Many classics deserve to be so, and they include Crime and Punishment, The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, Heart of Darkness, Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, and To Kill a Mockingbird to name a few. Here’s my list of personal favorites, literary and cinematic, some obscure, some well-known:
Carne Tremula – Pedro Almodovar’s best.
Cidade de Deus – Gripping look at the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
Gran Torino – Surprisingly effective film about a crusty Korean Vet and his relationship with Laotian neighbors.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Author Ken Kesey never saw the movie version of the film, and despite his objection that it did not make the Native American the protagonist, it is a classic on its own.
Once Were Warriors – This film about an urban Maori family in New Zealand is brutal and stunning.
Religulous – Hilarious.
Tsotsi – A troubled and violent boy, living in Soweto township in South Africa, and his redemption through tragedy.
Apocalypse Now – Coppola’s epic based loosely on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Slumdog Millionaire – Worthy of all the publicity.
Waltz with Bashir – A harrowing look at Israeli recollections of the sabra and shatila massacres. Documentary and animation, an amazing cinematic feat.
Butler, Robert Olen – A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
Camus, Albert – The Stranger
Chang, Jung – Wild Swans
Fawcett, Brian – Cambodia: A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow Stunning.
Haddon, Mark – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Hedges, Chris – War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning
Heller, Joseph, Catch-22
Hitchens, Christopher, The Missionary Position Mother Teresa…saint?
Kim, Richard E., The Martyred Obscure yet gripping look at The Korean War.
Kingsolver, Barbara, The Poisonwood Bible
Kosinski, Jerzy, The Painted Bird
Llosa, Mario Vargas, ¿Quién mató a Palomino Molero? Murder mystery & look into political corruption.
Malan, Rian, My Traitor’s Heart Great combination of literature & journalism.
Mandelman, Avner, Talking to the Enemy
O’Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried
Shriver, Lionel, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Varella, Dráuzio, Estação Carandiru A doctor, specializing in AIDS, works at the since-closed Carandiru, Brazil’s largest and most notorious prison.
Watson, Larry, Montana 1948: A Novel