Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
So we're stealing one of those list thingies from the FaceSpace and posting it here in tandem--the 30 Day Book Challenge. I think the idea is to let people know you better through the books you read. It might also be a way to find books that will become favorites (or topics of ridicule). Both Gianna and I will participate, and since I (Liz) do all the of the posting, there's a strong possibility that I will make fun of Gianna's selections on occasion.
Day 1: Favorite Book
Not an easy question for either of us. I know that I could fairly easily narrow down to a list of about five, but beyond that I struggle. Eventually we just had to go with something.
The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor (Fitzgerald)
I always say this is my desert island book, so I guess it must be my favorite book? I don't know that I really have one favorite book. I think if I had children I would certainly have a favorite (and I would tell that child often that he or she was/is my favorite - I just think that is good solid parenting)..but books, for goodness sakes now that is just too hard! But for now we will say Habit of Being because Flannery is my favorite writer. She pleases me on many levels (mostly she is easy on the eyes) and after thinking you know O'Connor because you've read everything she's written - and maybe you've read some critiques and interviews and blah blah blah..then you get your hands on these letters and its an entirely new world. She is really funny, she really had an interest in the business side of writing (as in where is my check?), and you get a real idea, maybe for the first time, how frustrated (and brave) she was in her battle with Lupus. Recently it's been revealed that Betty Hester is "A" in Habit of Being, a very interesting tidbit considering Hester was a lesbian and O'Connor did try to save her good friend's soul more than once. But those things are hard to do...
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Like Gianna's pick, Cloud Atlas is my desert island book. I read it during a time when I was reticent about sharing my book tastes with others, but found myself exuberantly telling my coworkers, including some uber-book snobs, how much I loved it. Six interwoven tales that defy genre boundaries, Cloud Atlas is a virtuosic composition that manages to be clever, funny, frightening, philosophical, and moving. It's a book that I probably should dislike for some of the reasons I dislike some of the overly clever McSweeney's Press books. Mitchell plays with style and format and narrative...but he doesn't become trapped by the trickery. I loved Cloud Atlas so much when I first read it that I sent a fan letter to a generic feedback email address at Random House, and my message eventually made its way to Mitchell's editor David Ebershoff and then to Mitchell himself. Two weeks later I received a package in the mail from Ireland, and inside was a personalized copy of the UK edition of the book. David Mitchell is tops on my list of writers I haven't yet met and I've liked all of his novels, but this one's special.