Friday, August 18, 2006

Chick Lit

Lisalou from Here's Hoping tagged me for a bit of a literary confessional....

One book that changed your life:

As a young person: Paul Zindel’s ode to high school life and mental illness, Harry and Hortense at Hormone High. As a child I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books as well as the Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry. My favorite picture book was a drug addled fairy tale called The Thing in Delores Piano about a litle girl who is terrible a terrible musician and her piano conspires to lock up to keep her from playing. My mother found me a copy for Christmas last year and for the life of me, I can’t remember why I was so in love with it. The illustrations are grotesque and obviously done under the influence of magic mushrooms.

As an Adult: I was blessed with a few really amazing educators in high school and one of them recommended A Prayer for Owen Meaney to me for a summer read. While my own relationship with the Almighty fell by the wayside some time back, finding a story that ultimately comes down to a renewal of faith in someone so desperately lacking touched me very deeply.

Following in the same vein, the last of Phillip Pullman’s humanist classic His Dark Materials trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, is also on my list of uplifting favorites.

One book that you've read more than once: I often find myself revisiting books that I love. I actually just finished re-reading Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom Trilogy, (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorson) probably one of the best fantasy series written in recent years. When I have a spare moment, I often pick up old Terry Pratchett novels to peruse. Not too long ago I re-read Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, a real must for anyone who has a brilliant sense of humor about Chistianity, but also wants a thoughtful read.

One book you would want on a desert island: Questions like this are utterly impossible, so just on gut instinct, I’d have to say either The Lord of the Rings trilogy or my volume of all of the Hitchhiker’s Guide series. Both choices because they’re long. Lord of the Rings especially has some parts that I know I’ve glazed over. Tolkein had this thing about interrupting a story to tell you some history, which really gets on my tits. There’s a huge battle going on, and then he’ll say something like, “Frodo looked up towards the mountain. This mountain used to be inhabited by such and such clan of Elves during the time of King Whatshisbutt in the time of the 3rd coming.” And so on and so on. I’m like, “Get back to the battle!”

One book that made you laugh: Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman killed me, as did the aforementioned Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Humorous lit is a sketchy area; go too far one way or the other (highbrow or lowbrow) and you’re cooked. Jasper Fforde’s brilliant Thursday Next series is also worth reading if you love literary in-jokes.

One book that made you cry: The most recent book that made me totally lose my shit was The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Before I had my current job, I worked in a small jewelry shop, often by myself. I read the ending of this book on my lunch break and then literally had to shut the shop for 20 minutes while I had a good sob in the basement. I’m a goon.

One book that you wish had been written: Difficult question. I suppose my answer would be, “continuations of stories that I love.” Stories I don’t feel are quite finished yet.

One book that you wish had never been written: On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. A useless waste of paper about a teenage stoner wandering the US and perpetrating small acts of unkindness on others. The mythology that’s been built around this piece of crap is unfathomable to me. I’ve always been determined to finish whatever book I’m reading, even if I don’t like it, but On the Road broke me of that. I was about halfway through it in bed one night when I just threw it across the room and said, “Fuck this book!” Life is too short for terrible literature.

The book that you are currently reading: Literally, just last night I finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. While I liked it, it seemed to be trailing in on the coattails of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time; autistic kid tries to make sense of a world that’s falling apart around him. Seriously anti-climactic ending. Probably going to the charity shop.

One book that you have been meaning to read: The classics, really. I haven’t attempted to tackle Jane Austin since high school (I hated it then) nor have I sought out any Dickens or Bronte. I’ve never read Moby Dick or Vanity Fair, so I suppose if I want to consider myself a member of the literatti, I’d probably better get cracking.

So, Molly, would you care to be next to show us what's in your literary lunchbox?


Mollywogger said...

Oooo! I'm tagged!

Will need to start pondering, stat.

lisalou said...

My husband keeps the Lord of the Rings books on his beside table and no matter what book he is currently reading he will re-read a portion of one of them almost every night. I have been with him for six years and I know he read these books a least ones long long before he met me. I love him for this little fetish. Now I know he's not alone.

The Town Criers said...

I cried straight through Time Traveler's Wife too. If it wasn't the recurrent m/c, it was imagining the day you would be parted from your spouse. I love the book, but I always give it to friends with a warning.

lisalou said...

My husband is currently hunting down and reading a lot of the books on your list. It turns out he has the same taste in books as you do. Thanks!