Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Reading Assignment: Ten Books

I was tagged on facebook by two friends to share ten books that have "stayed with" me.  I can't resist a book-related meme, so here is my list.  Naturally, many of the books that have stayed with me are ones I read as a child, but for this list, I included only adult books. So, in no particular order:

  1. Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym.  Because maybe having disappointed dreams isn't so bad after all.
  2. The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt.  This novel about a single mother raising her profoundly gifted son has seeped into my consciousness.  The main character's habit of saying to herself, "Let's think about this rationally..." at the start of every crisis has become my own habit.
  3. My Search for Warren Harding by Robert Plunkett.  Hilarious story of a young man's quest to seize valuable papers once belonging to Warren Harding.
  4. English Passengers by Matthew Kneale.  The story of how the aborigines of Tazmania were made extinct because of how they were treated by colonists.  Parallel story of a group of religious fanatics who think the Garden of Eden was located on Tazmania.
  5. The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay.  On a superficial level, this is a funny novel about eccentric Brits, traveling in Turkey.  Also contains one of the most compelling arguments for religion that I've ever encountered.
  6. Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Because Aragorn is such a hottie.
  7. Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell.  Actually, this academic satire has stuck with me because I hated it when I was expecting to love it, so it was a massive disappointment.  It also made me feel stupid because I'd understood it was a funny book and I didn't see what was so funny.  Allegedly, one of the main characters is meant to represent Mary McCarthy.
  8. The Seige of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell.  Fictionalized account of the sepoy mutiny in India in the 1850s.  I'm convinced that J.G. Farrell was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
  9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I was expecting to be underwhelmed and was blown away by this beautiful novel.  Also, my first exposure to magical realism. 
  10. The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning.  Fantastic series about a young British couple living in Bucharest near the start of World War II.  Has stuck with me because one of the recurring themes is what it's like to be a mousy woman, married to a charismatic man, which I can relate to.



9 comments:

  1. You are a very well-read non-rodent. I haven't even heard of six of these books. Definitely adding The Towers of Trebizond to my list.

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    1. Non-rodent? LOL!! Apparently Rose Macaulay's other books are good too, but I haven't read any of them.

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  2. Well, I am definitely going to have to get out and read more. Maybe I should have written stay in and read more. Because I've only read two of the books on your list, that's why. I love these 10 books lists! I appreciate your descriptions especially for narrowing down what to read first!

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  3. I wish I had your reading chops. Dang, you put me to shame. I haven't even HEARD of half of these books!

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  4. I've only read #9. Dang, I need to branch out more.

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  5. Great list! I have not read any of these. I'm adding them to my library list.

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  6. So, I've read at least some of these and heard of some of the others. Woo-hoo! Although my list is definitely not this high brow.

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  7. Do you feel like you're breaking the rules by adding entire trilogies? It's three books instead of one. I'm always curious is there's a strongest book in a series.

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    1. I don't think this meme had any official rules. I don't remember any book standing out as the best in the Balkan Trilogy, but in my opinion, The Two Towers is the best book in the LOTR series.

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