By Kevin Guilfoile
We had my whole family in for Thanksgiving, twenty of us, ten adults and ten kids, crammed into my house. It was a terrific weekend of football in the park and basketball at the gym and air mattresses on the floor and turkey on the table and presents under the tree.
Yes, presents. Because we won't be together for Christmas we exchanged gifts on Friday. One of my nephews, who is in high school, asked for books and so a few weeks ago I was in the bookstore, browsing the shelves, trying to remember a handful of novels I had read at that same age, books I loved then and still love to this day.
I chose three--A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, and The Stand by Stephen King. I can still remember reading those books, still remember carrying them with me trying to cram a few moments of reading between school and work and baseball practice and much too little sleep. I remember how eager I was to get back to them and how reluctantly I put each of them down. I also liked that they were different genres--one howlingly funny and one epically scary and one whatever Irving is--some combination of quirkiness and poignancy and sentimentality and effortless prose that I am just a sucker for.
Last week, Sean urged everyone to give books for the holidays, but let's start to get specific. If you were buying three books for a high school senior, books you hope he or she will still remember reading twenty years from now, what books would you get and why?