Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Knopf 100--Day 10

Nobel, anyone? Knopf is the home for a ton of Nobel Prize winning authors, and here are four books from this illustrious group.

33. The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing, originally published in 1988. Check this out. It's the film clip of when Doris Lessing found out she won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

"Oh Christ!" The Fifth Child probably isn't her most famous book, but it's one I loved. It's no secret that I like creepy, gothic reads that dismantle families, though. The premise is that a happy couple have brought four children into the world and created an ideal familial life in '60's Britain. Then they have Ben, baby #5, and their world unravels. Ben's not a cute baby or kid. He eats everything and he's abnormally strong. He's not the child they wanted or expected. The other kids are scared of him and his parents are appalled. What happens when you can't love your child, even when the child is an innocent? Good stuff.

34. Beloved by Toni Morrison, originally published in 1987. This is the second Toni Morrison novel we've included on our list, but so what? TM is terrific. You know what's fun? Walking up to strangers and croak-whispering "Beeeeloooooovveddd" like it was uttered in the movie. I love doing that. Anyway, Beloved, considered Morrison's best work, is the story of Sethe, a former slave living in Ohio who can't escape her memories of the atrocities of her past or the unnamed daughter she lost, whose tombstone simply reads "beloved." This novel twists up your insides, a sign of narrative genius.

35. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro, originally published in 2001. Alice Munro is the greatest living short story writer, and I could have picked any of her books to feature in this spot. I chose Hateship in part because it's received attention from Hollywood with several film adaptations. Remember that devastating and beautiful movie called Away From Her, about a man whose Alzheimer's impacted wife develops a romance in her assisted living facility because she no longer remembers she's married, and he must deal with the loss and her found happiness with another man? The movie starred Julie Christie and she was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal. That movie was based on one of the stories in this collection. Munro writes about relationships and the human drama of daily living. She's one of my two pretend-Canadian-grandmas.

36. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, originally published in 1988. The godfather of magical realism, it's an honor to say that I work for the publisher of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I haven't read all of his books, but I am a fan of Love in the Time of Cholera, among others. The story here is that a couple declare their love when they're young, but she ultimately decides to marry a doctor. He, on the other hand, goes the other direction and has affairs. LOTS of affairs. Over six hundred affairs. Dude keeps busy. After fifty years, though, the doctor finally dies and our oversexed hero finally has his opportunity to spread a venereal disease declare his undying love once more.

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