Wednesday, October 21, 2015

100 Knopf Books Day 3

Before there was Netflix we binge-read authors.  Personally, I have a pretty rich history of binge reading, which started when I would steal my mother’s books out of her room--Michael Crichton, John Le Carre,  and Patricia Highsmith to name a few. I found Anne Rice on my own, but she was well into the Vampire Chronicles by the time found her. To this day in fact, both of my parents read mystery/thrillers, but I find that I don’t read them that much these days. A shame because its sort of how I fell in love with books. 


It’s of my opinion that if the great Michael Crichton had only lived a few more years he could have had given us all an epic “I told you so!” I base this on one book and one book alone: Congo. I read this little gem thirty years ago, so while my memory is foggy on the full plot, what sticks is that the novel has gorillas (or a gorilla hybrid if that makes you feel better) killing humans. Just killing them to death. No tears, just killing them with obvious plans to take over the world. The main gorilla (the good gorilla…of course isn’t that what all gorillas want you to think?) communicates with humans and then saves them from the other vicious hybrid gorillas. Yea, something about diamonds in this book too, but it’s the thought of highly intelligent gorillas killing people that sticks with a kid. Also, I am certain gorillas, monkeys, chimps…we will be answering to them very soon (did you know that Liz is terrified of monkeys and such?). I think I read Andromeda Strain, Eaters of the Dead, and maybe Terminal Man. Later I would read Timeline and Micro (which I just loved), but I have for whatever reason, never read Jurassic Park (or The Lost World), something I am just now realizing. If you read The Martian, go back and read Michael Crichton, it’s all science and nerd fun.

 
I once spent an entire summer in Florida reading Anne Rice novels (indoors, about 100 yards from the beach).  Florida has many things to entice a twenty something and really that’s the way it should be: sun, booze, more sun, volleyball, more booze, a bonfire, a girl fight, police are called, and then more alcohol. All of this on the beach! Anyway, I stayed indoors and read four Anne Rice novels. I saw the film Interview with a Vampire and thought gosh, I wonder if the books are this good! Joke. I must have started in on the books in the mid 1990’s because Memnoch the Devil had just come out. That summer I read Interview with the Vampire, Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, and Tale of the Body Thief (which I accidentally read half of before a librarian hipped me to the fact that I skipped Damned so I had to go back. I was as angry as a book nerd could be). I always think I will re-read this series, one book a month for a year. Anyone want to do that with me?

 Tom Ripley came into my life in the same way so many good things come to me, via Matt Damon. I saw the trailer for the movie and immediately went out and bought The Talented Mr. Ripley. By the time I saw the film about a month later I had read, Ripley Underground, Ripley’s Game (my favorite of the five), and The Boy Who Followed Ripley. I didn’t read Ripley Under Water until a few years ago after I read a biography of Highsmith (she’s a Texan by the way, and that cancels out Ted Cruz). I need to go back and read that Highsmith lesbian novel all the kids are talking about, but I digress from Knopf.


I found John LeCarre’s The Na├»ve and Sentimental Lover on my mother’s bookshelf in her room. I was must have been in 8th or 9th grade and most likely looking for something as “interesting” as this seemed to promise. I’m still sort of like that when perusing shelves, always looking for something “interesting.” I found myself terribly disappointed by the lack of filthy sex and stopped reading after about fifty pages. A couple of years later however, well, more like twenty years later, I binge read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and The Russia House. What made me go back to John LeCarre? You guessed it…Michelle Pfeiffer. Gosh, I guess I would never read a thing if movies didn’t exist. So proud!




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