Books That Make My Brain Melt (In a Good Way)

shelved under Bloggers' Picks

Every once in a while, a book comes along that makes me feel as though my brain is oozing out of my skull. It could be because of a novel’s scope, or how much information I get from it. Far from this being some weird science fiction horror, it’s a good feeling. It’s a challenge that I gladly accept. Getting through these books makes me feel like I’ve really learned something, whether facts or just a new perspective on things. Here are a few of those books.

 

2666

by Natasha Wimmer, Roberto Bolano

This behemoth of a novel is a fictional telling of the murders of women in Juarez, Mexico. But it is so much more. Cop drama, academic treatise on art, love story — it’s all there. This is a book for those that love high literature but also love a good quick read. Both are represented in parts of this book.

 

The War of the World

by Niall Ferguson

Having slept through many a history class (remember that smart kid who was just too lazy to do anything with himself?), I didn’t really know much about the first or second world war. This exhaustive account told me everything I needed to know, and a lot more that was just really interesting.

 

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

by Jacob Weisberg

David Foster Wallace’s mind had so much going on that everything I’ve read of his was fascinating, partially because I never know what will come next. These essays, about the Illinois State Fair, tennis, and cruise ships (among other topics) are a great example.

This book also appears on The Best of David Foster Wallace

 

The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance

by Ron Chernow

Kudos to Mr. Chernow for making financial history (such a dry topic) so readable. He makes it a story about the characters that made up the Morgan Dynasty in banking. Essential reading for anyone that is curious about how our financial system got to where it is today.

 

The Granta Book of the American Short Story

edited by Richard Ford

This was the last book I read that just blew me away with the quality of the writing. There is a new edition that just came out. Both are recommended reading for, well, everyone.