Monday, January 01, 2007

Resolute Bookends

I have stacks of books sitting in my office, on my nightstands, and in my bookcases that I am bound and determined--i.e. resolute--to read this year. And it doesn't help that I discovered the Friends of the Library Bookstore at the Montgomery County Library in Wheaton, Maryland, last year. That's just added to my pile of to-be-read books. Nevertheless, I bring you the first meme of 2007: The Book Meme. (Didn't I say somewhere once in a year past that I don't normally do these things?!? I guess I lied.)

1. The name of a book I have read more than once.

There are so many and the range is broad. I just re-read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I've re-read The Diary of Anne Frank; Corelli's Mandolin; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Hours; The Physicists; East of Eden; A Prayer for Owen Meany; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; The Good Earth (which I read long before Oprah ever 'book-clubbed' it); Pride and Prejudice.... The list could go on and on and on.

2. If I could have one book while stuck on a deserted island.

One book... One book? Only one book?! Hm. Well, I'm not sure that's really fair. I mean, it's not as though you can simply have a category called 'books.' There are so many possibilities and interests to be had in books. Still, from a practical standpoint, if I was stranded on a deserted island, I'd want some kind of survival manual (and I'm not talking Martha Stewart Living!)

If, on the other hand, I ended up deserted on an island that had materials for building a hut, a fresh water source, and the ability to make fire and catch fish, then I think I'd want C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. It's a tiny book, but each sentence is packed with material that will give you food for thought for days, weeks, and months on end.

3. A book that made me laugh.

A Wish for Wings that Work, Berkeley Breathed. Actually, anything Berkeley Breathed is guaranteed for good chuckle. In terms of all-out guffaws, that would be Sleeping at the Starlite Motel by Bailey White.

4. A book that made me cry.

Bridge to Terebithia, Katherine Patterson. It's a young adult (what you'd probably call 'tweens today) classic and the first book that came to mind, because it's the first book I remember reading that made me cry. It's ageless and I enjoy reading it again from time to time.

5. One book I wish I had written.

Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery

6. One book that I think shouldn't have been written.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Biggest freakin' waste of a good chunk of my summer reading time (read about it here.) Someone should have driven a stake through this blood-sucking, tree-killing tome. So not worth it.

And while we're on the subject, anything written by Ann Coulter also goes in the "not worth it" category.

7. A book I'm currently reading. (That should probably say books.)

Moab is My Washpot, Stephen Fry
The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism, Ravi Ravindra
The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff
Rising from the Plains, John McPhee
Call It Sleep, Henry Roth
Sacred Longings: The Ecological Spirit and Global Culture, Mary C. Grey

8. One book I've been meaning to read. (Again, this should say books.)

Most of these I've read in part, but I'd like to read them in their entirety.

Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
The Holy Qu'ran, Mohammed the Prophet, PBUH
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berend
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
A History of God, Karen Armstrong

9. One book that changed my life.

To Know As We Are Known, Parker Palmer

10. My favorite children's/youth books.

Also a tough one, because I have so many. I've listed several under #1. Others include:

Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
Tikki Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel
The Little House, Virginia Lee Burton
The Cay, Theodore Taylor
The Great Brain Series, John D. Fitzgerald
Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
A Chocolate Moose for Dinner, Fred Gwynne
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
Your Favorite Seuss, Dr. Seuss
Olivia, Ian Falconer

11. Other books that I think are noteworthy:

Woman: An Intimate Geography, Natalie Angier
The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer
Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood
No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, Fawn Brodie
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps, Terrence Des Pres
The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein

I tag everyone who loves to read.


Merujo said...

What a wonderful array of books! Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a fine read, by the way. Over Christmas, I volunteered to write and record several commentary pieces for a friend who is the operations manager at the NPR station in my hometown. The pieces are all for a show on books. It was a lovely chance to write about how meaningful books are to me - especially now with the funky vision. I hope that, in our online age, young people do not forget books.

Anonymous said...

Bloody hell!

I just called in to wish you a Happy New Year, and now you've got me all thoughtful.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was my favourite Children's book of all time.

I NEED to finish reading Birdsong, Porno, and Lady Chatterley's Lover. (I've heard it's better than the film.)

Favourite book?

God, that's a hard one. Too many Janet! I need a bigger bookcase. x

Janet M. Kincaid said...

Merujo: Thank you! I love my library and have a hard time parting with books (except when they're really, really bad. Like the Historian. Kicked that one to the curb like a mangy cur.) I hope you're able to link us to your commentaries on your hometown NPR station. I'd love to hear them, especially if they're about books!

Ms. U: Happy New Year to you, too! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of the best books of all time, I think! I love that book and never tire of reading it (though, ironically, I don't have a copy in my library. I keep trying to find it in hardback, but to no avail.)

Happy reading!