Thursday, August 03, 2006

Book Meme

After reading many versions of the book meme on various blogs, I've decided to finally do my own. I do so love lists! Plus, I'm feeling very lazy today.

1. One book that changed your life.

A Long Walk To Freedom, by Nelson Mandela. I read it when I was 16 or so (not that long ago for me), and it opened my eyes and got me thinking in so many ways. One of my ambitions is to meet Nelson Mandela before he dies (because let's face it, he's an old man now), but I have the feeling that the closest I am likely to get is the Make Poverty History rally I attended in London, where he was a speaker.

2. One book that you've read more than once.

The entire James Herriot series. If you've never heard of these, they are the autobiographical stories of a vet in the Yorkshire Dales during the '40s. It helps if you love animals, but these books are utterly fantastic - I love re-reading them. Each time I do, and I come across a favourite anecdote, it's like catching up with an old friend I haven't seen for ages. The characters are beautifully represented (I wish Tristan were one of my friends so I could marry him), and they are hilarious to read. It makes me smile with delight just thinking about those books.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island.

Probably the Bible...I tried reading it once, and I got as far as Noah's age and gave up in disgust. I think if I read it, I would understand much more about this world. A desert island would be the ideal setting too, because not only would there be no other books to distract me, but I imagine that at that stage, I would be very receptive to the idea of God.

4. One book that made you laugh.

Any of the James Herriot ones. That's cheating really, isn't it? Ok then, any Discworld books featuring Rincewind the Wizzard.

5. One book that made you cry.

Iris, by John Bayley. It's Bayley's memoir of his wife Iris Murdoch, and he recounts everything, from the first time he saw her right up to how he coped when she developed Alzheimers. I love this book for so many reasons, not least because I always wondered if love truly lasts until old age. Now I know I have something to look forward to. I always hoped I would see John Bayley shambling around Oxford since he still lives nearby, but I never did. I don't think I would have spoken to him, but I wanted to see the man who loved his wife so much and wrote such a beautiful book about their life together.

6. One book that you wish had been written.

Another James Herriot one. (Does anyone sense a theme here?)

7. One book you wish had never been written.

So many people have said that there are no books they wish had never been written. I think there are probably some books I wish had never been written, but as I can't recall any of them right now, I'm going to say I wish I had never wasted my time reading Platform by Houellebecq. A friend recommended it to me, and it had a lot of rave review extracts in the front, and I expected great things. Instead, I loathed it.

8. One book you're currently reading.

While I was in the library today, I picked up a book called Yan and the Pike, by Jun Machida. When I have kids, I'm going to buy it for them and read it to them.

9. One book you've been meaning to read.

Ulysses. It has been on my bookshelf for at least five years now, and I have tried a couple of times to read it, but always given up by about the second page *blushes shamefacedly*. One of these days...
(Or I could just read the cheat's guide)

10. I'm not tagging anyone, but if you happen across this and haven't done it, do it!


Stefanie said...

I love James Herriot! He made me want to be a country vet. I never became a vet, nor do I live in the country, but his books made me laugh and cry. Great reads!

BookGirl said...

I must read James Herriot then. I enjoyed reading your answers :)

Danielle said...

I am very bad. When I was in college a good friend (at the time we had just met) loaned me a James Herriot compendium of stories to read over the winter break. I never did. I think I had better look some books up though, it sounds like I missed out! :)

The Traveller said...

Stefanie, I'm so glad I've found a fellow James Herriot lover! I've just discovered that dreams do come true - there is indeed another James Herriot book I didn't know existed, called 'Every Living Thing'. I ordered it from Amazon last night and can't wait for it to arrive! Danielle and Bookgirl, definitely try the Herriot books - you'll realise quite fast if they're not to your taste.

litlove said...

Are the books different to the TV series? I was a small child when it was on and my family always watched it, and it rather put me off the books. I'll try anything once!

Stefanie said...

I haven't read Everything Living Thing. Must look into that one!

tanabata said...

Hi, I just found your blog today.
I read Yan and the Pike last year- it's very cute. I think there are a couple more yan stories that I'm going to have to try and get my hands on one of these days.

charlotte said...

I love your choices. I also loved Iris, and the film was pretty good too. Speaking of which, how about the One Movie Meme?

The Traveller said...

Litlove, the books are incredibly different to the tv series! I recently saw a couple of episodes with Anthony Hopkins in, and was so disappointed. It wasn't how I'd imagined the characters or anything. The books far surpass the televised episodes!

Tanabata, I think I'll have to seek out some more Yan stories too - a delightful chance find.

Charlotte, I never even thought of a movie meme - I guess I could do it, but I don't really watch a lot of movies. I tend to forgo them in favour of reading, and when I do watch them, I have a tendency to leave 20 minutes in because I get so bored. When it comes to movies, I have the shortest attention span in the world!