catapult magazine

catapult magazine


Top Five Reads


Feb 06 2003
03:05 am

To copy the “Top Five Jive,” what are your top five books of all time? I’ll get back with mine and I look forward to hearing yours – and maybe getting some book suggestions.


Feb 06 2003
06:20 am

Alright, here are my top recommendations at this point in my life:

“The Watchers,” by Dean Koontz. Don’t mock me. An entertaining, must-read for anyone with a finer appreciation for dogs. It’s my top recommended “beach read.” Runner-up dog read: “My Dog Skip” by Willie Morris. Every pet person has to have a favorite pet book.

4. “Myra Breckinridge” by Gore Vidal. It’s a wicked comedy about a sex change. Very witty. Transsexualism has never been so … funny. Not for the faint-of-heart.

3. “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love” by Oscar Hijuelos. Rich, lush story of “the American dream.” About two Cuban musicians in 1949 trying to make it in New York. You will want to eat Cuban food after reading this. I know some great recipes if anyone’s interested.

2. “The Fifth Child” by Doris Lessing. Disturbing, but might make you love your child even more (if that’s possible!). Or make you want to be sterile. Anything by Doris Lessing is good, in my book. Pun intended.

1. “The Collector” by John Fowles. Also not-for-the-faint-of-heart. One of the first “psychological thrillers,” written in the late 1960s … scary and beautiful at the same time. Love this book, but haven’t been able to read it more than twice.

Some non-fiction recommendations: “The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism” by Max Weber and “The New Victorians: A Young Woman’s Challenge to the Old Feminist Order” by Rene Denfeld.


Feb 06 2003
10:18 am

I’m going to be honest about these. As honest as can be when limited to five. Though the number didn’t stop me on the music and movie one. In no particular order:

Lord of the Flies Golding
Lord of the Rings Tolkien (yes the whole thing)
Rainbows for the Fallen World Seerveld
Travelling Mercies Lamott
Walden Thoreau

Honorable Mentions: Paperbag Princess-Munsch, McElligot’s Pool-Seuss, Book of Hours-Rilke, Odyssey-Homer, Job, Esther.
Hmmm. I’m going to have to start one for plays maybe.


Feb 07 2003
09:11 am

Off the top of my head, without looking at my bookshelves:

The Corrections — Jonathan Franzen
Generation X — Douglas Coupland
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius — Dave Eggers
You Shall Know Our Velocity — Dave Eggers
Winesburg, Ohio — Sherwood Anderson (a little jump there)
American Avant Garde Theatre: A History — Arnold Aronoson
The Theatre and Its Double — Antonin Artaud
The Empty Space — Peter Brook

I’ve gotta go look at my books.


Feb 07 2003
07:08 pm

This is hard.

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence—in my opinion, one of the finest writers of the 20th century. Life on the Canadian prairies was never so real, so gritty. The first book I read as a teenager that inspired me to be a writer.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodr Dostoyevsky—yes, no list is complete without this. When I was studying in Russia we had a “Dostoyevsky Day” that involved traipsing all over St. Petersburg checking out different spots relevant to Dostoyevsky. Especially significant was touring through Hay Market Square, and standing on the bridge where Raskolnikov stood, tormented, contemplating suicide.

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen—is it a novel? is it a collection of short stories? is it just one loooong confusing poem? Who knows, but my love affair with Leonard Cohen continues on…. (it started when I was in grade 8)

The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis—an enigma of a novel. No other book has so simultaneously made me doubt my faith and solidified my faith as this account of the dual nature of Christ.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco—“The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and an English Brother is sent to investigate. His delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre murders that take place in seven days and nights of apocalyptic terror.” That’s what it says on the back of the book. This book has everything: detective work, monks, murders, philosophy, theology, logic, gruesome Inquisition scenes, medieval traditions, and lots of darkness. All wrapped up in the greatest monastic thriller ever.

Oh, and my honourable mention is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This book was very influential as I grew up…. and still is today.


Feb 08 2003
12:02 pm

The Other Side of the Sun Madeleine L’Engle (no longer in print…ck library)
The Lord of the Rings Tolkien
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
A Story Like the Wind and A Far Off Place Laurens Van Der Post
Mrs. Mike Benedict and Nancy Freedman
Wilfred Gordon MacDonald Partridge Mem Fox
Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap, Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon


Apr 16 2003
10:45 am

here is my list of top five FICTION reads in no particular order

Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

The Plague – Albert Camus

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
(the first Vonnegut I ever read. Will always have a special place in my heart. And it’s short.)

Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
(Funny, funny book. Bitter, sarcastic, ironic. There is a scene near the end with a character named Snowden that is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever read. That’s all I can say if you haven’t read it.)

Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky

My runner-ups:
The Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving
something by Hemingway

Pretty well-known books. This list pretty much typifies my favorite fiction styles. I rarely re-read books, so I partly classify my “favorite” books as “ones I’d read again.”


May 29 2003
05:45 pm

Wow. You ask much out of this.

Well, I have to be honest, I’m not exactly reading a wide variety of books.

But I will say…

“The Color of Water” James McBride…this isn’t actually fiction, it’s a memoir, but it reads like fiction and it’s truly amazing.

“A Girl Named Zippy” Haven Kimmel…again, a memoir, but it’s such an easy read and so relatable.

“Jane Eyre” Charlotte Bronte…I love that book…it’s such a wonderful book.

“Clouds” by Robin Jones Gunn…it’s romance, but I just can’t get enough of that book…it’s incredibly wonderful. A good book to take your mind of things.

“Bamboo and Lace” Lori Wick…again, a romance, but it’s also a wonderful story about a girl in the States from a foreign country…the differences are stunning!

yeah, that’s it…