Ben tagged me! And a fun game of tag it is, too. It’s my turn to address the following list of book-related categories. At the end, I’ll tag some people to go next.
I’ll preface this by saying that although we own hundreds of books (maybe thousands — they line our living room, fill our nightstands, and overflow from boxes in the basement), and I love having them for reference and occasional brief forays, I’m basically pretty limited in my reading preferences. I’ll go through waves of reading one particular author or genre (see “A Book That I’m Currently Reading”), but unless something fairly specific sets me off on a new road (a recommendation from a friend, for example, or a profile in The New Yorker), it’s hard to get me to try something new. For example, I doubt very much that you could ever convince me to read popular fiction. I don’t like much fiction at all — unless it’s written by a very small group of authors whom I adore. I much prefer nonfiction, on any of a variety of subjects.
On to the list…
A Book That Changed My Life
None that I can think of.
A Book That I’ve Read More Than Once
Interestingly, although I claim to not like much fiction, the books that come to mind here are almost all … fiction.
- Everything written by Roald Dahl.
- All the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout. My favorite books in the world. I own all 40+ of them; I also have most of them on audiotape, and I listen to them on trips and while I’m cooking.
- Almost all the Roderick Alleyn mysteries by Ngaio Marsh (working on accumulating them in audio versions, too).
- The Blue Hills by Elizabeth Goudge. A lovely, old-fashioned fairytale of a children’s book.
- Beauty, by Robin McKinley. An enthralling retelling of Beauty and the Beast that will make you forget the Disney version and revel in the heroine’s intelligence and bravery.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. My favorite of the series.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I haven’t been able to get through any of the rest of her books, but I love this one.
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo. What a book. It (you’ll pardon the expression) blows the movie away.
- Addie Pray by Joe David Brown (retitled Paper Moon when they made the film). If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve only seen half of a fascinating book.
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I’ve read his other books, too, but I like this one best.
- Voodoo Science by Robert L. Park. An entertaining and extremely well written debunking of “research” that fails all scientific standards.
I could keep going a long time here — once I find something I like, I read it and reread it and reread it. I’ve been reading voraciously since I was 5, and my son is following suit, which is great fun.
A Book I’d Want On A Desert Island
The complete works of William Shakespeare. It’s really long and really beautiful, and memorizing plays would give me something to do.
A Book That Made Me Giddy
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, when I reached the page where Hagrid says, “Harry, you’re a wizard.”
A Book That I Wish Were Written
Not a clue.
A Book That Made Me Sob
None that I can think of. I don’t read that sort of book, for the same reason that I don’t go to movies with sad endings. I read and watch films to be entertained, not to be brought down.
A Book That I Wish Were Never Written
Ben took mine: The Bible. Unproven words, written by an anonymous group of people years after the events in question, which have fueled hundreds of years of bloodshed and intolerance. No thanks.
A Book That I’m Currently Reading
The Mask of Nostradamus by James Randi. I’ve never known anything about Nostradamus’s “predictions,” and I decided to read this after greatly enjoying Randi’s The Faith Healers and Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions. (Like I said, I get interested in a topic, and I read a lot about it.)
And, on audio CD in the kitchen, Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh.
A Book I’ve Been Meaning To Read
None that I can think of. I come across references to books and decide to read them. Or I pick up something around the house and read (or re-read) that. I don’t have a mental book back-list.