11 November 2010

Weekly Top Five - 11.Nov.10

In  High Fidelity, the characters compare their top fives in a variety of categories. Being big fans of both the film and novel, we here at the What bring you our Weekly Top Five, a feature focused on five fantastic things that you should become familiar with.

Good Reads
 I often find myself searching for a decent book to read, whether it be for a lazy Sunday or something to hold my interest on the train ride into work. Over the past year, I came across these five books and really enjoyed them. Each features a main character who, at least at some point, is in the demographic we aim to cater to here at the What. So whether it is running away and joining the circus during the Great Depression or dropping out of college to immerse yourself in the early 1980's punk scene, each of these books touch on familiar situations in fantastic settings.

5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - Reading this novel is an interesting experience. It chronicles the breakdown of a young woman working in New York City in a manner that is, in a way, disturbing. The progression of her breakdown is so seamless that it almost feels natural. Having survived the stresses college can bring, you should find some familiarity with the protagonists thoughts, eerie though that may be.

4. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen - Of the five books on this list, this is the only one I do not personally own. I fully intend to purchase it, although I have already read it, because the story is that good. Gruen's tale of an elderly man reminiscing about running away and joining the circus as a youth draws you in and wraps you in the somewhat bizarre world of circus life. I had trouble putting this book down, and can not wait to read it again.

3. Pretty Little Dirty by Amanda Boyden - This is one of the most aptly-named novels I have ever read. Boyden interweaves scenes from punk concerts in with a narrative about two best friends. The girls first meet as suburban twelve-year-olds and go on to experience more in ten years than most will in a lifetime. For those of us who have lived a little and taken risks in life, this book at times is a happy trip down memory lane yet also a harrowing reminder of what could have been. The story is beautifully told, and the author truly makes the reader feel as though they are experiencing the story as opposed to just observing.

2. Rules of Attraction by Brett Easton Ellis - This novel takes place in the late eighties at a New England Liberal Arts school and its protagonist is the younger brother of the titular character in American Psycho. If that doesn't sell you on this book alone, perhaps you should skip this one. If it sounds like your cup of tea, prepare for yourself for a raucous tale of sex, drugs, and rock and roll that brings debauchery to a new level. If you saw the film version, while good, it's only the tip of the iceberg with this story. An unnamed source once said about this book, "This book is so dirty it makes me want to snort some coke and then go punch a hooker." You will understand exactly what they meant once you read it.

1. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby - Rarely do I come across a Hornby novel that I do not love. Yet, out of all of his works, this is by far my favorite. High Fidelity is the quintessential break-up story as the main character examines his most recent romantic failure by looking up ex-girlfriends and asking "Where did it all go wrong?" Much like Pretty Little Dirty, you feel less like an observer and more like your friend is telling you this tale over a few pints. Also, aside from the romance aspect of the story, you have to admire the characters' passion for music as told through their many top five lists.

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