Friday, March 18, 2005

Book Tag

To distract myself from my hideous mood (sleep is not happening right now) I'm going to answer Felicia's tag questions. Thinking about books always makes me feel a little better.

Last Book Read: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

From Whence Came It: I bought this particular copy (a beaten-up Modern Library hardcover) years ago for a dollar from the Brattle Book Shop in Boston. (That shop, with its wonderful outdoor racks of books for $3 or less, is the only thing I miss about Boston. The only thing.)

Books Read Per Year: If you count re-reading, that would probably be somewhere in the area of 250.

Favorite Genre: Pre-WWII British literature. It can be fiction, it can be non-fiction, it can be cookbooks or diaries or volumes of sermons. For some reason, I can't get enough of it.

Favorite Five Books of All Time:

Agony. This is a non-ordered list and subject to change. (I have commitment issues.)
  1. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  2. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  3. Possession by A.S. Byatt
  4. Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Sorry to be so obvious in my choices. Sometimes classics are classics for a reason. These are all books that made me stop and catch my breath as I read not once, but several times, and were wonderful enough for me to go back and re-read them more than once. I have passages from most of them committed to memory.

A few books that didn't make the cut but that you should read before you die are the "Lucia" novels of E. F. Benson; E.M. Delafield's Provincial Lady series; Antonia Fraser's biographies (her Marie Antoinette: The Journey made me sob at the end); Elizabeth Ehrlich's Miriam's Kitchen; the poems of John Donne; the diaries of Dorothy Wordsworth (I like them better than her brother's drippy poetry); and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. On the subject of kid lit, I consider Charlotte's Web to be one of the most perfectly written books ever.

I've just realized I could go on in this vein for, oh, five or six months. But I won't. It's late, I actually feel calm enough to sleep, and Chris will be here soon (thank heaven).



Anonymous said...

Books make me happy too... I'm printing this out and using it as a checklist of books to (re)read.

Jon said...

Ok, so I couldn't leave a comment on your Cri de Coeur entry but is your name Brian??? You photos are brilliant. My photos suck.

Don't you dare pitch any of that equipment. If you do, I'll make you go yarn shopping in the worst store in Chitown all alone!!!! BAWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Seriously, you need to meet Brian. You two should do a show together, have a photo of a flower and then let Brian do his botantical illustration. That would be something!

By the by, I haven't read a single book that you have chosen. I did a poetic interp of John Donne's Death be not proud in high school though, does that count?

markknitz said...

i know EXACTLY how you feel. i often wonder where my twenties and thirties went. i'm in a business where you have to be incredibly assertive and thick-skinned and i am neither of those things. i beat myself up constantly for not being where i am "supposed to be". but i have to keep doing what i'm doing b/c without that i am truly nothing. giving up on your creativity will not relieve you of anything. you're smart, talented and creative. if you don't allow yourself to be those things, you're making yourself suffer needlessly. don't cash in, man, it's not worth it. knit something.

Unknown said...

I loved Possession... It's such a huge, complex and yet comforting work.

Anonymous said...

This is the encouragement I need to get through possession. Its been a bit slow in the beginning, but it seems like a book I should really love. I'll keep going and prepare to be fully enchanted.

- Claire, a new reader who is really enjoying your site.