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.

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.