You Decide, I Read!

I’m almost done with the book I’m currently reading, Strange Angel. After that I’m going back to Jane Eyre, which I started but got distracted on.

And after that? That’s where you come in. I have a huge stack of books I need to get through, and bought two more yesterday. So I want you folks to decide what I read next.

Here’s how it works. I will list the books that are in the running. You each have six (6) points to distribute among them. Throw them all into one book if you feel strongly about it. Give your fist choice 3 points, your second 2, and your third 1, if you’re so inclined. Split them among two or more books however you want. Once I’m done with Jane Eyre, the two with the highest scores will go next in line and maybe I’ll start the process again!

Feel free to suggest other reads, but these ten are the only ones under consideration at this time. Also, please don’t just knee-jerk to the stuff you know. There’s a link for each book. I don’t want a good but obscure book to get drowned out by a popularity contest. (I’m pretty bossy when it comes to letting you choose, aren’t I?)

So: distribute SIX points among the following choices:

  1. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
  2. McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon
  3. Valis by Philip K. Dick
  4. Baudolino by Umberto Eco
  5. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
  6. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  7. The Unburied by Charles Palliser
  8. Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla by Marc J. Seifer
  9. The Book of Secrets by M.G. Vassanji
  10. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Thanks folks!

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17 Responses to You Decide, I Read!

  1. pronoblem says:

    5 Valis by Philip K. Dick
    1 The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

  2. Shawn Hoke says:

    3 points for Infinite Jest

    2 points for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

    1 point for the McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasurey of Thrilling Tales (a quarter of it is wonderful, the rest is nothing special)

  3. 6 Infinite Jest

    Kind of unfair putting that one in there. ;D

  4. Anarkey says:

    Can I take points away from something? Because, much as I enjoyed The Foundation Trilogy when I read it, in high school, I can’t ever imagine going back to read it again, and I can’t imagine you having the patience for it or enjoying it.

    Valis seems like a weird choice for an atheist. Have you already read The Man in the High Castle?

    I’m a true believer in short fiction, so I’ll throw three points to McSweeney’s, though I haven’t read most of the stories in that particular one. I know at least “Catskin” by Kelly Link is worth reading.

    Haven’t read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle but I’ll through two points on it so you can read it and tell me if I should.

    And ehh, I’ll throw a point at The Tipping Point. It’s a book I’m curious about, but haven’t read.

    I haven’t heard of or read most of the books on the list, actually, so I might be passing up some real gems. Perhaps you should liberally apply salt to my opinions.

    — Anarkey

  5. Goddammit, you’ve not read Murakami?

    Read Murakami.

  6. Greg Burgas says:

    The only one I’ve read is The Unburied, so I’ll give that 3 points. I love Eco but haven’t read Baudalino yet, but I’ll give that 2. And my 1 point will go to The Tipping Point, another book I haven’t read, but apparently it’s neat.

  7. Lanf says:

    6 – Tesla. I haven’t read it, but I bet it’s fascinating!

  8. 3 for Valis – it’s short.
    2 for Infinite Jest – it’s long but well worth the effort, and definitely Wallace’s best novel (I liked the essays in A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again)
    1 for The Tipping Point – damn, I do love it.

    Might I also suggest Ann Powers’ Weird Like Us (my Bohemian America)? It’s nonfiction about how our generation builds and maintains relationships/careers/family, etc.

    I thought the Wind-up Bird Chronicles was always about to be cooler than it was. One extended torture sequence that was nast-ee, and that is saying something.

  9. Dave Campbell says:

    You should read The Tipping Point (3 pts) first because you will finish it in 2 hours and then can move on to Infinite Jest (2 pts) and McSweeney’s (1 pt). I also recommend Gladwells’ other book, Blink.

  10. esthela says:

    3 points to title 6 and 3 points to title 10. Those are the only 2 books from your list that I have and haven’t read either. Well, I think one of us should, don’t you?

  11. Ray says:

    The Foundation Trilogy – Minus 2 points – If you read it as a kid, you’ll tarnish the memory, if you haven’t already read it you’re better off with a summary.
    McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales – 0 Points – Meh
    Valis – 1 Point
    Baudolino – Minus 2 points – Very disappointing. All the things that made Rose and pendulum so good, without being any good.
    The Tipping Point – Minus 1 point – I don’t really see the point in books like this, but YMMV
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – 4 points – You should really read Murakami
    The Unburied – 2 points – the Amazon info looks interesting, good reviews on LibraryThing
    Wizard – 1 point – why not?
    The Book of Secrets – Minus 1 point – summary does not appeal
    Infinite Jest – 4 points – uneven but always interesting, and the good bits are great. Hmmm, maybe I’m due a re-read actually…

    6 points, as requested

    (Okay, if you just want positive points then two each for DFW and Murakami, one each for Valis and Unburied)

  12. pronoblem says:

    Valis seems like a weird choice for an atheist.

    Why would you say that?

  13. Anarkey says:

    Pronoblem : I’m not sure whether you’re yanking my chain or what, but it doesn’t seem mysterious to me that a book about someone’s search for God might not hold appeal to someone who has no interest in God or the question of God. Most of my recommendations (or disrecommendations) are based on what I know about Dave. I could be completely off base, but VALIS strikes me as a book that would send Dave off in a wild search for his eyeballs because they done rolled completely out of his head. Also, he’s rather familiar with all the derivative works of the PKD weirdness, such as Grant Morrison’s comics and The Illuminatus Trilogy. Nothing in VALIS is going to be a shiny, new, oh so deep revelation to him.

    — Anarkey

  14. pronoblem says:

    No chain yanking. Did you read Valis? I would not summarize it as saying it is about someone’s search for God or directly compare it to Grant Morrison’s comics and The Illuminatus Trilogy (though Grant Morrison may have drawn inspiration from Valis). The main character is quite mad and I think this lends it more towards a autobiographical psychological analysis rather than a quest for God. Yes, PKD had his quest and this book is revealing of it. However, pink light beaming thoughts into his head, alien intelligence, “time tripping” and a Soviet plot go a little beyond your conventional God searching.

  15. Zed says:

    2: Valis
    2: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
    1: Tipping Point
    1: Infinite Jest

    The Mammoth Treasury has some good stuff, but also some real stinkers.

    Independent of any revelations it may or may not have, VALIS includes one of the funnest moments I’ve encountered in literature.

  16. David Bush says:

    6 for Valis. Don’t concern yourself about what anyone says about it. Just read it.

    Thanks for your time.

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