My best Staff Favorite ever was A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley, because:
- Many people had never heard of it;
- My shelf-talker was passionate and convincing (something about how cheated
I felt that I had lived 26 years on this earth before someone told me about this great novel);
- it's awesome; and
- booze played a prominent role in the book, and San Franciscans love their booze (and boozy books).
My newest addition to the Staff Faves display is Fahrenheit 451. This pick could go either way: everyone has heard of it, but I'm hoping that many readers have just never gotten around to it, as I hadn't until a long plane trip to Nicaragua last month.
The thing about a book like this is that you think you "get it," even if you haven't read it. It's become so ingrained in our consciousness, like Pride and Prejudice or Moby Dick, that anyone who reads books pretty much "gets it."
But you can't, you don't, until you really do read it. Or at least that's what happened to me. The reason Fahrenheit 451 has held up for long is not just the easily imagined dystopian world in which books are burned, but in the powerful narrative, the eerie unexplained parts, Bradbury's prescience about wall-mounted TVs, the humor and lust and loss.
You just have to read it.