Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the book I read

the other day e-the-p, a lifelong friend and fellow bibliophile, sent an email with the following request:

Some of us have briefly discussed this, but I'd like to hear from all of you: "What books made you who you are?"

When I travel with my niece I require that she bring a book in case we are rained in, snowed in, stuck in an airport, etc. Reading is not the full time teenage job for her that it was for me when I was her age - 15 - so I'd like to make sure that she has books that have meant something over time to the people I love.

I loved thinking about which books contributed toward making me who I am and thought it would be fun to cast a wide net and survey the cyberhood.

so mouse readers, in the spirit of professor junk thief your assignment, should you accept it, is to post* a wee (or not so wee) list of "what books made you who you are"

I'll show you mine after you've shown me yours....

*if you've never posted a comment now is the time - just click on comment, if you aren't registered, no worries - the mouse respects anonymity.

10 comments:

Len said...

That's what they all say---

To Kill a Mockingbird
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
1984
Of Mice and Men
The Most of S.J. Perelman
Steppenwolf
Death in Venice
Libra
Catch-22
The Wisdom of Lao Tse (a Modern Library edition unfortunately out of print, but available used)
George S. Kaufman and His Friends
You Can't Take It With You

Probably a hundred more.

Colette Amelia said...

Madeline,Gorgias, Love you forever, anything Bryce Courtenay, anything Wilbur Smith, Gone with the Wind, Water for Elephants.

I was so amazed at the first chapter of the Communist Manifesto, and Chapter one of the Reflections of Pelponesian War by Thucydides that I must read more.

And there has been so many others over the years but alas I forget. But I love trouble and strife and the spirit that overcomes.

Gig said...

Growing up during the cold war and the red scare, I was drawn to know more about Russian history and Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were memorable favorites. I was drawn to works that some thought not "suitable," so I tucked "Lady Chatterly's Lover" under my coat, read the Beat Poets, and anything else that was not standard fare. Living five doors down from the library helped this urge!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Wow, now that's a challenge! So many... let's see...

Linnets and Valerians AND The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

The Bible, Mere Christianity, The Tao Te Ching, Emmanuel's Book, Woman Who Run with Wolves, Inspiration Sandwich, The Alchemist, Your Sacred Self, The Art of Happiness, 365 Tao.

The Drama of a Gifted Child

Anna Karenina and Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward.

Jane Austen and the Brontes and John Banville

The Hills of Tuscany and A Valley in Italy

TS Eliot, William Blake, Robert Frost and Odgen Nash.

Well, that's some of them, anyway! :-)

Salty Miss Jill said...

hmm. This is gonna take some time, but I'll post the answers on my blog-diddy. Great question!

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I can't say they "made me," but influential ones include:

The Little Locksmith
My Father and Myself
Lowlife
Berlin Alexanderplatz
The House of Spirits
In Patagonia
Timon of Athens (a play, but I reread it often)
The various Ned Rorem diaries
Vainglory
The Grapes of Wrath

Julien said...

Hum, tough question... at 14 i began reading both in French and in English so there are two lists...
FR :
Don Quichotte (Cervantes)
Les chouans (Balzac)
Le rouge et le noir (Stendhal)
Le prince (Machiavel)
J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (Boris Vian)
Les fleurs du mal (Baudelaire)
Le vice et la vertu (Plutarque)
De l'esprit des lois (Montesquieu)
Les mains sales (Sartre)
EN :
Leaves of grass (Whitman)
Richard III (Shakespeare)
Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)
Much ado about nothing (Shakespeare)
Laws of attraction (Ellis)

kimy said...

thanks everyone! I loved reading what you all have listed and I have quite a few new additions to my 'must read' list -ah so many books, so little time. what is so wonderful is to see how on every one of your lists is at least one book that has profoundly affected me - and made me think, jeez how did I not list 1984 or Communist Manifesto or William Blake or Ginsburg or Grapes of Wrath or Whitman!!! and how did I not list Dune?! little wonder I feel so connected to my blogging buds in the cyberhood!

I hope more lists come in! fascinating.

I said I'd show you mine if you showed me yours! so here's what I emailed last week to e-the-p:

from elementary school these books had the biggest impact:

The Secret Garden
Wrinkle in Time
Stuart Little

Jr. High and High School:

The Jungle
Night
Hermann Hesse books - most specifically Siddhartha and Steppenwolf
Chronicles of Narnia
Little Women
To Kill a Mockingbird
Kurt Vonnegut - during HS that would have been mainly Slaughterhouse Five; Cat's Cradle; and Sirens of Titan (I continued reading vonnegut and will continue (re)reading him
books by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain
and to escape mysteries and thrillers and James Michener books (I loved getting lost in those mothers)

books I didn't read until adulthood, but I wish I would have had the opportunity to have read them as a young human coming to age:

any book by Barbara Kingsolver (if I had to pick just one it would be Animal Dreams)
any book by Ursula LeGuin (but a must: The Dispossessed, next: Left Hand of Darkness and the Earth Sea Trilogy)
Refuse by Terry Tempest Williams
Kavalier and Clay
My Antonia (how did I not read this when I was young!!!)
novels by Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus
Thomas Merton's books of essays
Thich Nhat Hanh writings
Plain and Simple by Sue Bender
The Mists of Avalon
Clan of the Cave Bear
oh my, I guess I could go on and on...because when I think of it every book leaves a little something behind and continues to make me who I am.....

Colette Amelia said...

Ah! Barbara Kingsolver the family who went to Africa, Wonderful! And Wally Lamb, I know this much is True!Also Pat Conroy can sure spin a good yarn.

kimy said...

ca - ah yes! wally lamb - I love his books, definitely would have added him to my third category. hope you read 'she's come undone' - brilliant! I wonder if he's written a novel after 'this much'? last I knew he was involved with inspiring incarcerated women to write. now that I think of it I think I may have actually picked up a collection of their stories he edited. I wonder where it is?

I also really enjoyed conroy's powerful 'prince of tides' - thanks for the reminder!