I should get this off my chest right away. As a writer, I’m a bit of a frenzied loon when it comes to recommending fiction. Overly zealous? Yup. Opinionated to the point of grating? Sure. Once I stumble upon something that bowls me over (no matter what the genre or format) I’m the world champion at the evangelizing throat-throttle.
The source of this fervor, or fever if you will, probably originates from my appreciation of life’s linear limits, as in, with what little time we have, why read something trite when you can read something astonishing? Luckily the immense world-interpreting power of fiction occurred to me at an early age, and now I recognize this as a blessing. I say luckily because many in my life back then scornfully advised that fiction (sci-fi, horror, and comics especially) were an utter waste of my time. Every now and then I run into these same cynics and I’m not surprised by their vast existential bewilderment. Regrettably, the narrative lens that could’ve helped them understand our crazy and fragile world they eschewed long ago.
Now as an author, I occasionally get asked for my favorite novel. For bibliophiles this is always an exacting question, but for writers it’s a nearly impossible one. But if forced to name the book I push most often on others it is Thomas McGuane’s 1973 novel Ninety-two in the Shade.