Friday, August 6, 2010

Books

I'm a book snob.
There. I said it.
And it's kind of about time.

I've always loved reading. In fact, when I was twelve I decided that I was literary. I picked up Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls and Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and read them cover to cover. I had no idea what they are about. I still don't know. I don't really like either of those authors as a grown-up (except for Hemingway's short stories - they're divine! Oh, and Faulker's.. Nope. I have no love for his writing. I understand why he was so thirsty, those novels stuck in his throat.) The point is I read them. I made definitive decisions about them - "I disliked those particular classics", I said to myself, nose in the air- and I would continue to devour books and judge them as AMAZING pieces of literature or not so amazing ones. All of them continue to be stored on my bookshelves, regardless of my opinions, as sort of trophies. I never had any other kind that I cared about as much.

Caring is the other part. I tend to form relationships with my books. I hug them (in public, even. I'm not ashamed). I lovingly dog-ear them. I underline my favorite parts. I annotate them, personalize them, write in the margins, add poems and pictures to them, and even cry when I finish them because I miss them. I write about them.

When people find out I'm a literature teacher (as opposed to an English teacher, which is my formal, personally renounced title), they often ask me which book is my favorite. That question makes me incredibly uncomfortable because I feel like I'm betraying my good friends by answering it. I can't even narrow it down to a particular genre. All I can do is list some particular books that resonate with me right now.

I'll share a few with you:
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
The Portable Dorothy Parker
Dress Your Family in Corduroy - David Sedaris
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larson
Middlesex - Jeffery Eugenides
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
Cunt - Inga Musico
Slughterhouse V - Kurt Vonnegut
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Morning in the Burned House - Margaret Atwood
American Primitive - Mary Oliver
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
The Awakening - Kate Chopin
The Miracle of Mindfulness - Thich Nhat Han

This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic (Books, this week) and post responses - all of us together, simultaneously, from all over the world. (Lovely!) Please visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana for other wonderful posts.

9 comments:

Rummuser said...

Interesting that there are two Indian authors right on top of that list. Your taste is eclectic.

Grannymar said...

I won't pretend to have read any of these, although I often teased my husband that he was Dorian Gray and I was the picture in the loft - I had the lines on my face to prove it! ;)

Jen said...

I've just discovered the beautiful world of reading within the last year! I don't think I am smart of enough to understand most books on your list but I can relate to LOVING your book that you cry when it's over! I find that I hug my books too and every time I think of you!!

Love ya!!

Maria said...

I am also an avid reader and I am glad you hug your books and carry them close to your heart.

My favorite place to read is in the bathtub. Warm water, a little lavendar soap, and a good book. Heaven!!!!!

I belong to a book club that loves to discuss and question. I always look forward to our meetings. The book club also keeps me from choosing only one kind of book and widening my reach.

rainbow said...

Since I just told you I could only comment on Bug Bug Barn and to show you I clicked on the comment square, then by MAGIC I got a key board HERE I am. Hope this will stay. Thanks for the trip to the Library yesterday. It was Heaven not having to sneak away, and not let Grumpy know where I was. I have so enjoyed these last three days and am counting the hours til Sept 3 (later I will start counting the minutes) THANKS for such a relaxing time, after the scary last two weeks.

gaelikaa said...

I'm going to work my way through your list. I've read 'God of Small Things" by A. Roy. I liked it, but there was no redemption. There has to be redemption for a book to work for me, although I still see its merit. I had a copy of the portable Dorothy Parker years ago, but had it leave it behind when I came out to India. Read every word. I wonder who is the other Indian writer here besides Roy? Rummuser has me all confused here? He doesn't mean Milan Kundera, surely?

Ginger said...

Kundera is a Czech author, but I have to admit it sounds Indian to me. I started reading 'Slowness' but haven't been as attached to it as I am to "The Unbearable Lightness of Being."

Ginger said...

'Beloved' by Toni Morrison should also be on this list.

Magpie11 said...

there was a time when I would have screamed at you for dog-earing a book. Not these days although I will never do that myself...the same goes for adding notes...as long as the notes are not of an analytical nature... how I hated those lessons at school.... but writing in the margins can be excused....I love the story of the scribe who changed one Greek word for another thus changing the meaning of one of Paul's letters and then a later scribe changed it back and berated the first scribe in the margin...

But I do have all sorts of points of view...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Books

I'm a book snob.
There. I said it.
And it's kind of about time.

I've always loved reading. In fact, when I was twelve I decided that I was literary. I picked up Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls and Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and read them cover to cover. I had no idea what they are about. I still don't know. I don't really like either of those authors as a grown-up (except for Hemingway's short stories - they're divine! Oh, and Faulker's.. Nope. I have no love for his writing. I understand why he was so thirsty, those novels stuck in his throat.) The point is I read them. I made definitive decisions about them - "I disliked those particular classics", I said to myself, nose in the air- and I would continue to devour books and judge them as AMAZING pieces of literature or not so amazing ones. All of them continue to be stored on my bookshelves, regardless of my opinions, as sort of trophies. I never had any other kind that I cared about as much.

Caring is the other part. I tend to form relationships with my books. I hug them (in public, even. I'm not ashamed). I lovingly dog-ear them. I underline my favorite parts. I annotate them, personalize them, write in the margins, add poems and pictures to them, and even cry when I finish them because I miss them. I write about them.

When people find out I'm a literature teacher (as opposed to an English teacher, which is my formal, personally renounced title), they often ask me which book is my favorite. That question makes me incredibly uncomfortable because I feel like I'm betraying my good friends by answering it. I can't even narrow it down to a particular genre. All I can do is list some particular books that resonate with me right now.

I'll share a few with you:
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
The Portable Dorothy Parker
Dress Your Family in Corduroy - David Sedaris
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larson
Middlesex - Jeffery Eugenides
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
Cunt - Inga Musico
Slughterhouse V - Kurt Vonnegut
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Morning in the Burned House - Margaret Atwood
American Primitive - Mary Oliver
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
The Awakening - Kate Chopin
The Miracle of Mindfulness - Thich Nhat Han

This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic (Books, this week) and post responses - all of us together, simultaneously, from all over the world. (Lovely!) Please visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana for other wonderful posts.

9 comments:

Rummuser said...

Interesting that there are two Indian authors right on top of that list. Your taste is eclectic.

Grannymar said...

I won't pretend to have read any of these, although I often teased my husband that he was Dorian Gray and I was the picture in the loft - I had the lines on my face to prove it! ;)

Jen said...

I've just discovered the beautiful world of reading within the last year! I don't think I am smart of enough to understand most books on your list but I can relate to LOVING your book that you cry when it's over! I find that I hug my books too and every time I think of you!!

Love ya!!

Maria said...

I am also an avid reader and I am glad you hug your books and carry them close to your heart.

My favorite place to read is in the bathtub. Warm water, a little lavendar soap, and a good book. Heaven!!!!!

I belong to a book club that loves to discuss and question. I always look forward to our meetings. The book club also keeps me from choosing only one kind of book and widening my reach.

rainbow said...

Since I just told you I could only comment on Bug Bug Barn and to show you I clicked on the comment square, then by MAGIC I got a key board HERE I am. Hope this will stay. Thanks for the trip to the Library yesterday. It was Heaven not having to sneak away, and not let Grumpy know where I was. I have so enjoyed these last three days and am counting the hours til Sept 3 (later I will start counting the minutes) THANKS for such a relaxing time, after the scary last two weeks.

gaelikaa said...

I'm going to work my way through your list. I've read 'God of Small Things" by A. Roy. I liked it, but there was no redemption. There has to be redemption for a book to work for me, although I still see its merit. I had a copy of the portable Dorothy Parker years ago, but had it leave it behind when I came out to India. Read every word. I wonder who is the other Indian writer here besides Roy? Rummuser has me all confused here? He doesn't mean Milan Kundera, surely?

Ginger said...

Kundera is a Czech author, but I have to admit it sounds Indian to me. I started reading 'Slowness' but haven't been as attached to it as I am to "The Unbearable Lightness of Being."

Ginger said...

'Beloved' by Toni Morrison should also be on this list.

Magpie11 said...

there was a time when I would have screamed at you for dog-earing a book. Not these days although I will never do that myself...the same goes for adding notes...as long as the notes are not of an analytical nature... how I hated those lessons at school.... but writing in the margins can be excused....I love the story of the scribe who changed one Greek word for another thus changing the meaning of one of Paul's letters and then a later scribe changed it back and berated the first scribe in the margin...

But I do have all sorts of points of view...