I was thinking about what my personal top ten books of 2012 would be. These are not books that came out in 2012, but my faves that I read this year. Here goes ( in no order) :
1. The Name of the Wind, Rothfuss
2. Catching the big Fish: Meditation and Creativity. Lynch
3. Wolf Hall, Mantel
4. Rings of Saturn, Sebald
5. A distant mirror, Barbara Tuchman
6.A High Wind in Jamaica
7. How Fiction Works, James Wood
8. Game of Thrones
9. Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
10. Best Recipes in the World, by Marc Bittman
OK. Decent list. If there is anything on here you aren’t familiar with you could do worse than to check it out from the library. But then I figured — alright imagine the world is ending in 3 days. What are your top 10 books of all time?
I know that Anna Karenina would be in there. But beyond that it gets very difficult. Not for lack of potential winners, but because there are just to many to choose and ten is not enough. Does Dostoevsky push Gargantua off the list? Is there room for Catcher in the Rye and the Bible and the Upanishads? and and and? What about Hemingway, Salinger, Woolfe, Kafka, Gormenghast, Infinite Jest, Proust, Cormac Mccarthy, Rumi, Rilke, Plato? And oh yeah Shakespeare. Many of these authors have 2 or 3 contenders each for the list. Ulysses was great, but does it deserve to knock my childhood favorite the Hobbit off the list?
It’s an impossible list to make. I’m glad the world will continue, humanity is too hard to understand all at once, we need manageable portions like years, months and weeks.
Maybe next year I can finally finish Moby Dick?
I ended up listening to Catching the Big Fish early in 2012. Although I’m not usually a fan of books on tape, with a speaker like David Lynch it really does add a new dimension to the work. I was happily surprised by how soothing and heartening I found his world view and ideas about creativity. Not that I expected him to be dark- just a little more absurd. Perhaps the fact I didn’t find his worldview absurd speaks to my own absurdity!