Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Note on Book Loving

Anita at Fighting Inertia and Its All About the Book has tagged me with a meme and, like her, I am not a fan of memes but I have thought about doing this meme for a while as I've seen it on other sites. So why not do it now?

The Top Five Novels I've Ever Read
(in no particular order)

1. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner--I just read this one and really enjoyed it. It won a Pulitzer in the early 70's when it came out and the fact that Stegner is from the West and writes of Western things impressed me greatly. I would recommend anyone that wants to know the real Western experience to give this book a try.

2. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo--This is a cliched pick as it is a very successful musical, but I read this unedited (1200 pages) when I was severely depressed in the mid-nineties and it filled me with hope and charity. Hugo's real strength lies in his ability to build suspense, even when he alternates his chapters between action and historical analysis.

3. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad--I had to bring a dictionary along with me on this one as Conrad is a tough read, but I still remember this vividly even though its been a good 20 years since I read it. I still love the line, "The horror, the horror, the horror."

4. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway--I admit it. I love Hemingway. This is still my favorite although I've read The Sun Also Rises and Farewell to Arms. Again, I am drawn to the author with the Western flair.

5. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I read both of these in an English Literature class in college and loved them both. I am not sure that Emma isn't my favorite of Austen's and Tess isn't my favorite of Hardy's but I will stick with these two simply because these two are the most endearing and clever.

The Last Book I Read

The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket--hey, it was pretty entertaining if not completely ridiculous.

The Last Book I Bought

I am not a buyer of books but rather a library junkie, but the last one I bought was The Complete Works of Josephus. Exciting, huh?

Three Books I Want to Read but Haven't Got Around to Yet

1. Baudolino by Umberto Eco--I started it but got sidetracked.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee--Never read it and wanted to for the longest time.

3. Yo El Supremo by Augusto Roa Bastos--It's about Paraguay.

Five Books that Have Special Meaning to Me

1. The Book of Mormon--Yeah, big deal. So a Mormon guy says The Book of Mormon is special to him. Well, yes, it is. This book forms the basis of my religious ideology, which is incredibly special to me, and for that I include it here. For those of you who have never read it, it is the story of a group of Jewish settlers that landed in the Americas in 600 B.C.

2. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole--It was just so funny and so entertaining. I was forever changed when I read that book and discovered real literary comedy. I want to have that kind of timing in my prose.

3. Conquest by Hugh Thomas--Never have I been so taken with a book of history. It is the story of Montezuma and Cortes and done so well that I can't even describe how impressed I was when I first read it.

4. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum--Give me a break, how cool is this book? My first real page turner and I still think of Ludlum as the master, even more so than LeCarre.

5. Hondo by Louis L'Amour--The first book I think I ever read. As a youngster, this book framed my experience of youth. I lived in the west amidst cowboys, just like Hondo. Or so I thought.

Well, that's it. I am sure I forgot some book that I'll wish I had remembered for this list, but I'm pretty happy with it. It does represent my literary tastes.


Blogger Better Safe Than Sorry said...

we did to kill a mockingbird in high school and i've read it on my own about another four or five times, it's amazing. i haven't read it for years, i should really read it again.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Well, I'm so glad I asked cause I never would have guessed any of these selections.

From them I conclude:

1. I MUST try Stegner. That's the second rave you've given him so he's got to be quite good.

2. I never made it through the whole Les Miserables even though I was enjoying it when I picked it up. You already have proven yourself more persistent than I after getting that whole Passage to India thing done in half the time I did.

3. You are at least the third person who named Pride and Prejudice amongst their favorites. I must add that to my list as well.

Now, I just need you to explain WHY you liked A Confederacy of Dunces. It, too, seems to be quite a popular selection, but I read it, and while I can't quite say I hated it . . .I was pretty close to hating it. And it didn't make me laugh. I sort of thought we had similar senses of humor so now I'm wondering what I missed.

To Kill a Mockingbird is outstanding. I look forward to hearing what you think.

Thanks for breaking down and doing this. I really enjoyed reading it. I think the books one likes really says something about you . . .

2:58 PM  
Blogger Viamarie said...

Have you tried reading Mitch Alboms' books? Try TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE & THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN. These two books have a special meaning to me.

Btw, I ran across your blog thru Michele's and couldn't help but read your interesting post. I will be visiting more often.

Have a great week!

7:43 PM  
Blogger Indigo said...

Okay, for a minute there I was thinking that we have absolutely nothing in common, until I got to The Bourne Identity. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! Love it!

8:29 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

I just read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time this winter. I really enjoyed it. I like the movie a lot, but now I prefer the book.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Ms. Momma said...

Wow-you read some heavy pieces. The Return of the Native is one of my favorites too! It's such a great story. Some other good ones: Bridges of Madison County-Waller, Ethan Frome-Wharton, Lolita-Nabokov. I'm still working on Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, but I don't know if I will ever finish. I've restarted it twice!

6:27 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

The only two in your top 5 that I have read are the Heard of Darkness and about half of Les Miserable (unabridged). I couldn't get past the war part in Les Miserable. It is on my list of books to complete.

As for the Heart of Darkness. I just couldn't get into it. I do have plans to reread it, but not anytime soon. Maybe things will change.

I don't buy books much either. My last book purchase was probably a Book of Mormon. But I always go to the book section at the DI looking for great deals.

Finally, I have to tell you, that you must read To Kill a Mockingbird. It is perhaps my all time favorite. One of my goals as an adult is to reread every book that I was required to read in high school. When I finally got around to starting this goal, To Kill a Mockinbird was the first (followed by Animal Farm). I sincerely, request that you make that you next book.

Okay, one more finally. I am currenlty enjoying Louis L'Amour's the Lonesome Gods. I can't say that it has moved me greatly, but I have enjoyed it.

2:48 AM  

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