Monday, April 7, 2008

Another Book Meme

I found this really fun book meme. I love these things:

One book that changed your life: There have been so many books that have affected me over my reading life, but one especially come to mind as having actually influenced actions in my life: The Awakening by Kate Chopin. When I read it in high school, I thought it was fabulous. But it wasn’t until I was in an emotionally/psychologically abusive marriage that I realized The Awakening’s full power. Suddenly, I saw myself completely as Edna, and I saw Edna’s end as my own. That was the turning point for me: the realization that I didn’t have to be Edna…that there was an alternative path for me as a woman of the 21st century that was not available to Edna at the turn of the 20th. Taking full advantage of that was the best decision of my life…and The Awakening was a major factor in that decision.

One book that you’ve read more than once: I reread a lot (though not recently), but the book that most clearly illustrates the joys of rereading is The English Patient. Everytime I read it, I find something new, or a different passage means something other than what they meant before. Over the course of my life, I have identified wholeheartedly with Almasy, Katherine, and Hana. In fact, identifying with Hana made me come to terms with a “relationship” I was sort of having with a German. It wasn’t meant to be and The English Patient helped me realize and accept that fact. Rereading that book has also shown me how much I have grown and changed since I first read it 11 years ago, so it’s as much a biography and measure of myself as it is an exquisite piece of art.

One book you’d want on a desert island: My first reaction to this is to say Robinson Crusoe, as it might give me some ideas for survival techniques. My second reaction is to want The Myth of Sisyphus by Camus, simply so that I could be reminded of complete futility, repetitiveness and meaninglessness of all life, not just life on a desert island. My third reaction is to want a very long, classic tome, such as Don Quixote, War and Peace, Moby Dick, Dante’s Divine Comedy, or even "Paradise Lost", as it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend these great works, and being on a desert island, I would have all the time in the world.

One book that made you laugh: The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. The Funniest Book Ever. I often see those, “If you could invite any three literary characters to lunch…” questions, and I can never really think of anyone specific. But Ignatius always immediately comes to mind as THE literary character that I would NOT want to invite to lunch.

One book that made you cry: Miracle in the Rain by Ben Hecht. The movie of the same name makes me sob uncontrollably as well. The saddest, yet most uplifting story ever about the undying quality of love. *Sigh*

One book you wish had been written: I wish the John Kennedy Toole would have lived long enough to write more novels, because I’m sure that I (and many others) would have thoroughly enjoyed them.

One book you wish had never been written: The Ambassadors. Or maybe we should just make a clean sweep of James’s entire catalog and save the next generation of readers from having to read that crap.

One book you’re currently reading: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. My book club's topic for April is Jane Austen, so rather than read a bio of her, I thought I would be completely unconventional and read Woolf instead. It discusses Austen after all, and the miracle that her works were written in the first place, so that sort of counts, right?

One book you’ve been meaning to read: My TBR list is about ten miles long, so I will go with Possession by Byatt. It's been on the pile for too long. Hopefully I'll get to it this year. I can't imagine how free my book list will be in 2011, when I am finished with the Modern Library's list. Oh wait, it won't be free because I'll probably be getting through Time's list. By the time I'm finished with all the top 100 lists of the 20th century they will be writing them about the 21st century. IT WILL NEVER END!

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