Monday, April 18, 2005

"Stone Reader"

This weekend Middlebrow, my father and I watched "Stone Reader," a documentary about a guy who read a book, The Stones of Summer, and then became obsessed with the author, Dow Mossman, because he'd never written anything else. So Mark, the filmmaker, sets out on this quest to find Dow, and in the meantime he interviews book critics and Leslie Fiedler and a bunch of writers who went to Iowa at about the same time as Dow. The movie is ultimately about more than just the one book and Dow, who never published another book (and in my opinion has OCD and is hypergraphic). It's about Mark's love of books and how books, even just one book, can change your life forever. Mark talks about Catch-22, which was one of my favorite books in high school. My junior year I had this amazing teacher and we also read No Exit and Waiting for Godot. Talk about mind blowing.
I recommend everyone see this movie. In the meantime, I want to know, what book did it for you? What was the one book that took the top of your head off and made you understand what books can do when they are really, really, really, really good?
Since Catch-22 is taken (by filmmaker Mark), I'll say Slaughterhouse 5 (and pretty much everything by Vonnegut) and The World According to Garp. I went through a big Vonnegut and Irving phase in high school and read everything by both of them. I've since fallen behind on both, but I still love them.
How about you?


theorris said...

I would have to say Virgina Woolf's The Waves. I think it is the narrative style of it and the way it is plotted; in any case, I just couldn't put it down when I was reading it, and it left me with a bewildering sense of life, despite its seemingly "quiet" nature.

Lisa B. said...

Geez, Clint, way to intimidate the rest of us. Two books: Heart of Darkness, and Ulysses. Conrad because of the narrator, and Joyce because of the virtuosity of its styles.

Later, however, Don deLillo's Underworld blew me away. I read it a few years ago and still can't get over how amazing it is.

Sleepy E said...

I always thought I was a voracious reader, but looking back I didn't really read much in HS and I'm not reading anything now. So I guess I'd say Pale Fire and Notes From Underground my freshman year of university.

Tim said...

For me it was actually Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman. I read it around the time of 9-11 and it synthesized for me a great deal regarding the emotional response of the the country. It was also right before I started treating veterans with PTSD, and it gave me a strong sense of professional confidence.