As a special surprise today, I'm happy to welcome Jamie Ford, author of the beautiful novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, who has agreed to do an "author edition" of 451 Fridays.
Well, sort of. =)
What 5 books do you believe are important enough to be saved, and why?
Can I change this? How about five books that should be banished to the dustbin of eternity?
1) The Hardy Boys. After years of counseling I can finally utter the names of Frank and Joe Hardy without a narcoleptic seizure. My mom, bless her heart, was an avid mystery fan, so she regularly bought my weight in Hardy Boys books. I just couldn’t get through them. Partly because of the merry-go-round of ghostwriters that were employed over the years, but also because of the way they often portrayed minorities. Granted, they were a product of their time–so why can’t they stay in the past?
2) I’m going to get flack for this one but I really think Amnesty International should look into how the Scarlet Letter is used on 9th graders. Thematically, it’s an intriguing book. But the archaic nature of the writing has been turning generations of bright school children into non-readers for years. This madness must end.
3) The AP Stylebook. While great for journalists, rules for reporting on city council meetings don’t necessarily apply to writers of fiction. Still, some aspiring writers get hung up on the thing. It’s like someone trying to use a tractor repair manual as a cookbook.
4) (Insert political rant book here). Does it matter if it’s Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, or Al Franken? These books aren’t written to enlighten. They’re designed to lock their readers in the closets of their own political neuroses.
5) Coloring books. (I know–you thought I was punching below the belt with the Scarlet Letter). I think coloring books should be replaced with blank pages and fertile imaginations. Maybe it’s because I’m an art school graduate, or maybe it’s because my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Silverwood, told me my drawings were terrible because I colored outside the lines.
Of those 5, which book would you "become"?
I’d probably become The Hardy Boys. But I’d let them grow up and become the Hardy Men, like the classic National Lampoon parody, The Hardy Boys and the Case of the Missing Scotch.
Jamie, I know you have a FEW other things going on in your life right now, so thank you for taking the time to create your own, uniquely personal, 451 Fridays list.
If you haven't already, find yourself a copy of his book. It's so good. And you can also visit Jamie's website, if you are so inclined.