huh?

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