Monday, November 9, 2015

Knopf 100--Day 22

I'm in Oklahoma tonight, and previously I posted from Colorado, so officially this series has spanned three states. Also, we've made it to the 80's! The end is nigh.

81. The Secret History by Donna Tartt, originally published in 1992. I have a long history with this book. The first time I tried to read it was around 1998, when I had just graduated from college, and for whatever reason I couldn't get into it. I tried again around 2003 or so because many of my friends never shut up about it. The third time was the charm, though, and once I dove in with both feet I was hooked. I got it. And it's great. The Secret History features one of my favorite settings for a book, a school campus, and is about a clique of classics students under the spell of a professor. They grow close and their relationships extend beyond the classroom...until things spiral out of control and into dangerous territory.

82. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, originally published in 1923. We'd be remiss not to include this classic on a list of Knopf books. We're approaching its own 100th anniversary and it's a favorite of many, many people worldwide. Gibran's essays are an inspirational philosophy for life. Topics from religion to love to death to knowing who you are in the world make it a moving, personal read for all those who come to its pages. If you're looking for one book to hold up as an emblem of what makes Knopf great, The Prophet would be a good one to champion.

83. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, originally published in 2009. Chris McDougall created magic with Born to Run, a blend of history, science, and personal narrative. What started as an exploration into why his feet hurt when he ran turned into a journey into the history of running and the human anatomical features that make us uniquely able to run great distances. The author talks to Harvard scientists, ultra-marathon runners, and an indigenous tribe in Mexico where running through the Copper Canyons is a way of life. Born to Run also helped ignite a huge barefoot running craze.

84. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, originally published in 2010. Jennifer Egan is high on my list of favorite authors. I met her once and typically was starstruck. I think I grunted a little. A Visit from the Goon Squad is an experimental novel that moves back and forth in the lives of Bennie, an aging music executive, and Sasha, his assistant. Part of the story is told as a PowerPoint presentation and it works; Egan is a genius. Goon Squad gathered up a heap of awards including a Pulitzer Prize.

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