Q&A with Derek Gentry discussion

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Favorite Authors & Books

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message 1: by Derek (new)

Derek Gentry (derekgentry) | 9 comments Mod
I read John Irving’s The World According to Garp when I was twelve, and as you might expect, all of the book’s absurdity, sex, and violence had a corrupting effect on my young mind: it made me want to write fiction.

So I read all of the Irving that I could get my hands on, even as I was plowing through the works of my other favorite novelist, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.. It wasn’t until years later that I learned Vonnegut had been Irving’s teacher in Iowa, a thought that still makes me smile.

Over the years since, I’ve found many new favorites. I’m going to link a bunch of them below, and maybe others can share theirs as well?

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving A Son of the Circus by John Irving Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig The Mezzanine A Novel by Nicholson Baker Vox A Novel by Nicholson Baker Generation X Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland Microserfs by Douglas Coupland The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham Moon And Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham High Fidelity by Nick Hornby About a Boy by Nick Hornby Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino The Business of Fancydancing Stories and Poems by Sherman Alexie The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins Absurdistan A Novel by Gary Shteyngart One Day by David Nicholls When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz


message 2: by Derek (new)

Derek Gentry (derekgentry) | 9 comments Mod
Well, I'm a Red Sox fan, which I think is pretty close! The Cubs are definitely my favorite National League team.


message 3: by Keith (last edited Sep 23, 2010 09:32AM) (new)

Keith Martin (kdmartin) | 2 comments I'm right with you on several of those favorites. I've read all of Vonnegut's novels, and I love Borges, Douglas Adams, and Nicholson Baker's early novels (esp. The Mezzanine). I haven't been able to get through Cosmicomics, but I loved Invisible Cities.
I'd add:
Richard Powers' The Gold Bug Variations
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest
Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Nicholas Christopher's A Trip To The Stars
Lorrie Moore's Anagrams
Matt Ruff's Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls


message 4: by Derek (new)

Derek Gentry (derekgentry) | 9 comments Mod
I haven't had a chance to read any Chabon yet, but I've wanted to try something. Sounds like The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay might be a good place to start?

For DFW, I've only read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, but I loved it. Just looking at Infinite Jest scares the crap out of me...but you think it's worth a shot?


message 5: by Keith (last edited Sep 23, 2010 09:35AM) (new)

Keith Martin (kdmartin) | 2 comments I haven't read anything else by Chabon (his publisher appears to be refusing to release his novels as ebooks, and I've all but stopped reading paper), but The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is excellent.

Infinite Jest is a tour de force -- an absolute whirlwind. Borrow a copy and read 50 pages. If you haven't fallen in love with DFW's sentence-level craft, you will probably end up hating it. If you're hooked, go for it. It defies nearly all of the conventions of novelistic structure, but it's chock-full of inventiveness.


message 6: by Derek (new)

Derek Gentry (derekgentry) | 9 comments Mod
I like your suggestion about Infinite Jest. I'm guessing that I'll enjoy the book, and the idea of committing to just 50 pages makes starting it much less intimidating. Thanks!

How strange & disappointing that Chabon's books aren't available electronically. Given how quickly things are changing on that front, I have to think they'll be out soon. Otherwise, his publishers are just losing potential sales.


message 7: by Kokanut (new)

Kokanut | 1 comments i just finished reading The Lost Symbol By Dan Brown it was great


message 8: by Derek (new)

Derek Gentry (derekgentry) | 9 comments Mod
Kokanut wrote: "i just finished reading The Lost Symbol By Dan Brown it was great"

I've never tried any Dan Brown myself. Watching chunks of the movie on cable has pretty much ruined The DaVinci Code for me, so maybe Angels & Demons or The Lost Symbol?


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