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Booklist: Five Best Books Ever (For Now)

1. Ballad of the Confessor/William Zink.
Of course you've never heard of it. But that doesn't make it any less of a masterpiece. The weight of the world is on the shoulders of the working man. Being a working man doesn't mean you're not also a thinking man. The weight of the world is crushing the soul of our thinking, working, protaganist. We can relate.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird/Harper Lee.
Whaddya mean you saw the movie and that's good enough? Read the frickin' book!!! You find words in it offensive? Cultural context, people. That's how life was. Hell, in a lot of places, it's how life still is. But if Atticus Finch isn't one of your personal heroes, if Jem and Scout aren't up there on your list, it's time to figure where you went wrong.

3. Ender's Game/Orson Scott Card.
How any one man could predict so many things so accurately is alarming. The use of the Internet for, well, almost everything (in a book written long before the Internet was in even remotely common usage)? The scary fact that we believe 99.9 percent of the bullshit that's fed to us? Blogging, at a time when most of us didn't even have personal computers? If the rest of what's foretold in this book comes true, we're really screwed. But as long as we have people with conscience, even if they are children, we will not lose our humanity. Ender Wiggin, where are you when we need you most?

4. Bangkok 8/John Burdett.
On the surface, this is a murder mystery. But with a neat little flick of a serpent's tail, Bangkok 8 transcends gender and you suddenly find yourself so immersed in Thai culture you might as well be police detective Songchai Jittlecheep's alter ego. A book that can both be a whodunnit and teach you not to judge other cultures by your own Western values is a masterpiece indeed. Also recommended: the sequel, Bangkok Tattoo.

5. The Devil in the White City/Erik Larsen.
This may well be the only non-fic I've ever asked for for Christmas, and I was immersed in it from page one. In fact, I can easily say that this book, with its brilliant intertwining of architectural wonder and macabre murder, helped influence my move back to Chicago after an eight-year absence - it made me want to come home. It could only happen here. I love this goddamn city.

Previous Booklists:
* Hipster 101
* Books Most Commonly Owned But Not Read
* Kinko's Kiosk
* The Last 10 Books I Read And Why
* Ten Books I Have Hated Most So Far And Why
* The Beachwood Inn Bookshelf
* Books As Urban Accessories


Posted on November 27, 2006

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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