Friday, December 13, 2013

Ten Books

Ten Books.  Thanks, Marie Newell Walden.  I think.

I have to admit that this scares me.  But I'm glad she tagged me, because that means she cares about what I think.  I think.

According to the most recent FB sharing-thingy, you're supposed to:  "list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard--they don't have to be "right" or "great" works, just ones that have touched you."

I know they don't have to be "right" or "great" works, and that part doesn't bother me so much.(although I do retain a slight envy for some of my friends from seriously-literate homes)

The real problem is that I can't even seem to wrap my head around where to start.  It's that "Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard" part that is troubling me. Because summoning those book titles.......  I know that if I do this right, it will take me back to a chair or a season or a heartbreak or an epiphany.  Good books, the really good ones, are like that.

There really is only one place to start:  6th grade.

1.  A Wrinkle in Time, Madeliene L'Engle:  the first time I realized that there was somewhere more than this world and somewhen more than this time.  See, I can't stop using the word "time!  What the hell IS time anyway?!  Mind=blown.  My absent father's Ethan Allen black leather chair.  Spring Break. Age 12.

2.  The Grey King, Susan Cooper:  Responsible for the fact that I still always spell "grey" the English way.  Lessons Learned:  Honourable Good Wins.  Setting Matters.  Fate.

3.  Flowers in the Attic, V.C. Andrews:   Seriously, if you were in high school in the early 80's, and DON'T include this book, I'll call you a liar.  Evil is Real.  Horrible things Happen.  Is it ok to enjoy this book so much?
And shit, that author has the SAME LAST NAME AS ME!

4.  The Chosen, Chaim Potok:   Easily one of the first real grown-up literature books I read ON MY OWN.  A book I chose (from a selected list of books, however).  Haha!  You see now the power of choosing!  Understanding the idea that within one religion, there are many.

5.  Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte:  Lying on my tiny single bed at the University of Lancaster, age 22.  The moors of northern England were my backyard.  It was early spring.  I was in love with everything.  I was the only one I knew who hadn't read it.  The language carried me away.  I had no idea that a novel could be all this.

6.  The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger:  This kid's life makes absolutely no sense to me, and yet I understand exactly how he feels.  How is that even possible?

7.  Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte:  These characters' lives make absolutely no sense to me, and yet I understand exactly how they feel. Another one of the books I "chose" to read from Ms. Six's list (AP English, Senior Year)  Sometimes wish I hadn't read this one on my own, but had had some guidance.  It truly is, as Dante proclaimed, a "fiend of a book — an incredible monster."   Heeeeaaattthhhhhcliffffff!!!!!!!

8.  The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien:  I didn't read The Hobbit until I was in my early 40's and had two school-age boys.  I was blown away.  I couldn't figure out how in the world I had come through my childhood without this.  I cursed my family.  I cursed my teachers.
I could read it a hundred times.  I want to read it again.  My husband and boys are watching part II of the movie at this very moment. I have no desire ever to see it.  Part I was the sorriest excuse for a movie made from a book EVER.

9.  Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins:  Philosophy can be funny.  Everything is connected.
“The rich are the most discriminated-against minority in the world. Openly or covertly, everybody hates the rich because, openly or covertly, everybody envies the rich. Me, I love the rich. Somebody has to love them. Sure, a lot o’ rich people are assholes, but believe me, a lot o’ poor people are assholes, too, and an asshole with money can at least pay for his own drinks.” 
My husband does not like Tom Robbins.  Sometimes I wonder how I can be married to him!

10.  Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov:  Duh.

These books found their way to me through people, mainly teachers and friends, and sometimes, yes, even family.

Not a single one of them was formally "taught", however.

Please share with me one of your ten in the comments, if you feel the desire.  I would love to learn more about the readerly you....


Cindy Fey said...

Love this list, love every book on this list that I have read, love your responses to the life changing experiences of reading them.

Marie Walden said...

I love this list! Many of the books were significant for me too. The whole V.C Andrews series was huge. Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Catcher in the Rye, The Chosen...each of them evokes such a feeling of time and place for me. Like you, I only recently read The Hobbit. Contemplating tackling more Tolkien. Tom Robbins is a new discovery for me. I was amazed at how spiritually evolved he was, until I did a little research on him. And Lolita is my favorite book. EVER. Thanks for playing!

Brian said...

D'oh! The Hobbit! What was I smoking in leaving The Hobbit off of my list?

Sarah Scott said...

1. Prodigal Summer - Kingsolver
2. House of Sand and Fog - Dubus - Hate this book, but it stayed with me
3. This House of Sky - Doig
4. Love in the Time of Cholera - Marquez
5. Portrait in Sepia - Allende
6. The Talent Code - Coyle
7. Wonder - Palacio
8. The Whistling Season - Doig
9. Cutting for Stone - Verghese
10. To Kill a Mockingbird - Lee

I know there are more, but sitting here on the couch, this is my first thinking. My hate of House of Sand and Fog is probably irrational, but I read it at a really bad time. The rest are books that I like lots.

suesun said...

Oh, God, how the hell did I leave off To Kill a Mockingbird!!!??!

Maria said...

Read all of them but Flowers in the Attic. But, I went to high school in the 70's.....