From peeves to plotlines in only seven days!!
Our mission, should we undertake it (and I’m taking it as under as I can), is to tell the world about our favorite and unfavorite books. (I made up a word! Hooray for me! I are teh smart…)
I’ve chosen both categories from an entire lifetime of books. They are heroes or villains based on how I felt about them at the time I read them. It’s entirely conceivable that I would like them better or not at all if I read them now.
My favorites are as follows, and I hope I can find the authors’ names somewhere. Chances are good that I no longer have these books.
1. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell A childhood favorite, the tale of a horse that lived through trial after trial to rise triumphant always gave me hope that I would some day be better off. (I was not a popular child.)
2. The Book of Tobit, which exists in the Catholic Bible, tells of how the prayers of a young man and woman, miles apart, are answered in a most spectacular way. The archangel Raphael is instrumental in this story. It seems very contemporary, even though it was written thousands of years ago.
3. A Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin I don’t remember much about it, even though I read it several times. I don’t remember giving it away or selling it, but I no longer have it. It’s stayed in my mind as one of my all-time favorites, though.
4. The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde I had to pick a title, but I love everything I’ve read by him. Except for Shades of Grey, but it was not in the Thursday Next series anyway. Such a fantastic imagination! I get every new one he comes out with.
5. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series–sorry, I can’t come up with just one. There are so many backstories and side stories, all in separate books, that it is impossible to tweeze one out and stand it on its own. However, my favorite characters are Death’s horse, named Binky, and the Librarian, a Wizard who has been turned into an orangutan (but don’t tell him that).
6. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova I just recently read it. A classic introduction–I found the book in a dusty used-book store. Let me tell you, I was really jumpy about dark corners for a LONG time after reading that book. The premise–Vlad Drakulya was alive (ish) in the 21st century. His pursuit of various characters in this book would have made Hitchcock proud. Scared the hell outta me. I do wish Ms. Kostova had continued with another book. Maybe some day.
7. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry Wild horses, the ocean, freedom–what’s not to love? This was such a favorite of mine that I bought it as an adult. Still love the story.
8. Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer Another book I read as a child, and I still love it. I think it appealed to me back then because it was an escape from the snarkiness of my peers. In the story, the girl finds a whole different world that appears only when it’s foggy. Kind of a Brigadoon for pre-teens.
9. Catswold by Shirley Rousseau Murphy Talking cats, a secret world through an ancient wooden door, an entire feline society unknown to humans. It is somewhat of a background to the entire Joe Grey mystery series, featuring sentient cats who reveal their identities and murder-solving abilities to a select few humans. Great series!
10. Any poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson. I rarely read poetry, but his I love.
Still with me? Boy, are you a brave reader!
Let us go down into the Cellar of Icky Books, and pull out the grodies of my past. Again, these are culled from a lifetime of reading:
1. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub High on my list of “you can’t pay me enough to read it again”, this scared the yahoo out of me. I didn’t burn it, but I got rid of it in a New York hurry. Nothing by either author has ever crossed my doorstep since.
2. I don’t even remember the name of the book I DID burn–but it was horrid. The blurb lead me to believe it was something quite different from what the story was about. I put a fire in the fireplace and threw that sucker in there. What was really creepy was seeing the pages turn in the flames–as if the very Devil himself was reading it!
3. I got hold of a very old edition of a collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s books, and did not make it very far into it. The archaic style, plus all of the French sentences and phrases, made it very hard to get into. I did take French in high school, but that was several dynasties ago. Besides, I’ve slept since then–you expect me to remember??
4. Speaking of school–the stuff they had us read during those four years made it onto this list big-time. While there were some–like A Separate Peace–that were worthwhile, my teen brain rejected most of the books on the agenda. Such as Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis–sorry, the dude’s now a giant bug…get the Raid.
5. I think I would have enjoyed Shakespeare some day, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had to spend half my freshman year dissecting Macbeth into tiny slivers. Bleah! Every jot and tittle, every comma and wink, were analyzed to death. Done!!
6. William Faulkner–nothing I read really interested me. I once thought his run-on (and on…and on…) sentences were somewhat symbolic, but I think I was feeling generous that day. Or there was something in the cafeteria food.
7. Any math books, especially ones with word problems. I never did get those. “If there are two trains running at each other from different parts of the country, where will they meet?” “God willing, they’ll PASS each other.” Thank you and good night.
Where are you going, dear readers? That’s only seven! Hang in there, kids.
8. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky Each character had elebendy-jillion names, depending on who was talking and what day of the week it was. In high school, it’s confusing enough just trying to find the right classroom. This was too much.
9. The last “Cat Who…” book I read by Lillian Jackson Braun. I loved the entire series up to that one, and I can’t remember the name. It seemed the entire book was merely a cut-and-paste of the previous ones, as if the author was tired of writing–or someone else had taken over. Pity.
10. That book I picked up at a sale, you know, that one with the…oh, heck, you’re going to make me go upstairs to find it, aren’t you. Well, fine–just stay there, I won’t be long. And don’t harass the cat, whatever you do.
I’m back. The book is called The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington. Again, a misleading blurb. It was supposed to be funny, but after about a half-page, the two main characters merely roam the countryside murdering people in awful graphic ways. Some humor.
This did turn out to be a long blog, didn’t it? Well, go ahead and wipe the cobwebs off–you may go back to your life now. Unless you want to stay and ask questions or leave comments. Like–do you have agreements or disagreements with any of the books I mentioned? Care to share your finest-and-flawdest?
(Ha! Made up another word!)