c o l u m b i n a

"by her keen and active wit, she [ is ] able to hold her own in every situation and emerge with ease and dignity from the most involved intrigues." ~ Duchartre

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

one book meme

via Colleen Gleason's blog, which was only found through shared love of Vicky Bliss. I might just have to read her books now.

one book... that changed your life

It may be slightly silly (okay, very silly) but The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters. Not an earth-shattering read, a very simple yet terribly entertaining installment of the Amelia Peabody series. However, let me explain about the life-changing bit.

I read a lot of historical fiction as a young girl. Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart trilogy. Everything Agatha Christie ever wrote. I don't think I will ever know how many times I read The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, but for someone like me who is so ridiculously fastidious about her books, that is one abused paperback that sits on my shelves. Then, in fifth grade, foolish me decided to tackle the historical books in the recommended summer booklist and plucked Kipling's Kim off the library shelves.

That's right. Kim. I still have nightmares. I can't even remember what the hell the book was about; I just have nightmares about how the book couldn't, wouldn't, didn't EVER end, and that interminable first sentence about that damn cannon. And I made a little promise to myself: no more books that weren't set in modern day.

I kept that promise for quite a while. I had bought that first Peters book in an airport bookstore, in a hurry, intrigued because it was in the mystery section and had hieroglyphics on the cover. And then I read the first couple pages and realized I had been duped. A period piece, and quoting Keats in the first two pages! It got lost amongst my bookshelves until it somehow got thrown in my suitcase on my first excursion to Europe the summer before I started ninth grade. Trapped on the plane home with no other options, it got read.

And I was hooked forever on Elizabeth Peters. (I'm going to be buried with that book, I think. Or maybe Night Train to Memphis, I really haven't decided. But either one would make a better companion for my afterlife than a Bible, really.) And the majority of the books in my library are once again predominately historicals. So well done, Ms. Mertz. That's all your fault.

one book... that you've read more than once

How about almost every book on my extensive set of bookshelves? I will say, my most impressive re-read IMHO is Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. That was an undertaking the first time around, but I did pick up on much more of the wit of it the second time around.

one book... that you'd want on a desert island

I hate that question. Choose? Between my BOOKS?

In the words of the great Irish comedian Ardal O'Hanlon, paraphrased from memory... "An interviewer once asked me if I was stranded on a desert island, which two books I'd bring with me. I didn't like the threat implied in the question, so I told her that the first book I'd bring would be a big, plastic, inflatable book, and the second would be How to Make Oars Out of Sand."

one book... that made you laugh

Every last one of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. My mother wants to be Grandma Mazur when she grows old.

one book... that made you cry

I'm a notorious stoic when it comes to my entertainment choices, but I will admit that I wept very freely and couldn't breathe properly for large portions of Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett. I still can't read certain scenes without getting slightly worked up... "But I am her daughter" indeed.

one book... that you wish you had written

Harry Potter so I'd be richer than the Queen? Seriously, however, I think that Dorothy Sayers must have died happy to have created such a perfect book as Gaudy Night. I never would be able to come close to that kind of excellence, but such a thoughtful and entertaining book would certainly be something of which to be exceedingly proud.

one book... that you wish had never been written

The Da Vinci Code. Just awful, and so inspiring of other hacks.

one book... that you are currently reading

David Liss' The Coffee Trader.

one book... that you've been meaning to read

Anna Karenina, The Woman in White, The Other Boleyn Girl, Lanark, and many, many others.


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