Sunday, September 11, 2005

Togged again...

A while back, I was blog tagged by Molly to write about what I'd be if I weren't myself. Fun assignment! I dutifully togged a couple of other folks, including Ova Girl. Ova Girl wrote a delightful response, and in the process, tagged me back. I have been completely and utterly remiss in answering, although I never forgot about it. Now that I'm just wasting away on bcp (actually, doing whatever the opposite of wasting is), and have nothing relevant to say, I figured I'd finally complete my assignment, which was to answer some questions about books:

1) Total number of books I’ve owned:

That’s a tough question. At the moment, I probably have around 100 in my house, coz it’s little and we don’t have that much space for bookshelves. Plus we’re eventually going to move into a bigger house, and books are heavy! Over my lifetime, I’d probably say around 500? I was such a nerd as a kid I actually used to spend my allowance to buy books, as well as taking them out of the library. As a youngster my favorite books were all the British series about kids at boarding school – Mallory Towers was one of them, I can’t remember the names of the others (if you know, please do remind me!). Also Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. What fun! After we moved to the US, my two fav series were the sweet valley high books, partly because they gave me a glimpse of the life of the cool kids I’d never be(en) privy to, and the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. Lots of magic and nifty stuff like that.

2)Last book I bought:

Harry Potter. But that’s boring. So I’ll tell you about the book previous to that – Don Quixote by Cervantes. Why, you ask? Well, I truly feel that my literary education was lacking. I went to an excellent high school which provided a much more college-like education than your typical secondary school, in the sense that there were only a few core classes one was required to take, then the remainder were electives. You had to take four years of English, three of math, three of science (or something like that), but there were a lot of different choices in each of those fields. So I chose classes like Shakespeare, Irish literature, Contemporary literature… where I read a lot of good books, but never the classics. No Charles Dickens, no Emily Bronte, none of the books that are referred to in so many different contexts. And I’ve regretted it ever since. A few months ago I came across the book “A Well Educated mind”. Exactly what I was looking for – a road map, teaching me first about the genesis of the contemporary novel and tracing its evolution, and second, how to really read a book to discover what the author is really trying to say, rather than just reading superficially for the story, which is my usual modus operandi. The first book recommended for this literary self-education was Don Quixote. I bought it on our trip to South Africa in Feb/Mar, finally finding it after looking in about ten different bookstores. Of course now I’m only on about pg. 50. But I do eventually intend to read it.

3)Last book I read:

Gunpowder Empire by Harry Turtledove. Quick read, amusing story, but not a work of art by any means.

4)5 books that mean a lot to me.

Mean a lot to me? I’m not quite sure how to take that. So I’ll just tell you about my all time favorites. Lord of the Rings. Tried to read it for the first time when I was twelve. Didn’t make it. Finally got through on my third try at fifteen, and have probably re-read the trilogy four or fives times since then. Ender’s Game (and the rest of the series, but EG is by far the best) by Orson Scott Card. Fantastic story. If you like sci-fi/fantasy and haven’t already read it, it’s a must. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. M had been after me to read it for a while, to try and explain some of his libertarian viewpoints to me, a bleeding heart liberal. Extremely thought provoking. That’s all I can come up with at the moment.


thalia said...

The boarding school books are probably "St Clares", or, "The twins at St Clares", by Enid Blyton, and the Chalet School series by Eleanor Brent Dyer (or Dryer?).

I'm now feeling poorly educated because I haven't read Don Quixote. I'll add it to my list.

Molly said...

Ooo . . . that Well-Educated Mind book sounds good. I should probably do something like that to train myself back into using my brain on a regular basis again if I plan to go back to school next fall . . .

Also must read Don Quixote.

Ova Girl said...

I love the St Clare's series. In fact just this year I read the Twins at St Clares and the final one set in the last year which I had never read. They are so obviously one of the seeds of Hogwarts.

And Claudine at St Clare's is my fave because she was soooo naughty!