My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

A Boring Entry About Books

2006-08-10
Took this meme from midlife mama Ė also the source of all things feminist and motherly (she writes for Literary Mama). She is the original source (for me) of the original Motherhood is Boring article, upon which Iíll elucidate further at another time.

Right now, letís just have a little fun:

One book that changed your life: I have two (I can never stick to rules about The Best, The Only, etc.): William Goldmanís The Princess Bride and Orwellís 1984.

I read The Princess Bride in 7th grade. My paperback copy was my motherís. The cover was lurid Ė a stylized naked woman with lots of flowing hair and creatures all around her. Passages Ė the narrator breaking into the narration Ė were in red ink. I donít know if thatís done now in newer versions, probably not since the movie came out. The book, needless to say, is loads better than the movie, though itís a good movie. I remember finding it (speaking of boredom, I spent many hours simply wandering through the house poking into stuffed closets and piles of things Ė my mother never threw anything away) in my motherís studio and I opened it up, despite the cover, and began to read. Iíd never read anything like it before. Iíd thought adult books were boring (there it is again, that word!) and here was something like a fairytale. And it was hilarious. I couldnít put it down and remember reading it on the school bus trying to hide the cover from the other kids for fear theyíd think I was reading porno.

With 1984, it was assigned reading. Maybe 8th grade or 9th? I had the flu and was home for a week. I began to read and, I couldnít tell whether I was hallucinating from the fever and medications or if this book wasÖ.freaking me the hell out. Iíd never read any futuristic, sci fi-type novels before this one. It was thrilling and scary and again, I couldnít put it down. Iím still not really a big ďThe Future Could Be Scary and The Future Is Now! Be Paranoid!Ē fan. I prefer mysteries and literary fictions where the characters live in the now and are believable. Stephen King excepted (though frankly, I think Iíve outgrown him. Or his writing is suffering. Or something).

One book Iíve read more than once: There are so many. Iím pretty sure Iíve read all of Dorothy Sayersímysteries at least twice. I love me some Lord Peter Wimsey.

One book I want to take on a desert island: All the Nancy Drew books, a reference book like this one, and perhaps The Bible.

Does that last choice surprise you? Iíve never read much of it and if I were all alone for an indefinite period, it would be nice to see what all the fuss is about. At least on an historical level. Iíd take notes, you can be sure, and poke holes in all the arguments for God. But, at least I could then (assuming I was rescued) have some intelligent conversations with believers. Because, frankly, I donít get it. I probably never will but Iíd be interested in knowing all the stories within. Never hurts to learn something new.

One book that makes me laugh: Everything ever written by Donald Westlake and Handling Sin by Michael Malone.

This last is probably the funniest and most painful book Iíve ever read. It was given to me by a wonderful old couple Ė friends of my motherís Ė sheís a pinhole photography artist and he was a Westlake-like character who wrote hardboiled fiction (heís sadly dead now) Ė when I was recovering from having a benign tumor removed (the size of a grapefruit, Iím told) from an ovary. The book nearly killed me and pulled out all my stitches. I highly recommend it.

One book I wish Iíd written: Geez, I gotta limit myself to one? Jane Eyre. I never tire of re-learning that people never change. They have always felt the same kinds of feelings about things: sadness, boredom (!!), loneliness, love, fish-out-of-water isolation, being misunderstood, being intrigued by mystery. Hmm, I think I may need to read THAT again soon.

One book I wish had never been written: I would say The Bible, because think of all the misery caused by Christianity over the last 2,000 years but thatís not exactly the bookís fault. So, Iíll just say every single self-help and diet craze book ever written. Theyíve done more harm than good and made (mostly) women crazy.

One book that made me cry: I really canít remember but I know I cried when I read Charlotteís Web. Midlife Mama mentioned Gone With The Wind but you know? Iíve never read it Ė it just always seemed too Southern, too melodramatic to bear. I used to cry over books all the time when I was younger. I donít so much anymore unless a child dies. But I try to avoid reading those anyway.

Book Iím currently reading: Pale as the Dead by Fiona Mountain. Itís a mystery and the main characterís a genealogist who links a missing girl with Lizzie Siddal and the Pre-Raphaelites. Despite that, itís pretty good.

One book Iíve been meaning to read: Well, there are whole AUTHORS whose books Iíve been meaning to read, catch up and get all cultured: Dickens, Steinbeck and the Brontes come to mind.

What say you?

(Damn Ė I am html-ed out! I gotta go rest my fingers now and do something boring like filing for an hour or two. Oh, thatís right! I actually LIKE to file. My bad.)

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2:46 p.m. ::
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