I stumbled upon a yard sale this weekend that had boxes and boxes of books. Books are the only reason I go to yard sales, so you can imagine my delight.
When I saw a novel by Jonathan Lethem—You Don’t Love Me Yet—I grabbed it without thinking. Then I pulled out my phone to check his other titles, which I know I’m read, and then I remembered he wrote Chronic City which was amazing and insane so obviously I had to buy this one as well. Does that mean he’s been promoted to a favorite, if I buy books based on his name alone? Who’s to say.
But he’s not the first Jonathan I’ve randomly pulled off the shelf (or box, in this case).
Jonathan Safran Foer
One of the few writers to appear on my “favorites” list. Responsible for such brilliant works as Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and I’ve seen both film versions as well. When I learn that he’s published something new that I don’t own, I’m ashamed of myself (then immediately buy it).
I’ll admit, he has a couple books that I didn’t particularly like. But I can overlook this, thanks to The Corrections and How to Be Alone. And it’s not just his writing I enjoy—there’s something about his opinion on anything that makes me want to agree with him. I don’t even care what it’s about.
I felt a little so-so about Motherless Brooklyn, but Chronic City totally made up for it. I browsed reviews for You Don’t Love Me Yet and they aren’t particularly positive, but I’m going to read it anyway. Because of Chronic City.
Should I include Jonathan Swift as well? Sure! He may not be a modern writer, but Gulliver’s Travels is so fun and ridiculous that it would be a shame not to give him a mention.
Should I get into my pile of Johns, too? Maybe next time.