Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book Meme

Don't fall over but I am doing a meme. Want to know why?

Because Jenn in Michigan places a comment on my joint photoblog with Jenn in Holland nearly every day.

Nearly. Every. Day.

That makes her close to one of my favorite people in the world. My telepathy doesn't work very well so unless you leave a nice little note at Looking Into after looking AT our daily photographs, I don't know you've been there. Jenn tells us every day. And both Lady Holland and I really, really appreciate it. So much that I will break my no meme stance to answer her questions.

Oh, and it is about books. I love books. So here we go.

Total number of books

You are kidding right? Between my adult books and the kids literature? Way too many to count. The book aisle at the big box store is a magnet for me. The lovely local independent children's book store a mile from my house? I must support it to ensure our local economy and the arts are thriving.

Last book read

Funny, I'd been planning a post about Gravesend Light by Daniel Payne. I picked this book up during our family vacation over the summer. It was gripping. Set in the early 1980's it was the story of a young man coming to terms with his family and the childhood turmoil he experienced. All of this while falling in love with a woman obstetrician who performed abortions in a religious conservative community. The author went back and forth between the two characters - the man's perspective was told from the third person while the woman's was from the first. The man's story was both current events and flashbacks while her story stayed current. It was fascinating, at times infuriating, and very worth the read.

Last book bought

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. I'm up to the King Phillip War. Oh dear, the children of the Pilgrims were horrid, horrid people. Have I admitted publicly that I am a descendent of William Brewster?

Five meaningful books (Only FIVE? This part is really hard.)

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster - This book led to my love of all things Italian (nothing like a gay British man to do that to a girl). After reading it I decided my high school senior thesis would be about female protagonists in Forster's novels. And I spent my junior year of college in Italy. Really just so I could stand in the middle of the Piazza next to the Uffizi and quote Eleanor Lavish (pronounces "La-veeeesh") "A young girl, transfigured by Italy! And why shouldn't she be transfigured? It happened to the Goths!"

Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - "As the novel opens, the U.S. government has been overthrown several years earlier, and been taken over by Christian fundamentalists who have made it into a theocratic state." Need I say more?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman - long before the movie, I was an 8th grader huddled under my covers reading late into the night. Buttercup is being pulled by the Dread Pirate Roberts along a ledge. She pushes him down and as he rolls farther and farther away he yells "As..... you.... wish."

I HAD NO IDEA HE WAS HIM! How cool is that to have a story completely take an unexpected turn. I cannot wait to read it to my kids. They have no idea it was a movie.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds - this is a children's book that I love reading to my children again and again. It is a simple story with lovely illustrations about a girl who thinks she cannot draw and what happens to her and her art when she realizes even her dots are art. Reynolds illustrates the Judy Moody and Stink books.

Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrent and Robert Browning by Julia Markus - I'm not much of a poetry reader but I love all things Italian (see A Room with a View above) and especially anything set in Florence. So while I've never read her Sonnets from the Portugese or his Men and Women, I knew this was a love story worth knowing. Barrett married Browning after a secret courship in spite of her poor health and a domineering father. They lived in Florence for 15 years until she died. They were political firebrands who madly loved each other. Firebrands in love living in Florence? Yummy.

I am going to put in a special plug for The New Yorker. I just love that magazine. It is a weekly dose of reading I wish I could enjoy more. And I come from a long line of New Yorker lovers. My grandmother was very proud of the fact that she began subscribing to magazine the second year of its publication. Someone in my family has been subscribing since 1927.

I tag two of you - The Ambassador and Flower Child. Go forth and tell us about your literary life!


Jodi said...

Handmaids Tale is my favorite book ever!

Flower Child said...

oh geez so much pressure.

painted maypole said...

i love the freedom of the 5 influential books question, and love your answers. Must add them to my (rather long)list of books to read.

painted maypole said...

oops! forgot to mention... I read about you on page 15 in my newsweek today! ;)

Fourier Analyst said...

How in the world can you possibly call me smart (I read your comment and rushed right over!)? Look at you so multi-dimensional and literary. I am so embarrassed that I barely get around to one book a year! You struggle to limit to 5, I struggle to come up with (I had to go back over a decade!!) Even your periodical plug is highbrow -- New Yorker!! i get to read about things that have been mentioned there occasionally in my Time magazine. I am so in awe of your talent and your list, don't you dare think you can't talk to me! If your brain is only the size of a walnut, it is because it is being totally used up. My is the big fat mushy sponge that soaks up every bit of trivia and information I can come across and tries to make sense of it. About the only thing it is good for these days is holding my big head of hair in place. And that job may be in danger as I am starting to feel like pulling it out...but that is a different blog!

Jenn in Holland said...

Books! Books! Books! Books! I LOVE BOOKS!
I got tagged for this one too and I am not sure how I can narrow it down and make a favorites list. Seriously. That seems an impossible task.
I love your list though, and intend to add those which I haven't yet read to my library. Upon your recommendation, how could I not?

chelle said...

The Princess Bride by William Goldman -


Ok I must find that! I (heart) that movie and books ... always WAY better than the movies!

cathouse teri said...


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

How could I have left off "A Room with a View????" And how could I have missed stopping here for two whole days when you did the meme AND gave a plug for my writing fun. Yikes... well, I can only say that it's been a wild two days on this end. I LOVED your list. Thanks so much for playing, because I was really curious about what my friends read! And now I know, a little bit. ;-) I also loved The Handmaid's Tale, but I still find it so, so disturbing. And I want to read The Dot.

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

um, big surprise, Room With A View is one my all time fave books.