Wednesday, July 01, 2009

15 books

I haven't been tagged, but I rarely am, so I have to hijack other people's memes. Here's one I've seen floating around for a while - 15 books.

“Don’t take too long to think about it. List 15 books you’ve read that will always stick with you. Choose the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me.”

In no order:

1. It by Stephen King. One of my top 5 books of all time. I read it when I was the same age as the kids in the book, and the idea that kids had power was so shocking to me. Welcome, but shocking. And it always makes me think about how people underestimate children, and how we think of the children we know in relation to our own lives, sometimes forgetting that they have lives of their own. Plus, it has the scariest clown ever.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I first read this book as one of those cassette tapes that were popular in the 80's: "you can read along with me in your book" and I can not overstate how much I wanted to be one of the March sisters. When Amy burned Jo's book, I wanted to jump into the pages of the book and tear her hair out. But when she fell into the ice a few pages later, and I heard the sharp crack of it - I gasped and nearly cried, thinking of Jo and Teddy on the edge of the ice, trying to pull her up. Of course, I always do wind up crying whenever I read it, but that is the reason this book lives in the freezer.

3.Century by IDK. I have never seen this book anywhere besides my Nana's bookcase, and somewhere along the line, that got misplaced (or taken), so I don't know who wrote it. I can also barely remember the plot. What I do remember is that it was in a shelf of books that I was "too young for," and that meant I had to do whatever I could to get to it. It had a shiny gold cover, and was, in reality one of those really horrid romance novels that gives people the impression that the romance genre is a wasteland, but oh how I wanted to read it. I would sneak little snippets of it while in the sunpalor by myself, and, being 9, was shocked that there were NAKED people doing NAKED things in it. I wasn't interested in any of that then, but knowing that I wasn't supposed to be reading it gave it all an extra thrill.

4. Twillight by Stephanie Meyer. Because there's no way that this book is good - it's not written well, it doesn't have an original plot or unforgettable characters, and you spend most of the book (hell, the series) wanting to help Bella grow a spine for god's sake, and still it is Full Of Crack. Addictive as hell, and almost as stigmatizing. Plus, it's brought 2 of my sisters back to the realization that reading is not just a waste of time, but rather, an enjoyable waste of time. ;)

5. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. One of the first books I learned to read on my own. One of the first books Youngest Nephew could read on his own. And a perfect example of if you want kids to read, to learn that reading is fun, to LOVE it like you do, you have to put on a show.

6. Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts. Made me a Noraholic, an ADWOFF-er, and made Nora, and her alter ego JD Robb, an auto buy for me. Always.

7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Because Oh My Sweet Jesus, why? Why does a book so boring and bland get to be required reading? This was almost an entire semester's worth of work my sophomore year in high school, and it showed me why other people thought reading was boring. Because there isn't a single moment of this book that I didn't read hoping against hope that some axe murderer would come in from all that snow and just kill everybody.

8. By The Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Because between this book and the one before it, Mary had gone blind (Spoiler Alert, sorry). She had scarlet fever and all in the previous book, but everybody had been fine, dealing with it, whatever. And then I opened up the next book, and Bam! Blind. WTF? It was very upsetting, and I cried for a good hour.

9. Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher. Because she was talking about me. And everybody I ever knew. This idea that girls get, somewhere along the line, that they have to pretend to be what they're not, that they can only exist within the narrow confines of the place society has marked out for them was so specific, it seemed as if she were writing about my life. I was a college freshman when I read it, who didn't have any of the terminology about gender roles and patriarchy and all of that, but once I saw it, I couldn't unsee it. And that's powerful. (Also under this category, books on the second shift, on disability, on any of the sociological -isms we see everyday; on consumerism, on ecology, on the green movement and my role in it.)

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. Because I read it with my sister at my side, all in one big gulp, the day it came out. Because I had to put the book down more than once to cry properly. Because the next HP movie comes out in like a week and a half, and I MUST see it. Because HP and his gang of gawky teenage wizards have given me more enjoyment in the past decade than any other cast of characters I can name.

11. Lies my teacher told me by James Loewen. Because WTH with all the lying? A key element in my evolution into a critical reader. And thinker.

12. The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kozinski. Because it was a truly terrifying, ick-filled, horror of a read. I felt dirty by the time I finished it. I still kind of do.

13. Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag. Because, again, she was writing about me. And how society sees me, and tries to make me see myself. And because I finally felt like I wasn't the only person who thought that society was full of crap when it came to people like me.

14. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Because "I cannot go to school today said little Peggy Anne McKay. I have the measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash and purple bumps. My mouth is wet, my throat is dry, I'm going blind in my right eye..." Sick. The first poem I ever memorized, and, when I was 7, the best poem ever. "What? What's that? What's that you say? You say today is Saturday? G'bye I'm going out to play!"

15. All I Really Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. Because it's totally true. Observe: "
"Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die.
So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned - the biggest
word of all - LOOK…"

Consider yourself tagged - please play along if you're a book nut like I am. And tell me here, if you do, because I'd love to see your 15.

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