by John Kennedy Toole
Christian McLaughlin says:
Recommended to me years ago by then-idol John Waters, this genius killed himself before his mother discovered the masterpiece A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES and had it published. Of course it went on to win a Pulitzer, but it was too late... Toole was dead and now the millions of us in his thrall have to make due by reading and re-reading his hilarious epic satire about an obese, cantankerous self-proclaimed genius named Ignatius J. Reilly who clashes with a modern world (it's set in '60s New Orleans but is really timeless) populated by an unforgettable collection of freaks, losers and wackos. It's easy to imagine Waters' superstars in key roles — how about Edith Massey as Ignatius's clueless mother and Mink Stole as evil barkeep Lana Lee? Toole's short novel THE NEON BIBLE is very different, but flawlessly crafted in the Truman Capote/Flannery O'Connor mold.
by Audrey Niffenegger
This book was one of the most touching love stories I have ever read. You're swallowed, tossed around through time, and continually mindful of the impossibility and paradox of their love, but you hope for the best. Make sure you have a big box of tissues for this one, it will leave you in both smiles and tears.
by Mark Haddon
This book offers an interesting insight into the mind of an autistic boy who decides to solve the mystery of why his neighbor's dog was murdered, and discovers a lot more than he can handle. A good (even if sometimes-confusing) read.
by John Irving
David Thalberg from New York says:
For many years, when asked, I would say that "...Garp" was my favorite book. Why? The storytelling. The characters and character development. The use of words. Maybe I just love John Irving. One memory from the book still comes into conversation many years after I read the book, especially when I go to the beach with my kids: "The Under Toad" From "...Garp": "It was Walt's fourth summer at Dog's Head Harbor, Duncan remembered, when Garp and Helen and Duncan observed Walt watching the sea. He stood ankle-deep in the foam from the surf and peered into the waves, without taking a step, for the longest time. The family went down to the water's edge to have a word with him. "What are you doing, Walt?" Helen asked. "I'm trying to see the Under Toad." Walt said "The what?" said Garp. "The Under Toad," Walt said. "I'm trying to see it. How big is it?" And Garp and Helen and Duncan held their breath; they realized that all these years Walt had been dreading a giant toad, lurking offshore, waiting to suck him under and drag him out to sea. The terrible Under Toad."
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