July 8, 2009

Odds and Sods

As soon as the warmer summer weather hit, my brain went into re-reading fluffy books mode! So I'm going to hold off posting about books until I have something to write about. I have 3 good books on the go right now, so should have something to write about eventually. I am leaving the country next week, and will be without regular internet access, so will probably do a bunch of back-posts once I'm back.

I have also just registered for a couple of sessions at the Sleeping Giant Writers Festival that will be held here in August. I'm really looking forward to this!

And I'm going to be participating in this year's Canadian Book Challenge at The Book Mine Set - watch for further postings on the books I read for this.

Finally, I thought that I would finish with a list of 15 most influential books that I recently compiled for a note on Facebook. With some thought after the fact, the one book that I missed that I probably should have included is Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway - I only read it last year, but it has had a definite influence on the way I view the world. So here's the list...

1) Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery) - My favourite book of all times. What more can I say?

2) Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) - one of the first "grown-up" books I ever read, thanks to cousin Hilary, and still a favourite.

3) Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) - another long-standing favourite.

4) Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis) - a book that I need to re-read at least once a year. His thought processes are so logical and clear, and the writing leaves nothing to be desired. I could probably include most of his books on a list of books that have influenced me, but I will keep it to one (or 8 - see #5)

5) The Chronicles of Narnia (C. S. Lewis) - all 7 of them, to be read in the original publishing order. These were read out loud to us when we were children, and I re-discovered them as an adult. They can still make me cry after countless re-readings. It is so hard to pick favourites, but I would have to say that Voyage of the Dawn Treader would be my favourite in this series.

6) Murther and Walking Spirits (Robertson Davies) - not one of his better known works, nor my favourite of his, but it was the first book by Davies that I read (I had bought it to give to Mum for Christmas, and started reading it before wrapping it!), and started in my a love for not only his books, but CanLit in general.

7) The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) - read part way through university. It was so beautiful that I didn't want it to end, so when I got to the last page, I flipped back to the first page and started over again. He is also a poet, and every word in his prose is so carefully chosen. It inspired in me a love for good writing, and also inspired me to try reading some poetry on my own (other than what had been prescribed in school).

8) The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradly) - OK, admittedly not great literature. But in Grade 9, I managed to read all 876 pages in 2 weeks while going to school full time. I remember rushing through my work in class in order to get done and pick up the book while waiting for the rest of the class to finish. Me? Inhale books rather than read them? Never!

9) And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie) - the Thurlow Township library was a 10 minute bike ride away, so ever summer I would ride there a couple of times a week to find new books to read. I think that I read every Agatha Christie that they had, and that was the start of my love for a good, classic mystery novel!

10) Anything by John Donne. OK, I admit that this is an author rather than a book, but how can I pick just one poem (Actually, I have them all collected in one volume, so I'm not cheating!). From the early, exuberance in the "metaphysical" poems, through to his writings after entering the church (I especially love his cycles of Holy Sonnets), I just love his writing, though somme may make proteste at the spellinge, I doth proteste!

11) The Time Trilogy (A Wrinkle in Time; A Wind in the Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeline L'Engle) - In fact, I have enjoyed everything by her that I have read, but these books especially affected the way that I view the world. In fact, I just had an experience last week that was straight out of A Wind in the Door!

12) The Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien) - I'm going to include this book, even though I didn't enjoy it, have never re-read it, and don't even remember the plot very well. It taught me that not everyone has the same taste in books! At the time when I read it, several people that I knew had loved it, but I couldn't stand it!

13) Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi) - I admit, I only just read this one a month or so ago, but it was the first book in the Graphic Novel genre I had read (even though it is autobiographical and so not technically a novel). Wow - a whole new type of book to read and enjoy!

14) Trinity (Leon Uris) - Anyone who knew me in first year university will remember this book! I flogged myself to finish it after it had been recommended by cousin Hilary. Literally, it was painful to get through (at one point I locked myself in my room with nothing else to read!). However 10 years later, after reading and enjoying several other books by the same author, while living in Tanzania, another copy came my way and I decided to give it another go. And I enjoyed it! OK - I guess that every book is worth a second try at a different time and in a different place. Maybe I'll even get around to re-reading The Hobbit at some point.

15) The Bible (God) - Yes, cliche. And yes, technically 66 different books. But still a life-changing book that definitely stands up to re-reading :-)