Favorite Books/Movies/Music & Pizza Too

Friends on Facebook often post and prod others to post lists of their most influential books, movies, albums.  It is a fun exercise that gives us a chance to reflect on the works that have made an impact on our lives and can provide an insightful glimpse into the artistic influences of others. (I realize that the length of my lists below may provide more insight than you might like.)  As one of my favorite authors, Richard Price, said in a recent interview, "favorite" doesn't mean "best," which means there is no right or wrong -- if I say Duck Soup is my favorite movie, who can argue?   

Movies:  I write about my favorite movies HERE

Modern Fiction
Authors whose books I read as soon as they are published:  Russell Banks, Don Delillo, Richard Price, Cormac McCarthy, James McBride, Jonathan Lethem, Gary Shteyngart, Colson Whitehead, Kevin Baker, N.K. Jemison   

1.  From Ghetto to Glory, Bob Gibson (the book that first exposed me to poverty and racism)
2.  A Theory of Justice, John Rawls 
3.  A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn
4.  Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Hunter S. Thompson
5.  Diet for a Small Planet, Francis Moore Lappe
6.  Rights On Trial: The Odyssey of a People's Lawyer, Arthur Kinoy
7.  Politics: Observations and Arguments, Hendrik Hertzberg
8.  The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
9. The Summer Game/Five Seasons/Late Innings by Roger Angell
10. These Truths by Jill Lepore

1.  The Maltese Falcon/The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
2.  Farewell My Lovely/The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
3.  The Postman Always Rings Twice/Double Indemnity, James Cain
4.  Dark Passage/Shoot the Piano Player, David Goodis
5.  Parker series, Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
6.  The Harlem Cycle, Chester Himes
7.  Martin Beck series, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
8.  Lew Archer series, Ross MacDonald
9.  Swag and everything else by Elmore Leonard, including his westerns
10. Bernie Gunther series, Philip Kerr

Albums (Jazz)
1.  John Coltrane, Blue Train (1957), The Atlantic Studio Recordings (late 50s-early 60s), John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1963), Love Supreme (1965)
2.  Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers  (1955)(and his other early Blue Note records); Song for My Father (1965)
3.  Art Pepper, Meet the Rhythm Section (1957), Plus Eleven (1959)
4.  Bill Evans, At the Village Vanguard (1960)(and everything else)
5.  Miles Davis Quintet, Relaxin'/Cookin'/Steamin'/Workin'
6.  Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin' (1958), Leapin' and Lopin' (1963)
7.  Thelonious Monk at Town Hall (1959)(and all 1950s Riverside sides)
8.  Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco (1959), Somethin' Else (1958)
9.  Lee Morgan, Sidewinder (1963), Search for the New Land (1964),Cornbread (1965) ,The Gigolo (1965)
10. Hank Mobley, Soul Station (1960), Roll Call (1960)
11.  Oliver Nelson, The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961)
12. Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto (1964), Jazz Samba (1962)
13. Wayne Shorter, Speak No Evil (1966)
14. Sonny Rollins, Tenor Madness (1956), Saxophone Colossus (1957), Way Out West (1957)
15. McCoy Tyner, Live at Newport (1963), The Real McCoy (1967)
(see a more comprehensive list of Jazz favorites here)

Albums (Not Jazz)
1.  I guess I'll start with Ray CharlesModern Sounds in Country & Western Music, since he was the first musical artist I ever saw live  (see the story about meeting him as a cub scout here)
2.  Like most of my generation, the Beatles were my entry into rock 'n roll.  (George was my favorite; Abbey Road my favorite album)
3.  As an aspiring guitar player, I got deep into Eric Clapton and his various incarnations, from John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers to Cream to his uneven solo career.  The Derek and The Dominos album, I suppose, is my first choice.
4.  I was also drawn to CSN&Y, particularly Y (Neil Young), with my favorite album being After the Gold Rush, with Harvest a close second. 
5.  1975 brought two life-changing albums: Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run (read here about my Bruce discovery) and
6.  Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks.  Dylan continues to resonate with me, and I still can't get enough of his Bootlegs series.
7.  I was lucky in college (77-81)  to see some incredible music (including my first Dead Show), and became a huge Elvis Costello fan after seeing him in concert in 1978, in the wake of his release of My Aim is True, which was a revelation. 
8.  I discovered Jazz (see above).  I also started listening to a far wider range of music, from blues to R&B to reggae.  Two albums that combine it all:  Taj Mahal, Giant Step and Toots Hibbert, Toots in Memphis
9.  Another sui generis artist I found along the way: Jonathan Richman (e.g., I, Jonathan).
10. Finally, I came a bit late to the party, but discovered alternative/indie rock, and in particular:  Radiohead, OK Computer, The Bends;  Yo La TengoI Can Hear the Heart Beating As One, Painful, I'm Not Afraid of You ... and Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (read more about Wilco here)

Favorite (New York) Pizza
1.  Totonnos/Patsy's (tie) 
2.  John's on Bleeker/Grimaldi's (tie)
3.  Joe's on Carmine
4.  Di Fara
5.  Sal & Carmine
(read about it here)


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