Mary's Library

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Books that Mean a Lot

Susan over at Pages Turned has posted a new meme. I thought I'd give it a go:

How many books do you own? About 5,000. I gave away 1,054 books before we moved from Virginia to Washington State.

Last book you bought? The new translation of War and Peace. Before that, Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer and Consider the Lobster: and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace.

Last book someone bought you? Jan Polek gave me Anne Tyler's Digging to America.

Last book you bought for someone else? Flotsam for my grand-niece, Piper.

Last book you finished reading? Always Magic in the Air: The Bomb and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era by Ken Emerson. It's about the people who wrote popular music from the mid-50s through the mid-60s.

Five books that mean a lot to you. This is a tough one. Only five!

1. Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope. Trollope is far and away my favorite author and I am always reading a Trollope novel. That is not an exaggeration. I've been reading along with an online Trollope group for many years and I'm always working on one of his novels. Right now it's John Caldigate. We just finished Doctor Thorne. Next up is Framley Parsonage. I picked Phineas Finn out of a hat. All of Trollope's 57 novels mean a lot to me.

2. Persuasion by Jane Austen. Again, I chose my favorite, but any of Jane Austen's six novels will do. My friend Leslie says, "Jane Austen has brought me through more times of trouble than the Bible."

3. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. This is a heartbreaking novel about a woman who doesn't realize until too late what really matters in her life. It was made into a terrific movie with Gillian Anderson as Lily Bart.

4. The Memoirs of Miss Sydney Bidulph by Frances Sheridan, published in 1761. This is the novel I wrote my thesis about at Duke. I was studying the 18th century English novel. It was 20 years later before I realized I was more a 19th century sort of gal. Meanwhile I really got to know this gem of the earlier period. (Those were the days of "close reading.")

5. The Bartletts of Box B Ranch by Camilla Campbell. This was the first book I borrowed from the Acushnet Town Library. I made my first visit to a library when I was 9 years old. Before that books were thin on the ground. I've been making up for those dry years ever since.

And the Winner Is . . .

The Man Booker prize has been announced. It's The Gathering by Anne Enright. I feel sure the Spokane Library with acquire it eventually and I will read it in due time.
My enthusiasm for reading Booker prizewinners has waned over the years. So few of them please me. As I heard an English professor say last week, "Modern literature is angst - all angst." Real life provides enough of that - I want my reading to provide entertainment, character development, positive direction, and resolution. Do I ask too much?

Labels: , ,

Autumn Poetry

It seems to me that poetry written about autumn is some of the most beautiful and touching. Nan, at Letters from a Hill Farm, has been posting some particularly lovely verse lately. Check out "Ay, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath!" You need to scroll down to 16 October 2007 to find it, under the gorgeous maple leaf.

Labels: , ,