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March 2, 2013

Local residents share their favorite tales


David Greene, strength and conditioning specialist at HealthLinks@Foxcare in Oneonta, named another book about the power of the free individual.

“‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ because of the conflict there,” he said. 

Greene said he first read Ken Kesey’s “Cuckoo’s Nest” (1962) as a college student and said he has read it “hundreds of times” since.

The novel recounts the battle of wills between the dauntless McMurphy, a psychiatric hospital patient, and the hospital’s formidable representative, Nurse Ratched, who subtly dehumanizes the hospital’s inmates.

“It’s that epic battle of man against the elements. (McMurphy) sacrificed it all when it would have been easier for him to succumb,” Greene said.

“I think ‘East of Eden’ by John Steinbeck influenced me most,” wrote Danielle Newell, executive director of the Smithy Center for the Arts in Cooperstown. “Steinbeck taught me a great deal about myself and others. Empathy is a powerful thing, and Steinbeck inspired some of my first insights into what makes great storytelling: a love for people and fascination with all their strengths and weaknesses.”

“It’s hard to pick one,” Oneonta writer and Star contributor Adrienne Martini said. But she settled on David Foster Wallace’s 1996 novel, “Infinite Jest,” a tome that contains more than 1,000 pages. Martini said that she has read it twice.

“It blew my mind,” Martini said. “I didn’t realize fiction could do that. I just didn’t realize that you could make it that complicated, self-referential and funny.”

The eminent English comic writer, P.G. Wodehouse, was the author The Daily Star’s editor Sam Pollak’s choice, focusing on the compendium “The World of Jeeves.”

“It’s a wonderful collection of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves stories written by, in my opinion and others’, the best and funniest author of the 20th century,” Pollak wrote.

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