Sunday, June 14, 2009

Playing Along with Book Questions

For those who are not avid readers, feel free to skip this.

Gacked from C in DC's blog, Pencil Crossings:

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is: “This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

  1. Little Women
  2. A Prayer for Owen Meany
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. Jane Eyre
  5. The Yellow Wallpaper
  6. 'Salems Lot
  7. The Prophet
  8. Stranger in a Strange Land
  9. Time Enough for Love
  10. The World According to Garp
  11. The Bell Jar
  12. Woman on the Edge of Time
  13. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  14. The Great Gatsby
  15. The Monkey Wrench Gang
Okay. That was no particular order. Now on to the analysis.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I cry every time I read this and Beth dies. I first read it when I was in elementary school, maybe I was 8 or 9. I bought my own copy through Scholastic Books. It had a pink cover with an oval middle that depicted the four girls surrounding Marmee.
I always want Jo and Laurie to get together. I've read this book more than 20 times.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. This may be my favorite book of all time. First of all, it's the setting. That world is very familiar to me. He's writing about where I lived and went to school albeit in a slightly earlier time. The characters - what can I say? Unforgettable. The story arc. The weird game with the basketball. The death by baseball. Love it. But it's the philosphical stuff that cemented it for me. I read it as soon as it was published.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. If there had to be only one Jane Austen book in the world, this is the one I would pick. I think because it was the first one I read and I was eleven years old. Reading it as an adult, I appreciate Mrs. Bennett in a way I couldn't when I was young. Then all I wanted was more Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Read this around age 11 also. Wow. I remember reading the entire book in two days and wishing there was more. And reading it again. The first person narrative gripped me. I was Jane.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Read it in college for a class on Women Writers in the 20th Century. Okay so it was written in the 1890s. It was the introductory book for the class. Okay so technically it's a short story. But we read it as it's own little book. The essence of the entire class captured in one little 6,000 word story. Creative women have two choices - go mad or kill themselves.

'Salems Lot by Stephen King. I read it soon after it was published in 1975. My parents came home on a Saturday night to find me curled up in a corner of the sofa with all the lights on as I had finished reading the book about an hour earlier. The beginning of my Stephen King addiction. Horror novels at their best. He is a genius. How does he think up these things?

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Discoverd this book in high school. Have given it as a gift many times. Yes. We used a reading from it at our wedding. How trite, but fitting.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Read it in high school. Then promptly found everything he'd ever written that I could find and read all that, too. If the movie version ever gets made, please in the name of all that is holy, don't ruin it. I don't want another Dune stuck in my brain.

Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein. Ah Lazarus Long. Enough great quotes in this book for a book of their own. Every scifi or fantasy author that follows this man owes him a tremendous debt.

The World According to Garp by John Irving. Large, bizarre, complex. Rich with lunancy and sorrow and humor. Read it in 1978 when it was published.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Read it in high school. Was reading before English class started and the teacher noticed what I was reading and told me that girls that read that book killed themselves. WTF??? She really freaked me out. The teacher, that is. But I continued to read as I already owned a copy of Ariel and here was insight into the author's mind.

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. I *heart* this book. I want that alternate world to be real so badly. Read it in college for a class.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. There is enough philosphical meat in this book to read it every year. Read it in high school and several times since then. Let's all muse on quality.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't know how I missed having to read this for a class. But I read it on my own in high school. Have read it several times since then, including when my kids had to read it in high school. Like it even more now that I've read a bio of Zelda.
Too bad he had to burn himself out with booze, etc.

The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey. Read it in high school. Surprised to find that I'm not serving time in jail somewhere for environmental activisim.

There are way too many books out there that have stayed with me through the years. I guess the difference with these 15 is the multiple readings. I used to read more than I do now. I think the internets have taken away some of my reading time. As I used to routinely finish 3-4 books a week. Now it's more like 1 a week.

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