Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Book meme

I've been tagged by skookumchick for this meme (I never get tagged! I guess it's my lucky day), so as a reward for my full day of writing (woo hoo! the motivation is back!), I'm taking some time to fill it out.

1. One book that changed your life?
I'm going with two books here, that changed my life for different reasons.

The first one is Backlash, by Susan Faludi. This was the first feminist book that I ever read (I was in college at the time), and it just blew me away. I had never given feminism much of a thought before this, but this book made me think about everything differently, made me question my priorities, made me think more critically about what I was learning and reading. I read it at a time when I was feeling especially isolated, as one of only a few women in my major, taught exclusively by male profs---and it gave credence to my feelings at the time. It even got me to sign up for a women's studies course---I had no room in my schedule, but I made room in it for that course. This book was the first step towards developing the more active feminism that I now live by.

The second book is less lofty: The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. I read a lot of books, but a while back I found myself in sort of a rut---not excited by the authors I was reading, not sure what authors to try. A good friend suggested I read it. I picked it up at the library---and pretty much read it non-stop from start to finish. I was so drawn into the story and the characters. There is something about the way that Kingsolver writes that just speaks to me on a very deep level. I love her writing, the way she develops her characters, the way she sets scenes, the way her stories unfold. This book opened me up to a whole new group of authors, like Jane Hamilton, Anne Tyler, and Anita Shreve.

2. One book you have read more than once?
As a kid, I read the Anne of Green Gables books over and over and over again. I still have them, and still re-read them from time to time. I was pretty shy, and so I admired Anne immensely and wanted so much to be like her. In some ways, I think those books helped me to come out of my shell, ultimately. Now, I just enjoy them---the stories are still entertaining after all these years.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
OK, this is really geeky, but if I were stranded on a desert island then I would want to read Donald Knuth's 3-volume The Art of Computer Programming. Because otherwise I'll never get around to reading them.

4. One book that made you laugh?
Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia. I know, a weird choice, but there's just something about her writing style that cracks me up.

5. One book that made you cry?
I don't often cry over books---I get deeply affected by them, but rarely am moved to tears. But The Fifth Child, by Doris Lessing, was so wrenching that I did cry over parts of it.

6. One book you wish had been written?
A sequel to any of Barbara Kingsolver's books. I'd love to hear what happens to the characters after the story!

7. One book you wish had never been written?
Any of the Mars and Venus books by John Gray. Ick.

8. One book you are currently reading?
Wicked. I know, I know, I'm so far behind the rest of the world on this one. I'm really enjoying it, although I hated the beginning (now that Elphaba's away at school, it's much more interesting).

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Lifting a Ton of Feathers, by Paula J. Caplan. It's been on my bookshelf for a while, untouched!

10. Now tag five people:
Oh geez. Um, how about Katie, New Kid, FemaleCSGradStudent, ianqui, and Lisa. And anyone else who wants to participate!


JF said...

On 'Lifting a Ton of Feathers': I just read it and it was so dead-on about women in science that I burst into tears and had to put it down for a week. Affirming, yet depressing!

Anonymous said...

So I guess I should read Backlash. Thanks for the suggestion! (Yes I know, I HAVE READ it.)

skookumchick said...

Fun! I was an Anne fan too, but more of the TV series (I'm a PBS kid, what can I say?). Have you read Susan Faludi's "Stiffed"? I haven't yet, but I heard it's good... Thanks for playing!

Jane said...

skookumchick, I haven't read _Stiffed_ yet, but it's on my to-read list. If I do read it, I'll do a book report for y'all. :)

JF, thanks for the warning---I guess I won't be taking that book along on my next plane trip!