Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Second half of my reading meme.....

Sorry this has taken me so long, Betty, but here's the second half of the interesting meme you tagged me with months ago!

Total number of books owned: Somewhere near 1000. Far too many, although I just can't seem to ever get rid of any. I worked at a bookshop in England for 3 years and horded like crazy, knowing someday I'd be in deepest, darkest France, unable to buy English books as easily.

Last book read and bought: A couple of weeks ago in the Village Voice bookshop in Paris I came across John Steinbeck's A Russian Journal that he wrote in 1948 and which features photographs by Robert Capa. What a great find! Not only does it feed my Russia obsession, but what a joy to read Steinbeck again and know he wasn't just about Cannery Row!

Five meaningful books: This one is quite hard for me, as at the time of reading, all books seem to have a special meaning for me. I guess I should slightly rephrase the question to 'Five books that have made a lasting impression'.

Fugitive Pieces : by Anne Michaels. This was a stunning book for me, not only in the story, but the lyrical way in which it was written. Inspiration for writing, inspiration for living.

The Gulag Archipelago : by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The courage, the insight, the wisdom, the tragedy, the strength. If only I could have a tenth of all of these that this book represents. Very haunting, but infinitely inspiring.

American Pastoral : by Philip Roth. One of my favorite authors, who I may not always understand, but who gets me in the gut everytime I read him. This book just resonated with me, as in my own writing I'm always interested in exploring the worlds of dysfunctional families, inner turmoil and forces outside our control that define who we are. I think this is Roth at his best.

Ethan Fromme : by Edith Wharton. Another quite haunting book, such a good example of the use of setting to set the tone of a story. One of those stories that makes you feel a little subdued for days after reading it. For me a great classic.

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning : by Laurie Lee. This almost feels like a coming of age story to me, full of wonderment and discovery. The landscape, the narrative, the desire to travel, this book really affected me an my view of the world outside the States. And in much the same way as Kerouac's On the Road, it stills excites me to read it because I get something new from it every time.

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