Tuesday, 19 September 2006

A bookish meme

I was tagged by Gordon. And it was very hard.

This probably is not what the question means, but it is a Ladybird early reader called The Farm, which was the very first book I could read on my own. I remember, still, the wonder of knowing what those black marks meant. I read it over and over. There was one sentence on each page, along the lines of ‘The farm. This is the farm. A cow. This is a cow.” But it was incredibly exciting and truly did change my life.

If that won’t do, then Milton’s Paradise Lost. Because of his wonderful use of language, which triggered a new appreciation of Latin as well as English when I was sixteen years old.

I’ve read so many books more than once. I do not reread nearly so many now. Time was, I thought there was all the time in the world. Now there are just all the books in the world and I’m never going to read them all, even the good ones.

A book that I still reread (and have this year) is The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler. I adore it. “She was small and delicately put together, but she looked durable.” This is from memory, I hope it’s right. It’s a wonderful line.
Also, Philip Marlowe is Humphrey Bogart in my mind and he is my all-time film heartthrob. I think it was the sight of him falling in love with Lauren Bacall during To Have and Have Not.

That probably depends whether I get the Bible and Shakespeare too, because if I did, I’d certainly want some light relief.

I think I’ll go for the short stories of Saki (H.H.Munro) because I have enjoyed them for 40 years and they haven’t palled yet.

I have been known to snort helplessly with laughter, usually in an inappropriate place, with quite a few books. Bill Bryson comes to mind as a culprit.

However, I’ll nominate Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, because I only laughed once, but it was in sheer pleasure. It was near the end, when Pi was nearing the American coast and I was wondering how on earth a plausible conclusion could be reached – and then, in one bound, it did. It made sense, in a nonsensical way, of the whole book and was clever and enjoyable.

You either get this book or you don’t, I suspect.

I don’t really appreciate manipulatively weepy books or films and a tearjerker, even if it works, can be quite annoying. But, like Gordon, I will say The Time-Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I don’t even know if it was really that moving (except in a fourth dimensionally sort of way) or well written, because it gripped me so much that I lost my critical senses, but I cried an awful lot.

Anything by Jane Austen. I have to choose? Persuasion.

Oh goodness, if I read a book that was as unpleasant as that, I would have tried to forget it as quickly as possible.

I will say the Reader’s Digest Book of Look Up Your Symptoms And Diagnose Your Own Illness (whatever it was actually called), because it worried my mother a great deal, but she couldn’t resist reading it. I really wanted to burn that book.

Will and Me – how Shakespeare took over my life, by Dominic Dromgoole. Ro gave it to me for my birthday. I saved it for a week to enhance the pleasure of starting it (and, too, I was reading another birthday book, slowly and with great pleasure), so I’ve only just begun.

I haven’t read War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, for years and it’s a book I love and I am intending to reread soon. I have lost my copy though and have to buy a new one.

This probably, however, means a book I haven’t read yet. And not one of those classic 'should have read but will I ever?' So, in that case, John Peel's autobiography, Margrave of the Marshes. Wonderful John Peel; I and all my children, all three decades of us, were devastated when he died. "Well" said Ro gloomily, "I don't suppose I'll ever have a reason to listen to Radio 1 again." I would have read the book already, but two of the kids own it and I was thinking they might lend......no, no, you're right, I should buy my own copy.

Oh, this is the hardest, I think. I hate to ask, it seems an imposition. But there we go, treat it as an invitation and you are welcome to say no.

I’ll say:
How do we know – because she tagged me and we feel a friendly closeness, although we haven’t met.
Life of a Banana – because I guessed hairdresser, when some people were prepared to be shocked – or said they were.
Geena – because she is a darling, although she might not have time for this and so mustn’t think I’ll mind if she says no.
Diamond Weeza – because I’m the only person who comments on her blog and I can’t think why, unless it’s that she doesn’t update often enough.

And Al B., a pal who lurks daily and hasn’t a blog as far as I know. I offered him, a long time ago, a guest slot – this is it, honey. Email me and I’ll post the answers.


How do we know said...

Thank you for the tag Zoe!! Will do it tomorrow sometime.. will really need to think through this one! :-)

Geena said...

Oh my oh my - an intellectual tag! Blimey.

Actually I will do it..I am stuck at home with a sick Tigga and it will give me something to do - he doesn't like me running around doing my chores but is perfectly happy for me to tonk about on my PC while he lounges on the sofa behind me and watches films.

I'm afraid I am not very highbrow in my reading matter though - no Austen and Shakespeare and Tolstoy on my shelves...:o(..although I don't quite stoop to Hello!

Z said...

I'll look forward to it, both of you.

Mine was a mixture, I'm no literary giant Geena. I read everything in sight. Even Hello if it's there, although I don't think I'd actually buy it........

Jane said...

Bill Bryson makes me laugh like an idiot ack I should have thought of him.

Interesting choice I will hve to check some of them out.

Z said...

Hello Jane -I enjoyed comparing choices.

Geena said...

If you like Bill Bryson - and tell me who can not like his writing and giggle helplessly all the way through...then you may want to try Stephen Clarke - the author of the 'Merde' series...about his experiences in France...I guffawed my way through Merde Actually and would love to get his other books.

Z said...

Thanks Geena, I'll look out for his books.

Dandelion said...

Diamond Weeza – because I’m the only person who comments on her blog and I can’t think why, unless it’s that she doesn’t update often enough.

Not no more, Thelma

diamondweeza said...

Oh blimey - I will have to go blog, thanks Z, you keep me on the straight & narrow!

I might try The Big Sleep - tahnks for mentioning it.

Z said...

There we go, Dandelion - we've prompted DW.

DW - I adore Raymond Chandler. He is a very good writer, and I love his 'hard-boiled' crime fiction.

How do we know said...

Here goes Zoe:

1. 1 book that changed my life : The Geeta - ancient Indian book on philosophy that has been cloned god knows how many times!

2. One book that i've read more than once: Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse. And am thinking of reading it one more time.. then there is a book called "Martin".. its about the cancer of a 10 year old child and how he and his mother get closer as they fight the battle together.

3.One book that you'd want on a desert island: One that has enough sap to keep me hydrated. Desert islands are scary boss.. and no place for books!

4. One book that made you laugh:
What has made me laugh the most is the blog of twisted DNA.

5. One book that made you cry: Martin, as mentioned above. I still have not been able to finish this book.

6. One book you wish you'd written: None.I wasnt born to write.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: All books that preach hatred for another system of belief. I truly hate them. Books that say that everyone who does not follow Christianity is Pagan and books that say that whoever does not follow the Quran is a kaafir and books that say that the Hutus are worse than Tutsis.. all these books. I wish people would not write them. And i wish other people would not read them.

8. One book that you are reading at the moment: Nothing. Just finished one and will write about it on my blog soon.

9. One book that you've bene meaning to read: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostovosky

10. 5 others that you'd like to do this: Will pass this up for the moment... bcs am really working on something else on my blog.. so can't do this there.. and cant tag them just now.. but will definitely do this right after that, and will then tag 5 other people..

Considering that i really LOVE books.. this was a lovely tag to do!!

Z said...

Honey, if anyone was born to write it is you. I know what you mean though, I am never going to write a book. A blog is good, I don't keep a diary but I like to write a bit. I do like your choices, even if you avoided a few.........and completely agree on 7. I spoke briefly about respect and appreciation between faiths in my church talk today - it felt a bit funny talking about India as, unexpectedly, there was a Hindu Indian family in the congregation - isn't it lovely that people of other faiths choose to send their children to our Church of England village school.

I read a lot of Russian literature in my last year at school - I spent a third year in the 6th form as I wanted to take Latin and French at A level and had to change schools to do so. Some new friends were taking Russian and I was interested (and jealous). I read Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol, Conrad (not Russian of course) - I was introduced to new writers entirely.

How do we know said...

Zoe: thats a phenomenal compliment.. THANK YOU!