Thursday, June 02, 2005

I've been Tagged!

Thanks to Lorianne I've been tagged for the latest Book Meme for the first time! It's sooo exciting! She tagged me because I'd had to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig whilst at Keene State College, and as she wrote, "lived to tell the tale". I loved that book, where as many of my class mates couldn't finish it. I read it whilst on spring break in a hostel in Georgia. I think it was the perfect situation to enjoy such a book, being surrounded by forest, sleeping in hammocks, swimming in lakes. I think that's one of the main reasons I loved it so much. Anyway, that's not what I'm talking about...I'll save that for another time.

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned: Oooh, that's a real tough question...Too many to count I would think. I recently had to sort out my room at home, and I came across so many books that I had forgotten I owned, that go all the way back to when I was learning to read. I had to give most of them away, but I kept hold of the real important ones, like
Mrs Merryweather's Letter and Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. Along with my childhood books, lined up on my bookshelf are the many text and literature books from my university course. American Studies entailed a great deal of reading, and many of the texts we had to read were actually quite good (as far as compulsory reading goes!!!!), so I kept most of them. Counting those, I have a goodly sized bookshelf full of books of all genres, styles and ages!

2. Last Book I Bought: To be honest, I can't remember. I know that the last book I got out of the Library was Stephen King's Wolves of the Calla - Book 5 of the Dark Tower Series. I have a feeling the last book I bought was
Cinderlily by David Ellwand. It's the most beautiful book, telling the story of Cinderella, but by using flowers as the characters. The photography and the colors are just so stunning. David Ellwand has also done a book called faerie-ality, which is a catalogue of clothes...For FAIRIES! He has made them all out of feathers, leaves and petals etc. Again, the photography and illustrations are breath-taking. I love it!

3. Last Book I Read: William Langeweische's
American Ground - The Unbuilding of the World Trade Center. It was one of our course books, for our module on 'The American Apocalypse'. I didn't read it at the time...*ooops* but decided that I would read it now. It was amazing. I can't really say that I enjoyed it, because it's not really the sort of subject matter than you can enjoy, but I'm glad I read it. William Langeweische was the only journalist allowed unlimited access to Ground Zero during the unbuilding. He delves into the details of the whole process from day 1 until the day the Foundation Hole was totally cleared, outlining the key players, from the Firemen, the Police and the Engineers to the crowds of public that poured out in the early stages, as the 'bucket brigade'. The imagery Langeweische creates is incredible, at one point he describes in great detail remnants of Building 7, The Banker's Trust Building, and the state in which it was left; there were briefcases still on tables, the plates of breakfast left exactly as they were, forgotten in the immense panic, covered in a layer of grey dust, unifying everything as one. It sent shivers down my spine. I'm not sure it's the sort of book that I could read again, but I'll keep hold of it anyway, just in case.

4. Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
There is a quote from the movie Ever After, when Nicole is asked to chose a book from shelves and shelves full, she replies, "I could no sooner pick a favorite star from the heavens." This is just what I feel at having to pick 5 books. I thought it would be quite difficult, as I started to get into reading a quite a late stage, but actually, I keep thinking of more and more....So here they are as I feel at the moment. They could possibly change before tomorrow!
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransom
This was the first book I read where I was actually there in the story with them. Instead of it just being words on a page, I was taking part in the action, I was a part of their group. To add to all this, I read it while we were on a family holiday in Norfolk, on a boat! It was perfect. I could not put it down. When I was growing up, my older sister ALWAYS had her nose in a book, and it would drive me nuts...All I wanted was for her to play with me, which she would do at the insistence of my parents to shut me up!!!! But that summer when I was about 11 years old (I think), I didn't pester her once. I just wanted to sit and read my book! Ever since that summer, MY nose has always been in a book.
Listen for the Singing - Jean Little
Over the years since that summer, almost every book I have read has been on the recommendation of my sister. I had a good 5/6 years to catch up on! One year, she gave me this one to read. It is about a young German girl who's family re-locate to Canada during the war. Anna Solden is 14 years old, and has to adjust to life in high school after years of special classes due to her bad eyesight. When her older brother is called up to fight, and returns blind, the whole family has to come to terms with the tragedy. But it is Anna who helps him come to terms with his blindness, and the bond between them becomes stronger than ever. I chose this book because it was the first book to affect me so deeply that it made me cry. I remember sitting on my bed, and not being able to see the words properly because they were all blurry! Since then, I've become a complete Sop, and I cry over all sorts! :-)
The Alchemist - Paulo Cohelo
This book comletely blew me away. There was so much in it that I could identify with, but at the same time, it brought up new points of view, and subjects that I had never thought of before. Cohelo's writing style is so different to anything I had read before, it was quite simple and easy to read, yet dealing with the most complex of ideas. If anyone hasn't read this, I urge - yes that's an URGE - you to read it!
The Smoke Jumper - Nicholas Evans
This is written by the same guy who wrote The Horse Whisperer - his first novel. The Smoke Jumper is about 2 friends who have grown up together, and work together during the summer months working to prevent and attack forest fires in Montana. Having read this book (and Evans' others) I have vowed that I WILL one day live in Montana. He manages to paint pictures with his words of the mountains, the plains, the forests. The story was amazing, and I was hooked from the first sentence. There is so much emotion in this book, the pain, the love, the hurt, the forgiveness. I could not put it down at all. I finished it at about 3am, and just sat there in complete awe, and I guess a little bit of shock. I couldn't think of a single thing to say (that was coherent anyway!!!). I don't know if anyone else has done anything similar, but while I was reading it, I was listening to Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, and to this day, when I hear any song from that album, I can see what's going on in the book.
My final book isn't actually a book, but a series - if I can get away with that.
The Belgariad - David Eddings
It's a series of 5 books which tells of a young boy's journey of self discovery and growth from a farm hand into the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Yep, this is where my love of science fiction/fantasy novels began. Again, it's all because of my sister, who threw the first book Pawn of Prophecy into my hands and told me to give it a try. Which I duly did with a great deal of encouragement from her, because the opening was very tough going and I so nearly gave up. I'm so glad I didn't and ended up reading all 5 books in about 3/4 weeks, which for me, was huge. I remember one Sunday morning sitting at the dining room table waiting for breakfast, and my mom walking in and being stunned by the fact that I was sat there with a book! Although it's obviously a fantastic story, the characters are believable, and likeable, which means that once they are introduced, the whole saga takes off and is totally gripping! Because of this series, I've read pretty much everything that David Eddings has ever written!

5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog:
Because I do not know many other bloggers yet, I'm going to have to put the people who's blog I read regularly:
Smithee - I would be interested to read what Smithee has to say as she is an English teacher! (I think!)
Jeckles - Who's blog I have recently found and been loving completely! You should all go and check out his post today! It's wicked! I know he was battling "The White Space" earlier this week, so this should sort that out!
Richard Lawrence Cohen - I found his blog totally by accident, but it turned out that I read one f his books for my dissertation last year! How strange is that? The first post I read had me hooked completely, and now I'm a regular visitor!
Brian - again, I think I found his blog by following links here and there, and was honoured when he left a comment on my blog. His posts are varied and entertaining! And keep me going through my week at work!
and finally,
Batonga - who is jetting off to Hawaii soon, and I'm very jealous. I hope you'll find time to squeeze this in before you go!
I hope you all enjoyed that! I certainly did. Thanks Lorianne!


Smithee said...

Oh boy! The pressure to say something interesting. Think...think...think...

Thanks for my first tag! I'm going to consider my choices very carefully before I post them. I don't want to disappoint you. Check back with me in a couple of days to see if I've come up with anything profound. :)

Rach said...

i sure will! good luck! it took me a couple of days to write mine too! I hope you have fun writing it!

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Rach: I'm honored to be tagged by you. I'll do it this weekend or early next week. Also I'll check into the novels you recommend. I love fantasy and sf too -- I'm always looking for new series for my kids, and I end up reading their books. They're like you and your sister -- reading books as they eat meals, climb stairs, cross streets, etc.

The most amazing thing in your post, for me, is that you had actually read one of my books before reading my blog. Very few people who don't know me personally can say that.

Congratulations on moving house and on getting over the mumps.

Batonga said...

I've got 6 weeks and counting before I go. So I definitly have time for the meme. Thanks for the good vibes.

Lorianne said...

What fun! I loved *Bridge to Terabithia*: I'm so glad you read it, too! :-)

Mark Daniels said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog and for getting all of us to think about the meaningful books of our lives. That was a fun exercise, although a bit frustrating because of the need to leave so many books off the list!

I'm bookmarking your blog and will return: I admire people who think.