Friday, January 18, 2008

A List of Books

Here we go, my first attempt at listiness. Don't expect too much.

Books I Can Read Again and Again, and Have

(This could probably also be considered a list of my all-time favorite books, except it seems crazy to me to try to make such a list since there are so many I still haven't read. It's also not necessarily in a permanently significant order. Just so you know.)

1. Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith

2. Tracks, by Louise Erdrich

3. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabakov

4. The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje (the movie sucked compared to the book)

5. The Christmas Letters, by Lee Smith

6. The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath, by Sylvia Plath (edited by her piece-of-crap husband, the poet Ted Hughes)

7. Groom Falconer, by Norman Dubie

8. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

9. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

10. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut

11. God Bless You Mister Rosewater, by Kurt Vonnegut

12. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

13. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger

14. All of the Harry Potter books (see also: list of adolescent lit I love, below)

I know I'm forgetting something. There are many other books that I've read at least twice (several others by Vonnegut, Salinger, and Bradbury, other volumes of poetry from authors I haven't mentioned...). Also, I feel the need to mention that in the case of the first four novels, which I adore so completely, the authors have written almost nothing else that I like even half as much. I find that so disappointing.

Books I Enjoyed and Would Like to Read Again, but Have Not

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

2. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving

3. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffeneger

4. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

5. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

6. Nowhere Else on Earth, by Josephine Humphreys

7. The House of the Spirits, by Isabelle Allende

8. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant

Again, I know there are more. What is it about sitting down to say something that makes everything I wanted to say just fly right out of my head?

Parenting Books I Have Read Cover to Cover

1. None

Guilty Pleasure: Adolescent Fantasy/Sci-Fi I Eat Up Like Candy

1. The His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman

2. The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix

3. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyers

4. The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix (far inferior to the Abhorsens, but fun)

5. The Midnighters Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

6. The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

7. The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

8. And of course, the Harry Potter books, which I really do adore and will defend to the end.

I like to think I have an excuse for reading these books, since I do teach teenagers, but the truth is, I would read them anyway. These are the kinds of books I loved as a kid, but there weren't nearly as many of them then, and I really had no one to guide me in my book-a-day habit. Which is unfortunate, because it meant I read a lot of Sweet Valley High and Stephen King and V.C. Andrews, and later Sydney Sheldon and Jackie Collins (gasp!). My seventh grade English teacher helped set me on a better path by introducing me to C.S. Lewis and Madeline L'Engle, but it still took me awhile to learn what was worth reading and what wasn't. Hopefully I can at least provide my own children with good books to read, although I know I can't control their tastes. Joshua already shows a propensity for graphic novels, which is fine by me even though I can't seem to read them at all.

So here's where I fail with the entire concept of lists, because I now feel there should be a list of books I'd like to read, and one of books I liked fine but won't read again, and one of books I felt did not deserve their hype or just plain bit. It all feels so incomplete! But here it is. I'm going to force myself to stop now.


Secret Agent Mom said...

Hey, I read those same parenting books!

A Prayer For Owen Meany is one of maybe five books I've read more than twice. I'm a sucker for a crushing emotional blow.

Stephanie said...

OMG- that was my exact childhood reading list, if you substitute Danielle Steele for Jackie Collins.

I need the list of books that sucked. That should be your next list.

RJA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Alley said...

it doesn't mean you fail - it means you need to make more lists!

katherine said...

I haven't read any parenting books cover to cover either. And I do love me some Harry Potter! (And I do love me some Sweet Valley High, too!)

Stacey Greenberg said...

i read at least 25 books on pregnancy--does that count as parenting?

no judy blume?

you should read the derby girlbook e got me!

Shannon said...

get j.p. the bone graphic novels. max has been eating them up. me too.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled onto your blog somehow a couple of months ago and I've been lurking and reading. It's Lori, from Northwood, kimberly's friend.
I have not read very many of the books you list here, poisonwood bible, yes. But I enjoyed your teen list since I now have a preteen boy and need more ideas for him to read.
Mason is really hard to please with books, I almost couldn't find any books he liked to read, he wouldn't challenge himself with chapter books. but finally I found the spiderwick books which he does like. any ideas? what grade is calving in now?

Kristy said...

Hey--Calvin is in 4th this year. What about Mason? We haven't read the Spiderwick books, but I'd like to. A lot of the series I've listed are more teen than preteen. Calvin has really loved these series: the magic Treehouse books, the Wayside School books, the captain Underpants books (Joshua also loves these, and they're in that comic book style), the jigsaw Jones kid detective books, and more that I'll have to try to remember. He still hasn't gotten into reading the Harry Potter books. When he was younger, he thought they were too scary, and now I think he's just intimidated by the sheer volume.

Melissa said...

Someone else who has read Garth Nix! When I am 90 and finally finished with a draft of my novel, I'd really love for you to read it. Maybe if we're in the home together.

Did you read any Zilpha Keatley Snyder when you were a kid?