Books That Made a Difference to Mary Roach
By Cormac McCarthy
Anytime someone would tell me they love Cormac McCarthy based on having read All the Pretty Horses, I'd tell them they can't say they've read McCarthy until they've read Suttree. I'd compare Horses to Hemingway and Suttree to Faulkner. What a jerk! Like I'm part of some elite club that only the hardiest reader gets to join. But secretly, that's how I feel. It took me months to finish this book. Honestly, a whole haircut grew out as Suttree rowed his skiff back and forth along the river. My vocabulary tripled. (In flipping through it recently, one sentence sent me to the dictionary three times—sulcate, ossature, cerements.) I can't remember the book in any detail, but it's still with me. It's like this nightmare I had as a child: I looked into a car parked alongside a road at night, and I saw something dark and terrifying. When I awoke I had no memory of what was in the car, but the feeling was still lurching around inside somewhere.