Thursday, October 11, 2007

books at large

Today I'm forfeiting my usual Friday Fifteen to think about books. Anno has invited me to do a book meme, and even though I usually suffer a mini cringe over memes, I think this book meme is enlightening. I've very much enjoyed reading about what other people are reading. It's quite a view into a person's character.

I should preface this by saying that during my life's uprooting of the past several months, I've had trouble concentrating on a good read. And I am now suffering the absence of my favorite books. In fact, the books on this list are packed away in Italy. I won't be able to get my beloved books to the US until next summer. Unitl then I am forced to borrow...

Total number of books

Many, but not too many. My frequent cross country and transatlantic moves have led to my donating many books to local libraries. I single-handedly outfitted the English language section in my former Italian town.

Last book that I read

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - I liked this, but probably didn't love it as much as the person who gave it to me. I had a hard time with all that old Europe seeping through, which was surely a reflection of my own state of mind. The grandmother's hand wringing hit too close to home.

Last book I bought

National Geographic's World Atlas 2008 Edition - This for a family of travelers like mine, feeding curious minds. This is a beautiful book. A treasure.

Five meaningful books

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald - not a light read, but beautifully and poignantly describes decay from within the human soul. I literally could not put this book down.

Collected Poems by Dylan Thomas - Nobody writes like Dylan Thomas. Nobody. For twenty years I have carried this book around and can open it to any page on any day and it's like a fortune cookie. Who else could ever write something like this...

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

Or this...

If I were tickled by the rub of love,
A rooking girl who stole me for her side,
Broke through her straws, breaking my bandaged string,
If the red tickle as the cattle calve
Still set to scratch a laughter from my lung,
I would not fear the apple nor the flood
Nor the bad blood of spring.

Dylan Thomas makes me swoon.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - I can't help it. I love the story of King Arthur. The love and betrayal and envy and forgiveness. And all from the women's point of view.

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy - Connie Ramos is one of my all time favorite heroines, through her thorazine shuffle and visions of Utopia. Read this book.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover - A book that eloquently illustrates the cruelty and ego of those who are righteously religious. And a book about the uselessness of guilt. A masterpiece.

"Maybe I'll even confess the truth, that I rode in with the horsemen and beheld the apocolypse, but still I'll insist I was only a captive witness. What is the conqueror's wife if not a conquest herself?"


anno said...

I share your feeling for Middlesex, and Avalon is one of those books I still re-read every couple of years. I think I'm going to have to look for Fall on Your Knees.

Thanks for playing along -- I've enjoyed seeing the books people have listed and made some interesting discoveries.

Greg said...

I named my son after Dylan Thomas, a family truth that sometimes annoys him: "Oh great, Dad. You named me after a drunken Welsh poet."

jen said...

i loved the Poisonwood bible.

have you read A Fine Balance? If you want it (i am all about the borrowing) email me and i'll send it to you.

Fourier Analyst said...

Anno tagged me and I'll be playing this week, even though I am totally embarassed doing so (sigh). Dylan Thomas --I have that book!! And Marion Zimmer Bradley I have all her books!! I am a sci-fi nut and got inter her via the Darkover novels, but after reading all those I moved on to her historical fiction and was enchanted as well. And the Poinsonwood Bible! Wheeee! I have actually read 3 on your list. Maybe I am not so inadequate after all...

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh, I just LOVED Woman on the Edge of Time and it had slipped my consciousness until you mentioned it here. I also absolutely love The Mists of Avalon. I think I probably need to read more Dylan Thomas. I love A Christmas in Wales, but I'm not well versed with him, in general.

Goofball said...

oooh I just played this meme too. I am afraid I don't know any of the books on your list though...[ashamed look on my face now].

hmm everyone seems to love the Poisonwood bible... maybe I'll have to add that to my to read list :).