Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Top Ten Trippiest Books

These books made my mind do back flips- they happen in a time warp, the author writes in circles, the characters are nuts. The most mind-blowing books blend reality with magic and paint a groovy, unreal picture of a suprisingly familiar world.

Daughter of Fortune- Isabel Allende
The story of a beautiful Chilean girl following her true love to California during the Gold Rush, this book cuts across 19th century cultures to paint a picture of a world that once was.

Song of Solomon- Toni Morrison
Contains all black characters but it's central issue is not the civil rights movement, slavery or getting your groove back.

As if that isn't unusual enough, the protagonist is a spoiled middle class black man who is disconnected from reality until he goes in search of his roots. It sounds normal enough but this story involves talking ghosts, a woman without a belly-button and people who can (and do) fly.

One Hundred Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The generational saga of the Buendia family in the fictional village of Macondo, Colombia. It's like the Godfather trilogy (only good). This is a fantasy grounded very much in reality- the changes in Macondo reflect the political changes that Latin America has endured.

Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami
I fell absolutely in love with this on a very stormy day last spring. This is one of those books for people who love books. And people who love music.

Set in modern Japan, this novel is seriously trippy. Cats talk, there are strange spirits. There is a magic stone and whole bunch of other wierd stuff.

The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams
The first in Douglas Adam's Hitchhikers series, this book is full of snappy one liners. You know, the kind that get funnier the more you think about them?
The Metamorphosis- Franz Kafka
Imagine waking up and realizing you're an insect. That's what happens to Gregor Samsa. Most people note the Oedipal themes, the sexual symbolism, the dehumanizing effects of capitalism. But it also has an element of humor- at least, I laughed.

Catch-22-Joseph Heller
A quirky anti-war novel, this book coined a new term. It makes fun of the bureaucracy and circular logic of the military.
Slaughterhouse-Five- Kurt Vonnegut
This out-of-order tale is based on Vonnegut's own experiences during the war. He said he couldn't tell it straight out- which accounts for the jumbled, out of sequence storytelling.

A Clockwork Orange -Anthony Burgess
A dystopian novel about a futuristic thug who undergoes an experiment to make him less violent. The protagonist speaks a strange street slang from the future.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland-Lewis Carrol

This book is the grandfather of irrealism. Yes, it's a children's book, or at least it's called one.

It's like reading Greek mythology- all of these strange events leading into each other. Plus, all the adults in the story are crazy and tyrannical and make no sense. That was a big bonus with me when I first read it.

If you've already been to Wonderland, read it again to re-capture that silly, rebellious feeling.


sharazad said...

Yay!Comments are working now!

Rebecca said...

I love this list. I couldn't get into Daughter of Fortune for some reason, but I have One Year of Solitude, Slaughterhouse-Five, and A Clockwork Orange on my list. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is definitely a good pick for this list.

riotburnsleaves said...

Anything by Thomas Pynchon could easily fit on this list, too. Great writer, but he just runs around and around and around with insane speed to the point it gets overwhelming and difficult to follow sometimes.

Fifecat said...

Great list! Some of these I've read, some I must look out for.