these are a few of my favorite books

[written 01/07/07]

a meme from julia from about ten million years ago. the problem was i love love books and so this was an all-too-seriously-taken book meme. limiting to “one book” proved impossible, so i’ve focused on kid’s books – both those i read as a kid, and those i read still, seeing that YA and kid’s lit are two of my favorite genres. (i was tempted to focus on comic books alone, but i’m just learning about that genre..)

1. One book that changed your life:

easy, the bee book. see?

around 1982, 1983, my dad used to take me into his study every night* and we’d sit there and practice readings for hours*. i hated it – it was hard, i’d whine, i’d cry, he’d yell “try again!”*, i’d start from the beginning and get frustrated and yell out “i hate reading”, and so on and so on.

(* or that’s how i remember it. in truth, i think this was all pretty exaggerated. it was the drama of my life, at the time, though ;)

finally, one night, it clicked. just like that. and since then, i’ve been a happy bookworm. this book though, wow the images are just so familiar, even though i haven’t cracked the book in years. the first story, about a mouse, a monkey, and a bee, are the easiest, but the rest of the stories get progressively harder and boy was i proud to be able to read them myself.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:

a hard choice but i’d say ultimately any number of the l.m. montgomery books – especially the first two anne of green gables books (i’ve read the whole series, but anne mellows out in a depressing adult way, so the first two are my favs), the blue castle, the emily trilogy, jane of lantern hill, kilmeny of the orchard. these are the sort of books you can grow up with! start with anne around age 11 or so and by the time you’re in your teenage years, the somewhat-background-romance in jane of lantern hill will thrill you, and in your late teens and twenties, the blue castle will be so sweet and valancy, the heroine, is very huggable. also, you’ll realize that sometimes an author writes a complete dud (for me, that was the story girl) but how that doesn’t mean you should give up on the author. an important lesson!

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:

ugh, impossible question! ..ok, the encyclopedia brittanica for kids, circa 1982. my dad’s very first job, after getting out of the marines and marrying my mom, was as a door-to-door encyclopedia brittanica salesman. my mom jokes that the very first thing they had in their first apartment, even before a bed even, was a full set of handsome leather-bound encyclopedia books. it’s true! anyhow, in those pre-internet days, my dad made sure us kids had a set too – but the kid version was wayyyy better than the grown-up version. i so wish we had at least one book from that set still, oh i loved those books. there were like twenty of them, filled with drawings (no photos, if i remember right, just great illustrations) and color and fascinating info. i learned how paper is made ( and remember being shocked of the drawing showing an enormous tree being shoved in a machine with little stacks of paper coming out at the other end), where tigers live, etc etc. i love me some wikipedia, that’s true – but there’s nothing like a good reference volume in print. so yeah, desert island? definitely an encyclopedia.

4. One book that made you laugh:

no, two. top dog, thelwell’s comple canine compendium

and nobody is perfick by bernard waber

(in this story, a boy starts to tell his friend a funny dream he had and he’s laughing so hard, they both start to laugh. then, still laughing, the boy has to go, leaving the dream untold, and also leaving his friend laughing but quickly getting annoyed. i don’t know why i still find this funny.)

5. One book that made you cry:

little woman, hands down. i’d never cried before reading a book (except in the bee book case, as mentioned above, out of frustration and hatred for the now-beloved book) and was shocked, plain shocked that authors were allowed to kill off a major character. and a sad ending! laurie marrying amy! and jo stuck with mr. old weirdo! again, shocked and appalled.. and intrigued that maybe there were different types of books out there and that i’d just been reading the happy-ending ones.

6. One book you wish had been written:

nope, they’re all there. ..hm, well, i guess, like julia, i’d have to answer, if pressed, “mine”. never thought i’d be a writer.. there’s just too many good writers out there already and i always felt i’d rather be reading than writing. but in the past few years, i started thinking, well why not? it’s still in full simmer mode, but who knows, in maybe a decade or so, i’ll be ready to start some writing. hm.

7. One book you wish had never been written:

it’s kind of a stretch, but as a child, i hated hated reading abridged books. i had a comic book version of treasure island, and it was abridged of course, to fit the format, and that was ok and understandable. all the rest just pissed me off. dumbing books down to kids! and totally kid classics, like heidi and hans brinker and the silver skates. great great books made unbelievable stupid just because the publisher thought it’d be too.. what? wearying? boring?.. wrong! i obviously have not relinquished that anger. … ;)

8. One book you’re currently reading:

i just finished the forestwife by theresa tomlinson, a retelling of the robin hood story from marion’s point of view. a fast good read, and was that bit of escapism that was much needed the other night. i said a big “thank you!” out loud, in the middle of reading it – sometimes, a good book can just pull you past the bad parts of a day. anyhow, i love re-tellings, and this one was definitely good.

next on my list, uglies by scott westerfeld – amanda loved it, so i’m thinking i will too.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:

i never finished robinson crusoe. i started it, around age 12, and i was just stumped. the words were really hard, i didn’t understand what was going on – it was like i had hit a brick wall, after years of just coursing through book after book. i told my dad and he explained that well, maybe it was just a little too advanced for me. up to that time, i had a strict rule to finish every book i started and so robinson crusoe was an embarassing exception for years. still haven’t read the book! what if that brick wall is still there? .. ;)

10. Some favorite books not on this list:

off the top of my head, anything by:
~ agatha christie
~ anne mccaffrey
~ robin mckinley!
~ john alexander
~ lloyd alexander
~ noel stratfield
~ susan cooper

thanks for the meme, julia! it took forever and a day, but that was fun. oh, and the linking to librarything was not accidental – i started an account there a while back, after being inspired by francesca, and haven’t looked back.

happy 2007 everyone ~ ~