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NewCityNet Reading List

An antidote to bestselleritis

By Lynda Barry

JUNE 5, 2000: 

Grimms' Tales for Young and Old: The Complete Stories
Translated by Ralph Manheim
(Doubleday, $17.95)
Of all the easily available collections, this is truest to the original version, preserving all of the strange and violent elements which make these stories so useful and which are usually edited away by the ignorant, but well-intentioned people who make children's lives dull.

Unchained Memories
by Lenore Terr, M.D.
(Basic Books, $15)
Utterly fascinating ideas about trauma and memory and why we are drawn to tell and read stories of horror and mystery and the uncanny.

A Perfect Spy
by John Le Carre
(Pocket Books, $7.99)
A perfect novel about a fellow who became a spy, who had a father who was a compulsive liar and trickster, written by a man who was once a spy and had a similar sort of father. An amazing study in the longterm effects of deception.

by Pat Barker
(Plume, $12.95)
Part of a trilogy (all of her books are excellent), the story of the dilemma of a World War I psychiatrist whose job it was to convince the shell-shocked soldiers sent his way for repair to jump back into the horror.

by Jean Toomer
(Liveright, $10.95)
An astounding book. What is it? Poetry? Play? Novel? Something else altogether? Written in 1923 and considered to be one of the masterpieces of the Harlem Renaissance, it gives up some of the most searingly real book moments I've ever experienced.

A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole
(Grove Press, $11.95)
A hilarious book filled with the offensive and mind-blowing minutaie that makes New Orleans. There is no other book like it and there never will be, because Toole committed suicide after he wrote it. Man, I wish he hadn't.

On Not Being Able to Paint
by Marion Milner writing as Joanna Field
(J P Tarcher, $9.95)
A brilliant, convoluted book about the true nature of creative block. My copy looks like it's been through the washing machine. I return to it again and again whenever I'm stuck, and it has never failed to help.

d'Aulaire's Greek Myths
by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
(Doubleday, $29.95)
This husband-and-wife team made the most beautiful books of myths and folk tales, doing all of the writing and drawing themselves. The art work and storytelling is spectacular.

Cajun Music: A Reflection of the People
by Ann Allen Savoy
(Bluebird Press, $39.95)
One of the best and most beautifully done books on the music of southwest Louisiana. Includes great interviews and photographs of the musicians, and transcriptions of the music itself.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Thomas H. Johnson, ed.
(Little Brown & Co., $10)
"It's like the Light -- fashionless Delight." Enough said.

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