Friday Fiction: Overly Ambitious or NABO-KOOOOOV by Alex Snider

The other day I talked to someone who suggested that although they liked my Friday Fiction, it might be a bit "ambitious". I was like, "challenge accepted!" and have decided to out "Friday Fiction" Friday Fiction by listing the last one hundred books I read and how they made me feel. I'll try and keep it short and sweet but, you guys know me -- short and sweet, never! Interesting side-note, though, all my life (since I was like fifteen or so) I thought I was 5'4" I'm actually taller! So literally, neither short nor sweet. Fun fact.

100. Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich -- Painfully familiar.

99. Go Tell it On the Mountain (I have no idea which words to capitalize in that title -- don't judge too harshly. Or do. Whatever) by James Baldwin -- Like reading every word he ever wrote. Every single word.

98. Push by Sapphire -- Fuuuuuuuucked up.

97. Close to Spiderman by Ivan E. Coyote -- Surprised and excited to read more!

96. Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway -- Left my insides twisted in knots.

95. Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont by Joseph Boyden -- Furious at Canada. Rather, more furious at Canada (as if that was possible?!).

94. A Bird in the House by Margaret Lawrence -- Missing my mum.

93. The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson -- Like singing and weeping and running through the rain naked.

92. The Pearl by John Steinbeck -- That's a shame. Seriously though, it keeps coming back to me like, I forget that I read it and then parts come back to me and I feel sad and then I feel -- hey hey, look who still has coffee in her mug! This guy! -- sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, good stuff. Looove the 'beck.

91. The Death of Donna Whalen by Michael Winter -- Hmm, I don't really know how I felt. Kinda sick really. It's all court records of a murder case that Winter just changed into third person. Super compelling and rich but also really heartbreaking. Don't get me wrong, I loved it but I felt sad after finishing it.

90. Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban -- Even more in love with Russell Hoban. My heart actually exploded a little bit.

89. Blue Beard by Angela Carter -- To be honest? A little disappointed. Expected something more...

88. Moonlake by Eudora Welty -- Whoa, Eudora! Shit yo, why didn't anyone tell me??!

87. Babette's Feast by Isak Dineson -- Is it too obvious if I say I was left feeling hungry? Well... I wasn't! I had just eaten! Hahahaha! Consider yourself trick'd! OK, I was a little hungry...

86. Through the Wall by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya -- This was more what I was expecting from Angela Carter, but seemingly with some questionable anti-choice rhetoric. I enjoyed it?

85. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie -- Yes, yes, yes, a hundred, thousand times yes.

84. Ransom by David Maloof -- So glad that I'm doing a minor in the Classics.

83. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov -- Like a really excited puppy, who may or may not have peed a little on the floor.

82. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov -- So excited like when I see my sister for the first time in a long time and I cry a little bit.

81. Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov -- Like a happy baby having raspberries blown on her belly.

80. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov -- Delirious. I saw stars. And dead people. High five for jokes from the '90s!
79. Reef by Romesh Gunesekera -- Like weeping, the kind of weeping that I do at the cottage on the last night when I know I won't be back for a year and it's so perfect and tied up with so much of me and my family and my heart is aching.

78. The Wars of Heaven by Richard Currey -- In love and confused as to why I had never heard of Currey before.

77. The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov -- That ice cold beer after moving to the third floor apartment (no elevator) on the hottest day of the year.

76. Music from Another World by Szymon Laks -- Shit yo, depressed? It was for school and it was about music in concentration camps. And not the kind of Holocaust lit that lifts your spirits and renews your faith in humanity, nope, this one is unflinching in it's people are monsters. Someone get me a kitten stat! And a burlap sack! I just want to cuddle the kitten! And work on a terrifying Halloween costume!

75. Despair by Vladimir Nabokov -- Like I was rolling in the most lusciously soft grass with a pack of schnoodle puppies and kittens and fawns. Oh and baby foxes! Just all the adorable baby animals and me in a field of daffodils!

74. Glory by Vladimir Nabokov -- Like floating in a lake on a really clear, hot day with no cares in the world. Naked.

73. I'm a Registered Nurse, Not a Whore by Anne Purdue -- Buzzed, high, inspired.

72. Remembering Laughter by Wallace Stegner -- I remembered all the times I had laughed and then I wept, silently and violently. Just kidding!

71. The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri -- Definitely drooled throughout this one too. Sweet fancy Moses, she's goooood.

70. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte -- Shit, I'm totally more of a Bronte hero girl than an Austen hero girl. Fuck, that does not bode well. Darcy's boring but at least he's not a dickbag.

69. Girls of War by Chinua Achebe -- Like I got kicked in the stomach. In a good way. Not like violence is good way or a masochistic way but the stories were so darn powerful and intense that I was left reeling. In a good way.

68. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy -- Like what the fuck is Tolstoy's issue with women?

67. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks -- I believe when I finished I chortled.

66. Ironweed by William Kennedy -- Um, like never drinking again?

65. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf -- If I have a son, I kind of want to name him Jasper.

64. Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun -- Relief and awe that nothing terrible happened. And still in love with Knut the writer, not the person (side-step the whole mailed his Nobel prize to Goebbels thing) and not the tragic bear.

63. July's People by Nadine Gordimer -- Good, like really good. That good feeling you get when you read a really good, satisfying novel. Good. Great.

62. Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies -- So excited for school! Fun fact: When I get excited I start talking in an Oprah-like voice, like breaking down the last two sylables of the last word and kind of yelling them. Like "SO EXCITED FOR SCHO-OOOL!"

61. Recapitulation by Wallace Stegner -- Fuck pacing.

60. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston -- If this novel could be smoked, I'd be hot-boxing the shit out of my bathroom.

59. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor -- Just so very ecstatic! She's so unbearably amazing.

58. Ghosted by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall -- Like I had just stepped off a boat onto solid ground for the first time in months.

57. The Hunter by Julia Leigh -- Wishing Leigh had written more than two novels. Hurry! Less directing, more writing!

56. Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver -- Over Lionel Shriver. I gave her another try despite the feminism snafu (see #51) and this one just didn't leave me feeling anything but ambivalent (it was the ending, not her personal life! See #64).

55. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck -- Blue.

54. Lost City of Z by David Grann -- Wishing I was an explorer. Then wishing I didn't have this whole snake-phobia.

53. Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls -- NOT MY CHOICE. BOOKCLUB. Thought it was faked to make herself look sympathetic. Bullshit.

52. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro -- All the more steadfast in my love for the unreliable narrator, the only kind for me.

51. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver -- I felt really wowed by this one until I read the author interview at the end where she said that she didn't call herself a feminist because she has a sense of humour and I was like, "that's fucking hilarious!"

50. The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes -- I wonder if I could make a poem out of all the titles of all these books? And by if I could make I mean if someone else could? A poet I am not. I already have a history of trying to off myself, becoming a poet would probably put me over the ledge, literally. Hahahahahaha! This book was GREAT!

49. My Tango with Barbara Strozzi by Russell Hoban -- And my love continues to grow.

48. The Road by Cormac McCarthy -- Like going on a road trip.

47. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro -- Almost too much happiness.

46. Invisible by Paul Auster -- I can't remember. Can't be a good sign right? I really like his work though!

45. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck -- Jolly. I felt really jolly.

44. Symposium by Plato -- Lonely.

43. East of Eden by John Steinbeck -- I felt like eating my shoe or something likewise drastic. In a good way.

42. Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa -- Nauseous. In a good way.

41. Ghosts by Cesar Aira -- Kinda terrible. In a good way.

40. The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum by Heinrich Boll -- Really hopeless and sad for our world. Sort your shit world!

39. Generosity by Richard Powers -- Angry. Fucking furious that such shit could be published, let alone written by an amazing author like Powers. For shame! Terrible. My eyes are rolling uncontrollably just at the memory.

38. The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch -- Incredible lust for Iris Murdoch. Her writing is the cool girl in school with the bleached blond hair and eyebrow ring and Doc Martens who you totally had a crush on just like everyone else who met her (including all the teachers and her mum's boyfriend).

37. West of Rome by John Fante -- Um, weird?

36. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson -- Disappointed that I hadn't read it like ten years earlier, but glad that I had...

35. Mary by Vladimir Nabokov -- Um, it was pretty good... Holy shit, I don't really remember much about this one. Please don't make me revoke my Nabokov scholar card! Or my Nabokov portal password! Only one of those is real...

34. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren -- I'm actually drooling right now. And my eyes are kind of crossing. And I'm smiling but in a really hazy, spaced out way. READ THIS BOOK.

33. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers -- I felt like I wanted to know people. Like Know them know them. Then realized that if I didn't Know anyone by 25 (?) what the fuck was the point and I just ate a bunch of hash browns and called it a day. Probably played some Street Fighter (I always played as Zangief). That was the place I was at in my life then. It was a bad place. And not because of the hash browns. God, I love hash browns.

32. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Laurence -- Gleeful.

31. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner -- I just slipped into a state of bliss for several hours upon thinking about this novel. Now I'm hungry and running late for happy hour in the park. But hey, state of zen, that's how I feel about it. Good enough? Good enough.

30. Scars of the Soul by Francois Sagan -- Meh. I was trying to read ten books on my vacation and needed a shortish one to help reach my goal. This one was filler. I don't remember much.

29. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis -- Like I felt when the really cute guy with the great smile and every one had crushes on asked me to dance at the closing ceremonies for the Western Canada Summer Games (badminton. Team Manitoba. Gold. Team event #humblebrag) before the song turned out to be Spirit of the fucking West. I do not have to excuse you.

28. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce -- I actually blacked out from boredom and by the time I came to I was three quarters of the way through so I finished it. I LOVED IT! Haha, totally kidding.

27. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison -- Like jumping up and down on a bed and screaming. Or running through the woods naked and feeling the branches scratch and sting me. Gorgeous. Life-changing.

28. Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner -- Like I should be pacing myself more with the whole Stegner thing. Dude only wrote so much.

27. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck -- Infuriated that they make kids read this in school which made me less inclined to read it and then when I did I was like, "WHY DIDN'T I READ THIS YEARS AGO AND THEN AGAIN ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST READING IT, EVERY YEAR?!!!" And then I wept hot, bitter tears into my my glass of chardonnay in which a black fly had drowned and thought, "where have I heard of this before?" TRUE STORY.

26. Remembering Babylon by David Maloof -- Ooof. That's a good ooof.

25. A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews -- Whoa, this one knocked my socks off! Think of it every time I drive to the cottage, past the "Steinbach: Worth the Trip" sign. In my experience, it totally isn't but that's because the one time I went for a band concert in the ninth grade, a bunch of girls threatened to beat me up. That happened a lot. I ain't shit in Manitoba but in Toronto, I'm crazy tough. Shoot, totally should have mentioned it last week in the clusterfuck that was Friday Fiction: Canada Day (sidenote: Who thinks it should be called Fiction Friday? I might start a poll...).

24. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene -- What a romp! Definitely made up for that sanctimonious rant The Quiet American.

23. Light Years by James Salter -- Irritated. Forty is not death's door, Jimmy. Not even in the 70's.

22. Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway -- Like this is the fundamental difference between traditional male USian and Canadian literature, they're both man vs. nature but in USian man wins.

21. All the Little Live Things by Wallace Stegner -- Wondering how Stegner could make me relate to a crotchety old man who hates everyone and everything and probably has carpal tunnel from shaking his wrist at everything that moves. Genius.

20. Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert -- Like I need to read Madam Bovary already!

19. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison -- Second time I read this and it was during a bad spell and I needed to feel pain. And it worked! I cried for Bone and for Annie and for all the mothers and daughters who are caught in the middle of love and abuse.

18. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner -- "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit."

17. The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O'Connor -- How unladylike... Was what I read on the cover! Did I fool you? Did you for the briefest of seconds think I would actually be that douchey? I hope not! But if you did it's ok, I shouldn't have tested you like that. It's my fault. Loved this book. Very ladylike.

16. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote -- Hold up, she was a fucking prostitute? Does Jennifer Love Hewitt know??

15. The Grifters by Jim Thompson -- We get it Jim, you hate women. Message received, loud and clear as day.

14. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea by Yukio Mishima -- Never having kids! The uterus has left the building!

13. Anagrams by Lorrie Moore -- Giddy.

12. Idenity by Milan Kundera -- Fucking bored. This was the book that put me off Kundera for good. Thank the gods of waffles for that, amirite?!

11. An Imaginary Life by David Maloof -- Like I wanted to study the Classics.

10. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner -- On fire.

9. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck -- Like warm honey was being poured over me and not a bee in sight. Bees?!

8. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh -- Irritated that I wasted my time on such a stupid fucking tee-hee clever book.

7. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith -- Blindsided by her awesomeness.

6. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn -- Like I should be a little more positive. Just a little.

5. Going Down by David Markson -- Sexy and hot (temperature wise).

4. Hunger by Knut Hamsun -- Excited, like all tingly and inspired and wowed.

3. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry -- Depressed. Really impressed and glad to have read it but seriously down for a few days. Shit took a lot out of me. I mean, keep in mind that I've got a history of depression though! Don't let it turn you off! It's worth it!

2. The Invention of Morel by Cassares -- Like anything is possible in fiction and in writing and I will one day write the novel that is coursing through my veins.

1. The Master of Go by Kawabata -- Like playing Go.

Whew, that was fun, right?! I mean I had fun (aside from the editing, is anyone secretly in love with me and wants to become my assistant and do all my edits? No? Is it because I overshare? I need to be more mysterious don't I? I should totally take up smoking and stop wearing those ridiculous purple glasses) and I'm on my way to have even more fun drinking in a park with my buddies and a really awesome dog (not a schnoodle but she's still pretty awesome). Hope you all have a really great Friday, an even better Saturday and, I'm gonna go for it, the best Sunday of ALL TIME.

Fool me once, Spirit of the West shame on you...

Photo by Rebekah Hakkenberg

Alex Snider is a Toronto-based writer, a Contributing Editor for the Little Red Umbrella and the co-creator of the Once Again, To Zelda blog, which is where a version of this post originally appeared. You can read the rest of her posts here.


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