Friday, October 13, 2006

The One Book Meme

Fun to read, intimidating to do for all the reasons Ana Maria states, but I get this from an impressive little chain—Ana Maria, who got it from Bud, who got it from James Marcus. Clearly I must play along.

1. One book that changed your life? Anne of Green Gables: I remember coming down to the kitchen and asking, “Mom? What’s a kindred spirit?” I listened to her answer, which filled out the description of Anne’s feelings for her best friend and then declared the obvious: “Anne of Green Gables is my kindred spirit.” But that was the first time I remember finding a friend inside a book.

2. One book that you have read more than once? A Room of One’s Own. I resisted Woolf for years because she was the favorite of my exacting Yankee grandmother. I turned to her at twenty-two just out of a sense that I must and I have never looked back. A Room is my favorite—beautiful, smart, unapologetically feminist, lyrical, intense, funny.

3. One book you would want on a desert island? The Complete Works of Shakespeare. I hate loneliness and boredom. I love writers who seem to create a world, writers who can appear to give you the full palette of human experience. Joyce does this; so does Dickens. Still, for me, there are only two: Woolf and Shakespeare. Shakespeare offers consolation and distraction and I would need both, I think.

4. One book that made you cry? It’s been a long time since I cried from reading a book. The burning stables in Black Beauty are devastating.

5. One book that made you laugh? I laughed out loud a couple times at Michael Martone, last quarter's LBC pick. There are laughs this quarter, too, so stay tuned...

6. One book you wish had been written? A novel by Katherine Mansfield.

7. One book you wish had never been written? That does seem a little mean, but I wasted far too much time on D.H. Lawrence’s Fantasia of the Unconscious. I love Lawrence—and can tolerate him even in the late, hateful Mexican phase—but the fake psychoanalytic stuff is really horrible tripe and doesn’t add anything to the world but meaningless meanness.

8. One book you are reading currently? People I Wanted to Be by Gina Ochsner.

9. One book you have been meaning to read? So, so, so many of these—my whole apartment feels like a giant to-be-read list. I like Bud’s approach to the question and will copy it: On my nightstand is Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit, which never quite seems to rise to first spot. But every change of season, I think that perhaps this is the moment to get further than eighty pages into Proust. I would love to read Remembrance of Things Past. Soon.

10. Pass it on: Carolyn because she's funny & doesn't pull punches.

2 comments:

amcorrea said...

So funny--I thought of different L.M. Montgomery books for four of the above categories. The "Our Magazine" sections of The Golden Road always leaves me helpless with laughter (esp. Felicity's essay on Shakespeare).

Oh, I sense a blog post coming on...

Lovely list!

Carolyn said...

Thanks Anne! I gave it a go. If you're not fond of cheesy food TV stars, you'll like my #7.