Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Book Love - A Meme

I do not do every meme that I am tagged for, but I do try to do the ones that have a literary flavor to them as well as the others than interest me and provide an opportunity to say something I haven't said before. right now I am several memes behind so today I going to do this one that Helen over at the Hellcat Chronicles tagged me with. It's all about books and my reading tastes and habits.

Total number of books owned: At any one time there are a couple of hundred books taking up residency in my house, car, or locker at work. Next year I plan to start construction on a new house and some serious bookshelves are in the plans. I hope to be able to better organize my books at that time.

Last book read: The Bridge Of Sighs by Richard Russo. I waited a long time for this one to come out and I was not disappointed. The thing I admire most about Russo is his ability to remain honest and true to the characters he creates. As a writer I know how easy it is to disguise or alter a character in order to make the reader like them as much as I do. Russo gives his readers the warts and all, yet somehow he makes me fall in love with characters that on the surface have very little excitement behind them.

Last book bought : Carols and Crimes, Gifts and Grifters. Fifteen different authors contributed to this a holiday themed collection of shirt stories, including my friend and frequent visitor of this blog, Deborah Elliott-Upton. All proceeds go the the Marines Toys for Tots program so click on the link and order yourself a copy to both entertain and give.
I can't wait for mine to arrive from Amazon.

Five meaningful books: I'm going to do these chronologically in the order in which I first read them.

Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls -- I must have been in the second or third grade when I first read this book. This story more than any other launched my love of reading. I cried when his dog died at the hands of the mountain lion. It has been years since I've read it, but I really need to buy a new copy and read it to my boys.

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain -- The signature story from the greatest American storyteller to ever live. In my humble opine. I must have been in the fifth or sixth grade the first time I read Huck Finn and although I didn't understand just how great it was then I knew I likes it, and I daydreamed more than once about how much fun it would be to build a roof and float down a river. I have read this one at least six times since then and always discover something new within the pages.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee -- For my money this is THE great American Novel, and when I first read it sometime in junior high it was the first book I ever read the last page of and immediately opened back up to reread. I only wish Harper Lee would have written another novel.

The Risk Pool by Richard Russo -- My favorite novel from my favorite contemporary author. A coming of age novel about a boy with an emotionally unstable mother and a derelict, wayward father. Tom Hanks is on slate to portray the father in a movie adaptation and I can only hope the movie does the novel justice when it finally comes out.

It is hard to pick a fifth. There are so many close ones. My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult - A novel that made me think start to finish and left me breathless at the end. A Prayer For Owen Meaney by John Irving -- Probably the best concept and execution of a novel I have read since i started writing and viewing novels in a different light. An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg -- A great novel a pretty darn good movie except I didn't like the casting of Jennifer Lopez in the role as Jean Gilkerson.

But for my official pick ...

Eventide by Kent Haruf -- Actually, this is a two for one deal since Eventide is the sequel to Plainsong. Haruf is another author great and creating memorable and believable, yet flawed characters. When a character dies in Eventide, I mourned as if one of my long time friends had passed on. I can think of no greater honor as a writer than for readers to fell as if they know your characters on that level.

I'm not going to tag anyone but I would be interested in hearing you five most memorable books. So leave a comment. about that or if you have something to say about any of the ones I mentioned.


Shauna said...

Okay, five books. I'm going to mention Where the Red Fern Grows here, 'cause I agree but won't use it for one of mine.

1. The Outsiders. I read it in highschool and LOVED it!

2. Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Intense series (3 books) set in the days of the Roman Empire. Powerful and moving.

3. Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. We read them as a family when I was growing up. Awesome!

4. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Wonderful story of redemption and forgiveness.

5. It Takes Moxie by Delia Deleest, because I just finished reading it and it made me laugh out loud. I love books with lots of humour.

Hmmm, I'm thinking it would have been easier to list 5 favorite authors. There's too many great books.

Lane Mathias said...

I loved doing this meme and it's great reading other people's.
To Kill a Mockingbird seems to be pretty much the clear favourite with everyone. Was there a reason why she only wrote one book?

Terrie Farley Moran said...


I am envious. You captured the word "meaningful" as the meme meant it to be, much better than I did.

I am going to buy Where the Red Fern Goes because my oldest grandkids will be ready for it soon, and Carols and Crimes, Gifts and Grifters will make a great holiday present for me and for a few others on my list.

Great Meme Response. Terrie

Design Goddess said...

What about Beowulf?! Who doesn't love that one?! :D

Phats said...

ahhh where the red fern grows is so sad. I am an AVID reader so this is a good one, I agree with Shauna.

5 books in no particular order
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Great Gatsby
Boxcar Children(it was the first big book I ever read)
Catcher in the Rye

I read close to a book a week, currently working on a Tammy Hoag book

Tena Russ said...

You said on Cher's blog that this post would be long with no pictures. I'm so happy that you posted about literature!

It's funny but I just left a message on Phats' blog. He asked for subjects we'd like to talk about other than sports. I asked if anyone out there read anything besides blogs. Sports Illustrated doesn't count.

Right now I'm reading The Three Junes. GREAT language. I know it's old but then, sometimes I don't get around to reading things right away.

PS Get Phats, who turns out to be an avid reader! Way to go.

Pacha said...

Interesting meme Travis. This meme is intriguing and also makes me want to run to a bookshop to get hold of all the books 'recommended'.

Lane - I suspect
H.Lee suffers from second book syndrome. If you reach perfection with the first book then you're buggered. So that should be sort of comforting for the rest of us!

Travis - I'm intrigued about 'My sisters keeper' by Picoult - I haven't read it yet but keep getting such different extremes in feedback about it! I shall have to read it and make my own decision (I was put off Picout because I thought 'The Pact' was utter crap)...

B.E. Sanderson said...

I did this one back on 9/5. It was fun. Rather than bore y'all here, you can go read my responses there, if you like.


Charles Gramlich said...

Always interesting to read other folks' choices of five important novels. I'm going to have to give this some thought, though. There are so many.

Alicia said...

My Sister's Keeper is SO awesome, isn't it?
I wasn't at all expecting the ending, but it was beautiful.

Cheryl Wray said...

Okay, To Kill a Mockingbird is my NUMBER ONE choice. I LOVE it, my husband loves, it my kids love it (well, except my 3-y-o, she's not quite to that level yet!!). But we call the little one Scout, in honor of the book!!! Wonderfully written, meaningful story, setting is awesome. Just wonderful!!!

So, my top 5 would be (and this is VERY hard, because I could come up with a Top 20 or more!)

1. To Kill a Mockingbird

2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

3. The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

4. A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving

5. This is a recent one, but boy did it touch me!!! The Kite Runner

And I have never heard of Eventide, but any book that makes it to #1 ona list must be great. So I'm going to look it up!

preTzel said...

I'm reading through the Kay Scarpetta series right now. (Patricia Cornwell) When I finish with those I'm on to some true crime books I bought at Half Price books. I'm too lazy to read something "deep" right now. :)

cher said...

i'm just happy tena visits me first..haha..

ok, seriously, the post below with the awesome photos makes up for the lack of photos in this one. just bugging you.

i was supposed to read the kill the bird that mocks one in highschool, but didn't.

um, i like murder mysteries and scary books.

but right now i am reading the hobbit because why not...i own it.

Merry Monteleone said...

I loved The Great Gatsby, and Beowulf - though I didn't particularly care for Grindle - and lets not forget Canterbury Tales - that was the problem I had with this meme, there are so many great, touching, soul shaking books throughout a lifetime of reading, narrowing it down to five is torture.

I love Irving... I still have to read My Sister's Keeper, that's on my stack for as soon as possible...

and if you were going to ask, I got in two hours and some change today on the wip.

Rocketstar said...

1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. The Red Queen - Matt Ridley
3. Choke- Chuck Pulhinik(sp?)
4. The day No Pigs Would Die - I foget...
5. Animal Farm

HelenMWalters said...

Oh I love this book meme! And I love 'To Kill A Mockingbird' - good choice!

Anonymous said...

There is much talk among scholars, readers and writers that Harper Lee did not write To Kill a Mockingbird alone, but that she had "tremendous" help from Truman Capote. Then she won the award and their friendship supposedly suffered. IF that is true, perhaps that's why she is a one-book author. But, it's all speculation. Just one more thing we'll never know for sure. Hey, Travis and all: thanks for buying our book: net proceeds all go to Toys for Tots!

Helen Shearer said...

Hi Travis. Thanks for answering. I too loved To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm not sure if this is true but I heard that Harper Lee, in a rare old interview, said that she had said all she wanted to say in the book and therefore never felt the need to follow it up. It's a shame, really.

I started My Sister's Keeper but I just couldn't get into it. I was bored stiff by the fifth page. One of the girls at the office raved about it but it just did nothing for me. Strange how one book can have such different reactions.

Phats said...

Hey the picks are up! i need you to pick one more, the Michigan game I can't believe I forgot that one after last week. Just leave it in the comments I will add it.

OOO I forgot Animal Farm!

Chick said...

I think I've got some reading to do...thanks.

Adriann said...

I can't really choose a favorite because I have so many different tastes and favorites. So I'll name 5 bests on my book shelf.

1. Everything by Toni Morrison! My favorite out of the bunch would probably be Paradise.

2. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo - I cried like a baby

3. Robinhood, Howard Pyle - another tear jerker

4. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens - I am a Daddy's girl and could so relate to Miss Havershim's protege'

5. Not on my bookshelf, but I remember it being banned in Jr. High-- Forever, Judy Blume

Unfortunately, I don't read as much as I use to. This scrapbooking bug has gotten hold of me. LOL! I'm still working on David Copperfield from this summer.

I do miss my books... Maybe I will revisit them soon.

Vesper said...

A very interesting post, Travis. I've done it on my blog this month. I haven't read any of these except for "Huckleberry Finn", which I reread many times, together with "Tom Sawyer" - I too fantasised about doing the same as them... Good luck with your new house and the bookshelves! I'm impressed - are you really building the house yourself?

sybil law said...

Oooh, I love books!
1) Winters Tale (Mark Helprin)
2) The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
3) Running with Scissors (Augusten Burroughs)
4) The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
5)One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
I could go on and on and on... but I won't. :)

Travis Erwin said...

Shauna - I agree 5 fav authors would be easier but still tough to leave some out.

Lane- As Debbie said there seems to be evidence she did nto write it alone, or maybe she did but fears another book would not have been as good therefore making it look like she didn't write the first one alone.

Terrie - Thanks but you did a good job as well. Every writer needs reference books.

Design Goddess- Have yo been reading my comments on other blogs? I hated Beowulf and Canterbury Tales above all else I had to read for school.

Phats- Good lsit alhtough I'm not much o f a Cathcer fan. Holden was too much of a whiner for me.

Tena- I do try to talk books now and then but not nearly as often as I originally intended

Pacha - The Pact was merely okay but I really loved My Sister and Vanishing Acts.

B.E. - Good list as well.

Charles - I'm pretty sure are tastes run different but that is what makes the world go round as they say. You have the best posts for making me think. Glad i coudl return the favor.

Alicia - I agree. A total suprise, yet perfect ending.

Cheryl - The Kite Runner is one of those books I know I'll like but I just can't make myself pick it up and get started.

PreTzel - I'm not sure i've ever read a true crime book.

Cher- You should give To Kill A Mickingbord another go. That is your homework assignment.

Merry - See my above comment about Beowuld and Canterbury Tales. Funny how different tastes run.

RocketStar - Animal Farm is one i need to reread. I loved it back in HS.

helenmh - glad to see another voice chime in. Don't be a stranger

Debbie- I did read you blog this week over at Criminal Brief, just didn't have time to weigh in.

Helen Shearer - You might give My Sister antoehr chance. It was a bit slow to start but it really takes off and the ending is fabulous.

Chick- There is always reading to do.

Adriann- I read Judy Blume back in elementary school when it wasn't really cool for guys to do so. Maybe that was the beginning of my thing for women's fiction.

Vesper I'll be sure and check out your list.

Sybil Law- I'll have to check out that first one. Never heard of it. ANd I've heard mixed reviews on the Running With Scissors.