Friday, August 04, 2006

One Book (Allison)

Like Gaines mentioned, Travis tagged us with this meme a few days ago. The same rules apply here.

Just one for each? You know that's torture for an English major/teacher, don't you?!

1. One book that changed your life:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Honestly. I picked this book out of a Weekly Reader catalog (of all things-- remember those?) at age 12, when I was still reading Babysitter's Club books. I first fell in love with the story, then the humor, and soon became enchanted with Elizabeth Bennet. From then on, I've read it countless times, probably at least once a year. P&P heightened my taste for all things great about British literature, weaned me away from young adult novels, and helped me appreciate a good satire. The influence of this book also steered me away from a biology/pre-med major back to my first love-- English, and I cited it as a factor as to why I wanted to be a teacher of literature in a graduate school essay.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Actually, I think I've read every book L.M. Montgomery ever wrote more than once-- especially the Anne and Emily series. Even her collections of short stories. Yes, I even have her collected journals that my parents got for me on our trip to Montreal when I was 14 (You can only find them in Canada, and there was no such thing as back then!). Sometimes I used to wish I had been born a century earlier, but then I remember modern conveniences like washing machines and the internet. One day, though, I do hope to visit Prince Edward Island and see her beloved landscape in person.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

It has everything-- comedy, history, tragedy, romance, and a mixture of all four! Why would I need anything else? Besides, it would finally give me the time to put in the time and study his plays deserve.

4. One book that made you laugh:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I've volunteered to work with autistic children and teenagers in the past, and this book gave a lighthearted first-person perspective of someone with Asperger's. It makes the reader appreciate a different point of view-- and the laughter the author evokes is not derisive or mocking, but understanding. A fun, quick read.

5. One book that made you cry:
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

I remember I was reading this at the beach (of all places to read a bleak turn-of-the century American classic) and I just started crying at the end because Lily's death was so pointless and could've been prevented so easily. She did have a place in the world, she just didn't know it. House of Mirth reminds me that in a society without the one true Hope, life becomes meaningless. The recent film version didn't come close to being as powerful as the novel--I'd suggest reading the book.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
The Stone Camellia and the Cajun Belle: Collected Anecdotes from my Grandmothers' Lives by Me

Before they passed away, I wish I had thought to interview both my maternal grandmother, Dixie Dozier, and my paternal grandmother, Helen Lee. (Sadly, my grandfathers passed away before I could know them well-- one before I was born and one when I turned three.) I learned more funny incidents about my grandmother Dozier at her funeral than I think anyone ever told me in her lifetime. I wish I'd paid more attention to their stories, asked them more questions, and written it all down before they died. I've heard snippets of family history here and there from my parents, but I'd like to know about Helen's childhood in New Orleans in her own words, and I long to hear from Grandmother Dozier about the uncle I never knew who passed away when he was only 6. I hope that one day, when we all get new bodies, I can sit at their feet and listen to their stories of life on this broken, beaten earth and laugh at what foolish children we all were.

7. One book you wish had never been written:
Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Yes, I read it, back in high school. I think I got to number 4 in the series before I wised up.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
BabyCatcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent

I found this book in my friend Sarah's home (she's a labor/delivery nurse so she has interesting books like that) while I was babysitting another friend's adorable little seven-month old girl. I've been intrigued by all the birth stories, from the thrilling to the scary to the seemingly easy. How do those Christian Science women stay silent and composed? The author includes quotes from Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer at the beginning of each section, and she writes with such joy that it's a delight to read about even the most harrowing of events. I wonder if she is a Christian. Anyone know?

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey

Ever since this was mentioned during one of the breakout sessions at the first JEI conference we went to in 2005, it's been near the top of my wish list. I've heard about it from multiple sources as a twenty-first century instant classic. Then, Gaines won a copy of it from a Challies drawing, but it's been sitting sadly on our crowded shelf of unread books. I thought this summer would be my chance, but perhaps I may be able to get to it over Christmas break.

10. Now tag five people:

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