Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ten of the best road books

Mary Miller grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. Her collection of stories, Big World, was published in 2009. A graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, she will return to Mississippi in the fall of 2014 to serve as the John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at Ole Miss. The Last Days of California is her first novel.

For Publishers Weekly Miller tagged her ten best road books, including:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

It took me a long time to get through The Road, a post-apocalyptic journey of a father and son pushing a shopping cart south, through the deserted and charred landscape, to escape the cold. I love McCarthy’s sentences but can’t read too many of them at once. After a few pages, I simply stop understanding the meaning of words. I black out, basically. But on the sentence level—on the paragraph level—he really astounds me. This book is dark and enormously repetitive, but it’s also beautiful. An ex-boyfriend used to read this book to me at night before we went to sleep. I could follow along better when he read it, but he broke up with me around page 100 and I had to finish it on my own; it nearly broke me, which seemed exactly right.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Road appears on Joel Cunningham's list of eleven "literary" novels that include elements of science fiction, fantasy or horror, Claire Cameron's list of five favorite stories about unlikely survivors, Isabel Allende's six favorite books list, the Telegraph's list of the 15 most depressing books, Joseph D’Lacey's top ten list of horror books, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five unforgettable fathers from fiction, Ken Jennings's list of eight top books about parents and kids, Anthony Horowitz's top ten list of apocalypse books, Karen Thompson Walker's list of five notable "What If?" books, John Mullan's list of ten of the top long walks in literature, Tony Bradman's top ten list of father and son stories, Ramin Karimloo's six favorite books list, Jon Krakauer's five best list of books about mortality and existential angst, William Skidelsky's list of the top ten most vivid accounts of being marooned in literature, Liz Jensen's top 10 list of environmental disaster stories, the Guardian's list of books to change the climate, David Nicholls' top ten list of literary tear jerkers, and the Times (of London) list of the 100 best books of the decade. In 2009 Sam Anderson of New York magazine claimed "that we'll still be talking about [The Road] in ten years."

--Marshal Zeringue