The High Fives

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A while ago, the hostess interviewed my readers for a change, and her final question was, “What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask?” I got some great responses and will be picking out some of the questions from time to time to ask the rest of you. Like now:

If you had to pick only 5 books to read ever again, what would they be and why?

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I dare say this is one of the most important work of literature in the 20th century. The possibilities and meaning of this book don’t exhaust, at least they haven’t even after 6 reads. Thebook is a product of reconciliation of the absolute opposites: how would anyone ever conceive a world in which God and Satan work toward the same end, and that good is not necessarily better than evil?

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Subtly plotted, this novel gives the impression that characters and scenes in the beautifully paced novel become no more than mouthpieces and backdrops for Ishiguro’s concern for the human condition: A desire to exceed one’s limitations.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck. With such epic dimension, this novel dramatizes the perpetual conflict between good and evil within the individuals of the Hamiltons and Trasks. After all, it is a story about love and how one perceives love. Through a family romance, with betrayal and denial, Steinbeck explores how humans can spend a lifetime trying to decipher their expressions of love. But whether one is really loved sometimes cannot be known.

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. I fell in love with Stegner’s lyrically contemplative and quietly majestic prose before I did with the story. It unfolds slowly and graciously, revealing the story in natural arcs. It’s really a love story, not in the sense that it explores romantic dialogues and actions, but in the sense that it explores private lives.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. What this book has to offer is exactly the reason why a book shall be re-read. Hemingway’s Paris is one that I have always dreamed of living in: the literati, the artists, the cafes. I’m living vicariously through Hemingway’s Paris. The mood that Paris creates affects those who visit today as it did in Hemingway’s time.

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2 Responses

  1. East of Eden would definitely make my short list as well.

  2. I knew Master and Margarita would make your list here. I’m not sure what I’d pick. Probably a bunch of sentimental favorites.

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