In Which I Answer the Question You Have Posed

June 23, 2006

Alright, I have to assent to the consensus. It’s not reading (for prizes anyway) if I’m looking at pictures or scanning knitting patterns. That doesn’t seem fair–age discrimination or reading level discrimination. If I were three, you’d count a Carl book as prize-worthy.

But I digress, some of you, my worthy 2.3 readers have asked me what I do read when the reading mojo is upon me. And so I shall answer you.

Favorite books (in no particular order)–

Anything by C. S. Lewis, but especially The Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy

George MacDonald books, especially Lilith and Phantastes and Diary of an Old Soul

Christopher Paolini’s Eragon and Eldest

Holly Black’s Tithe

J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy

The Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery

Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and subsequent books. I have an autographed copy of A Wrinkle in Time from the summer when both M.L. and my dad taught a summer session at the same university. (Isn’t my dad cool?) I have to confess that I have never enjoyed her dialogue (always felt stilted to me), but I love the premise of the stories and the characters. Meg was my hero, and the boy she ended up marrying whose name escapes me was wonderful too.

Anything by Jane Austen, especially Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility–oops, that’s almost all isn’t it?

So many YA books–usually my first choice–Kevin Henkes’ Olive’s Ocean was lovely, Big Mouth and Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates; Meg Cabot’s books (she’s just as funny and charming in real life too).

Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones books. She had me at the joke about Mark Darcy standing aloof and brooding in the corner.

Some more recent books that I’ve enjoyed (some are a little salty, but made me laugh or cry or whatever the appropriate emotion is):

Dave Egger’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and They Shall Know Our Velocity

David Sedaris’s Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Augusten Burrough’s Running with Scissors (I still feel sick about the dog-food eating part.)

Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

When I was an angst-ridden teenager, I read all the obligatory mental illness and ennui books I Never Promised You a Rose Garden; Lisa, Bright and Dark, etc. I kept telling my dad about them, and he expressed an overwhelming lack of desire to know all the gory details. He told me that since he had worked in a mental hospital and public university (which are basically the same thing) he didn’t need the fiction when he has witnessed the reality.

I thought he was nuts (ha ha), but now that the sands of time have sunk much farther down for me–stories of abuse and adultery and the crap of life–which is most modern fiction just aren’t my cup of tea.

I read The Kite Runners for my book group. It was a powerful first novel, but I have to tell you that I felt sick the entire time I was reading it. You know, Cecily, I think your Jan Karon books may be just the thing. Something uplifting. Or, hilariously funny.

So when the reading mojo returns, hopefully before Harry Potter 7, Eragon 3 or Lemony Snicket 13 come out, I shall find my way, as you’ve noticed to the fantasy aisle or the laugh-out loud funny aisle or the YA aisle because they’ve been my friends many a long year.

And they’re the kind of friends who don’t mind if I set them aside for a day or a year or a decade. They’ll be waiting when I get back.


5 Responses to “In Which I Answer the Question You Have Posed”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    What about The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald where a young Princess Irene and her good friend Curdie have an adventure?
    No Harry Potter?
    What about Dragonlance?
    Dragon Riders of Pern?

    Meg’s hubby is Calvin O’Keefe who has that horrible family and, yes, your Dad sounds cool.


  2. Ellen Says:

    First off, thanks for all your lovely comments on our site! We love you over at KnitSisters.

    And then, about books: I share your love of Jane Austen. So witty! You might like other 19th-century British novels, too. My other favorite author on that list is George Eliot. Heavy sledding at times, yes, but so worth it! My sister likes Dickens, but I have to confess that I don’t feel the love so much. But did you catch the production of _Bleak House_ on PBS? So great. And now on DVD! So if the reading urge doesn’t come back, well…one alternative.

    You might also want to check out Kelly Link. She’s an up-and-coming science fiction-y writer who has some great short stories. I have a feeling you might like her.

    A beautifully written and rather quiet book that came out a year or two ago that I loved was _Gilead_ by Marilynne Robinson. A lovely, deep kind of book.

    So just a few thoughts for whenever you get back in the mood…

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Chris Says:

    Heh, I went through the same phase as an angst-ridden teen, reading the same mental illness books!

  4. --Deb Says:

    From the rest of your list, I’m also surprised the Dragonriders of Pern books aren’t on there, either. But may I also suggest Sharon Shinn? (Try “Archangel” first) I love her books, and it sounds like they’d fit right in….

  5. Marji Says:

    Thank You! You are the first person I’ve come across who will admit to not loving the Kite Runner. Everyone professes love for this book. Why? I found it profoundly sad, from beginning to end. Of course, I read it immediately after finishing Anna Karennina, which was equally as sad and disturbing to me (on the adultery and leaving your family and kids for personal selfish reasons level)

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