Jessica Warman’s 5 Favourite Reads

It’s October, and we have a new author in residence with us – welcome to Jessica Warman! We’ll soon be bringing you our Q&A with Jessica, a guest post and review of her new book, Between, and a giveaway! Watch this space…

In the meantime, Jessica shares with us her 5  favourite reads…

5. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

This is probably my favorite Vonnegut novel – which is saying a lot, because they’re all incredible.  The writing style is unique and incredible; it’s casual and hilarious and profound all at once.  The book is an easy read on the surface, but there’s so much more going on: insights about everything from religion and spirituality, to human nature, to the question of whether or not evil actually exists… I could go on and on.  I loved every last word.

4. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

I’ve read this book probably two dozen times at least.  For years it was my all-time favorite.  While its place on my list has slipped a bit, I still think it’s a great example of masterful characterization and voice.  Holden Caulfield will always have a special place in my heart.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is a magical, heartbreaking book that everyone should read at least once in their lives. If you don’t know what it’s about, I won’t ruin it for you, but I will say that it’s the kind of book that has the power to change the way a person looks at the world.

2. FRACTURE by Megan Miranda

I just read this a few weeks ago, thanks to an advance copy from my publisher; the book doesn’t come out until January 2012.  This is Megan Miranda’s first novel, and it is a gorgeous book.  The story is fascinating, the writing is beautiful, and the characters are incredibly well-drawn.  There were so many instances while reading this when I could easily picture the scenes unfolding in my mind.  Maybe my favorite YA of all time.

1. Everything that has ever been written by David Foster Wallace (His books include A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Consider the Lobster, Broom of the System, Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and Infinite Jest.)

David Foster Wallace’s books are thick and difficult and definitely intended for adults, but regardless of your age, it’s a name I think you should be familiar with.  Wallace, who died a few years ago, was the most gifted writer of the past hundred years.  I realize that’s only my opinion, but it’s also the opinion of plenty of other people who have  fallen (hopelessly, deeply) in love with the way he was able to arrange words into sentences into books in a way that I honestly didn’t think was possible prior to reading his work.  It’s simply magical.  Wallace had the ability to see into every part of the core of human nature and deconstruct it, making sense of humanity’s idiosyncrasies with such ease that his observations somehow seem like they should be obvious.  They’re not; I say this because no other writer (who I know of) exists who is able to interpret the essence of reality with the same agility.  His books are not easy reading by any means, but they’re worth every ounce of effort.

There’s just no possible way for me to choose only one of his books for the top position on this list.  Truth be told, if I were being completely honest, the entire list would have been comprised of Wallace books.  They are unflinchingly honest, tragic and hilarious all at once, and by far the most cerebrally engaging writing that I’ve ever read in my life.  He gave this world an incredible gift, and the idea that he’s no longer here to share his thoughts with the world makes me feel incredibly sad – not only for him, and for myself, but for all of humanity for the rest of time.  When I think of the phrase “literary genius,” his is the first and only name that comes to mind.  His work makes everything else that has ever been published seem like it was written by a group of monkeys in a room full of typewriters.  And the monkeys are wearing blindfolds, and they’ve been drinking margaritas all day long, and they’re typing using only their toes.

Read his books. They will enrich your life in more ways than you ever thought possible.

Thanks, Jessica! You can find out more about Jessica at her website here.