Monday, October 21, 2019

Daniel Mendelsohn's six all-time favorite books

Daniel Mendelsohn teaches at Bard and is Editor-at-Large at The New York Review of Books. His books include An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (2017); The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (2006); How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken: Essays (2008), and Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture (2012). His latest book is Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones.

At The Week magazine he tagged his six all-time favorite books, including:
The Odyssey by Homer.

Yes, it's a pillar of the tradition, and yes, it's the first great sci-fi tale, anticipating everything from Star Trek to The Wizard of Oz. But its greatest virtue right now may be its celebration of the complexity of its hero, who is at once alluring and dangerous, charming and deadly — a useful lesson in the virtues of negative capability in the age of the "like."
Read about another entry on the list.

The Odyssey is among four books that changed Mardi McConnochie, four books that changed Nicole Trilivas, Jill Ciment's ten top dog stories, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's top seven bad witches in literature, Ellen Cooney's ten top canine-human literary duos, Nicole Hill's ten best names in literature to give your dog, Alexandra Silverman's biggest fictional literary crushes, James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello's top ten journeys across the Mediterranean and Caspian seas, Panayiota Kuvetakis's top ten fictional female friends who would make good real-life friends, James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello's top ten journeys across the Mediterranean and Caspian Sea, Tony Bradman's top 10 list of father and son stories, John Mullan's lists ten of the best shipwrecks in literature, ten of the best monsters in literature, ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, and ten of the best caves in literature, as well as Madeline Miller's top ten list of classical books, Justin Somper's top ten list of pirate books, and Carsten Jensen's list of the top ten seafaring tales.

--Marshal Zeringue