S.G. Browne

L is for Lord, Lamb, and Lullaby

After struggling to find books for the last two letters of the alphabet, I have a glut of novels I’ve read for the letter L, including The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), Less Than Zero (Ellis), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis), The Lost World (Crichton), The Lottery (Jackson), and The Little Sleep (Tremblay).

While the first two selections were never in doubt, I found myself having to make a tough call for the final spot. In the end, what it came down to was what I would pick up right now to read again, so I ended up leaving Lolita (Nabokov) and Life of Pi (Martel) on the outside looking in.

Lord of the FliesNumero Uno:
Lord of the Flies, William Golding
If I had to name one book to take with me on a desert island, it would be, ironically, this one. The allegorical themes of human nature and loss of innocence aside, the story, characters, and writing are unforgettable. SPOILER ALERT: If by some bizarre reason you haven’t read this book, I’m going to ruin it for you right now, so you might want to stop reading. I can still see the pig’s head on a stick surrounded by flies, Piggy getting killed by the boulder, and Simon’s body floating out to sea – which is one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever read. My favorite book of all time. I’ve got the conch!

Second in command:
Lullaby, Chuck Palahniuk
Had I not read this novel in October of 2002 while on a plane to Paris, I don’t know if I would have ever written Breathers. While I’d written short stories that were dark comedy, I’d never considered turning one of them into a full-length novel prior to reading Lullaby, which spoke to me in a way I’d never been spoken to before. Smart, dark, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, this is my favorite Palahniuk novel and one of the most influential books I’ve ever read.

Last but not least:
Lamb, Christopher Moore
If Lullaby is my favorite Palahniuk novel, this is my favorite by Moore. Subtitled as The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, it recounts the lost years of Jesus through the eyes of “Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff.” I found myself laughing, enthralled, educated, appalled, and thoroughly entertained all at the same time. You’ll never look at Christianity the same way again.

Book that made me eat more vegetables:
Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
In 2000, while training for a sprint triathlon, I cut back on my consumption of meat because eating it weighed me down and seemed counterproductive to my training. After the triathlon, while reading Lost Souls, which contains scenes of vampires drinking wine bottles of blood, I cut into a medium rare steak, took one bite, and realized I had no desire to eat meat any more. (Though, to be honest, I will eat a double chili cheese burger from Tommy’s when I’m in Los Angeles. And bacon smells good.)

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Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 5:43 am

4 Comments »

  1. Awesome list!

    Love Lord of the Flies, and can’t wait to read Lamb — Christopher Moore is a hoot! The Lost World was not my favorite Crichton book (I believe it was around this time that his novels started to seem very formulaic to me), but the concepts are still fascinating, as is everything he wrote about.

    Thanks for bringing back great memories!

    Comment by Zu — July 6, 2010 @ 8:40 am

  2. Thanks for the comment, Zu. I’m sure you’ll love Lamb. I was hooked at the prologue and the opening chapter. I think Fool is probably my second favorite after Lamb, though A Dirty Job might have something to say about that.

    Comment by admin — July 6, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  3. I love Lullaby. It’s my all-time favorite Palahniuk novel.

    Comment by Thom Marrion — July 19, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  4. Well, I can’t argue with you there, Thom. It was the first one I read, which might have played a part, but I’ve reread it along with several others and I still feel the same way.

    Comment by admin — July 19, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

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