15 random books
copied from good ol’ facebook:
Not in any order.
1. Baby by Patricia McLachlan–a young adult book that I first read at about 9 or 10. it includes the poem “Dirge without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, which explained to me how I felt about death, and it really explains the wonder of words. Lord I love this book. Incredibly evocative.
2. The Handmaid’s Tale. in retrospect perhaps a bit heavyhanded in some ways, but remains a favorite of mine as it provided mystery and tension and also a heavy, heady dose of feminism.
3. the Harry Potter books. I am counting these as one, but if I must pick just one I’d pick the last one. The first one came out when I was about 12, and I gobbled it up on a school trip to Italy: every summer afterwards I eagerly awaited a new one. I’ve been to many HP parties. But the last one came out a week or so after I watched my grandmother die, and for me the two are tied up together competely in my mind. I’d grown up some with Harry, and reading that last book and experiencing the deaths of these characters I’d come to love somehow knotted itself in with the experience of watching my grandmother die. If that makes any sense.
4. A Prayer for Owen Meany–simply one of the best novels I’ve ever read. Utterly compelling, incredibly stirring…I love this book. Must re-read it, actually, if I can stand to.
5. We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. This is a book about the mother of a boy who shoots up his school (its a bit more complicated) all told in letters to the father. It is incredible. I first read it at least 5-6 years ago and it has never left my head.
6. Next of Kin, by Roger Fouts. The truly amazing story of a chimp who learned to use sign language. Opened my mind to learning about–and loving–animals, and wanting to know more about linguistics.
7. In The Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall. One of my all time favorite people on the planet. This is one of Jane’s earliest books, and it talks about how she first went to Gombe and observed the chimps. I found it utterly fascinating, and have read it many times.
8. Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld. A really lovely novel about what it is like to be a teenage girl in the rarified world of rich New England boarding schools-like the ones my mom and aunt attended. Re-read often.
9. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. One of those sweeping, epic novels that is sheer pleasure to read. I dont even remember much of it, but I do remember how much fun it was to read.
10. In the Shadow of the Wind–cant remember the author, but much like Chabon’s book, sweeping and beautiful. Also wonderful words about the importance and loveliness of books.
11. The Alanna Series by Tamora Pierce–again a YA series, about a girl who disguises herself as a boy and goes to study as a knight in the fictional kingdom of Tortall. One of my introductions to strong, brave female characters.
12. Speaking of strong, brave female characters, one of my absoloute favorite books as a kid was “Tomorrow When the War Began” by Aussie auther John Marsden, about a group of teens who go camping and return to find their country invaded. In that book and the following 6 they proceed to learn to hide, fight and make sacrifices…I cant totally describe it, but I’ve read “Tomorrow” at least 10 times. Must find one of my copies, actually.
13. The Babysitters’ Club books. Not especially well written and actually quite easy to snark about now, the BSC were my best friends for a chunk of childhood. I’ve read easily a hundred of them. They were my introduction to anorexia, autism, child abuse, diabetes, divorce…and oh, yeah, how to take care of kids. Once as a kid I called 411 and asked for the listing for Kishi in Stoneybrook…the poor operator kept saying “there is no StoneyBROOK in CT, I have a Stoney RIVER…”
14. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. On of last summers blockbuster books. I actually have some serious issues with the way dog training is presented in this book, because I am a big positive training person: however, the relationship between Edgar and his dogs so mirrors the relationship between me and my dog that I must include it here.
15. Bel Canto. A lovely, lyrical novel by Ann Patchett that is just…well, practically a perfect novel. Sad and quiet and beautiful.
Many more, but thats 15…