I was recently "tagged" for a "meme" -- something I don't often do publicly just because I talk about myself all the time anyway -- but my librarian friend did specifically tag me, and, hey, it's about books, so I'm playing along. Besides, many of my friends who come here are nerds and bibliophiles anyway, so, here it is. By the way, when it says "one book," you'll see, I generally take that to mean "at least one book." When have I been known to follow all the rules to the letter?
1. One book that changed your life?
I’m a fast reader and stick mostly to “light” stuff; I don’t get into heavy or edifying reading all that often (despite the lofty encouragement of one of my co-workers many years ago who seemed to be bragging that he “only [read] for edification”) but over the years I’ve run into a couple that stick in my mind.
Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot, the story of Jim Elliot and other missionaries who lost their lives to a tribe they hoped to serve. This book, while not necessarily sending me into the wilds of South America, did challenge me to stretch myself.
A Circle of Quiet and the other Crosswicks Journals by Madeline L’Engle. Good writing is good writing, and Madeline L’Engle is the QUEEN MOTHER of good writing. She writes beautiful fiction (particularly for young people), and her memoirs and reflections make me feel like a kindred spirit. Oh to have something in common with a Newberry Medal recipient…
2. One book you have read more than once?
The Story of Fourteen Bears by Evelyn Scott, not to be confused with the currently available Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter (which contains the original book, plus a winter story, and which you can read when you click on the title). Rare book sellers I have found are asking between $120 and $195 for the very book that Mark wants to read many, many times. “Bear,” he calls it.
(Side note: why did a site for The Linux Cookbook come up in my search? This is a book that Tim bought, lost, and then found again and uses, but has no relation to the Fourteen Bears whatsoever…)
A Wrinkle in Time, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, etc. by Madeline L’Engle. I could read most of her fiction over and over and over. I love the way she unwraps a story, and even if I’ve read it before, I can’t wait to get to the next layer.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
A good sturdy Bible. There are all different types of writing here: inspirational, poetry, history, rules (I love reading lists of rules, and everyone who gets hung up in Deuteronomy and Leviticus thinks I’m nuts, but there it is), gory battles, God’s love…
4. One book that made you laugh?
Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. (See her website at http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/.) How is it possible that a book on punctuation could become a bestseller, you ask? Apparently everyone else out there – or at least the ones who matter – are as anal about it as I am. So there.
5. One book that made you cry?
A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle. Every time I read it. If I need a good, cathartic cry, I read it again.
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. The pathos of this little house, abandoned and sagging with a rushing city all around it and no one noticing it until one day a woman recognizes it as the house her great-grandparents lived in brings me to tears, though not always as choking and sobbing as the other day when I was trying to read “House” to Mark. I guess part of it is that I love old houses and hate to see them torn down to make room for new subdivisions of cookie-cutter houses…
6. One book you wish had been written?
At the risk of stealing from Angela, I think Tim’s grandpa Arnfinn’s life would have made a great story. He would never have thought so, but there were a lot of fascinating things in his life that even Tim didn’t know about until after he was gone. What else did we miss?
7. One book you wish had never been written?
Positively Negative, by Marvin N. Carr. Perhaps not that it shouldn’t have been written – I mean, anyone can write something, right? – but it’s just sick and wrong that it should be published and available for people to buy and read. (I would recommend going to this website and reading the “Publisher Notes” near the bottom of the page just to get a feel for the brilliance here.) Of course, since the illustrious author is also the publisher, it answers the HOW and WHY questions of this book’s publication. Add to this list his other troves of brilliance, The Deliquescent Lights and, oh, gee, I’ve forgotten the other title… But then, if it hadn’t been published, what would my brothers and I have passed around to copy edit so many times???
8. One book you are currently reading?
I have a nice pile of fiction (mostly mysteries) from the library to dive into, including Nancy Drew (always fun to go back and see how clever that girl detective was), Kate Wilhelm, David Rosenfelt, and a couple of other random things pulled off the shelf while Mark whined to go home.
Finally, I am working my way through The Irrational Season by Madeline L’Engle, the third Crosswicks Journal. Can’t read too much at once, because there’s too much there. It’s deep, but I can still read it, because, as I have said before, Madeline L’Engle can write.
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Not meaning to, per se, because I didn’t know it existed, but now that I do, I must OWN Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson. And read it, once I own it. I have added it to my Vinson-family Christmas list. I am sure more than one Dunce would find it a suitable gift.
10. Now tag five people.
Mom, this means I'm "assigning" you to do this project, though, of course, you don't have to. But since your London trip is over, maybe it's something you would want to put on your blog.
I'm not going to specifically assign anyone else to do it, because if you want to, you will, but Heather-in-law, Brian, Marybeth, and Tara would be the people I *would* if I were going to.