Wednesday, June 10, 2009

15 books

JG recently posted about 15 books that will always stick with you. JG calls herself a literary snob in that post and here I will admit (??) that I am not. I have indeed come rather late to the literary scene and somewhat reluctantly. I am a passionate and voracious reader, but by preference would read non-fiction. I like learning, So shoot me.

That said, once we moved onto the boat and then to Spain I have had to read pretty much whatever I could find, and the majority of that has been fiction, and a fair amount of that litrature.

Fortunately this meme wants 15 books that will always stick with us...and we have to think of them off the top of our head, so here we go:

Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels. This book is simply stunning, it is so filled with depth of meaning I find myself reading and re-reading and re-reading it. The only book I have ever read, then flipped it over and started again.

All in the Same Boat, Fiona McCall and Paul Howard. I read this when I was younger and it is a large part of what lit the flame of my desire to go off cruising with my kids when/if I had some. They are from Toronto and set off around the world with two kids, when I was about that age too. Definitely had an impact. Fairly well written too.

In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin You will gradually gather that I love travel writing. Go figure. What isn't know about Chatwin is how fantastic some of his photography is, we have that book of his too, like everything else, it is in the basement in TO. He can WRITE.

Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana. This one is again about sailing, and the old-timers going around the Horn, from this one I went on to read a whole lot of history and geography from that time. Great book.

The Last Grain Race, Eric Newby. Goodness I love Newby's writing, and his wife Wanda's commentary even more. This was the first of his book I read and far from that last. He can make the grinding horror of some aspects of travel seem hilarious. Particularly useful when traveling yourself.

Dragon Song, Anne McCaffery. Read it as a young teen, adored it, re-read it about a thousand times, it is the classic story of a young girl finder out who she is and her place in the world. Read every single other book she has written too.

Brother Cadfael series, Ellis Peters - actually Edith Parageter. Again, read it as a young teen, read them all, every book she wrote in the end. Sparked a fascination in history, particularly medieval history (though I still find that word brutal to spell) Even studied some history at University....started here.

Now We Were Six and When We Were Very Young .... A. A. Milne. I think those are the books, the two books of poetry. They were sent to Eldest by my Aunt in the UK, and she ADORED them. I have memorised great swaths of both of them from reading them sooooo very often:

James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Duprey
Took great care of his mother, though he was only three....

I will be able to quote this on my deathbed and I'll be glad of it too.

Seductions of Rice, Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid. I was just figuring out cooking, and we couldn't afford to eat out at all the different restaurants from all over the world, this was the first of their cookbooks that I found, and it was like traveling in my own kitchen. Great food, great cultural background, great photos and super super clear recipes that always worked.

Swallows and Amazons series, Arthur Ransome Read them to my kids, adore them, recommend them to everyone and anyone. Looking forward to seeing our copies again this summer, they are - inevitably- on the boat. Wildly under-supervised kids camping and sailing all over the Lake Districts in the UK....great fun. Ignore the rather, um, Victorian attitudes in places, and explain them to your kids.

My Family and other Animals, Gerald Durrell. Picked it up in China. Loved the story, loved the travel aspect, funny, well written, again, inspiration for travel with kids and fed into the green person I am now.

The Outermost House, Henry Beston Loved this book, loved the sense of place and silence and immersion into an environment. I could see doing this with the man once the kids are grown. We got a glimpse in the Bahamas when we got to be quite(ish) and still in a place.

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson I don't even know where to start with this. An environmental clarion call that has not left me, on any level.

El Noi dels Pijamas de Ratlles, John Boyne. First entire book I read in Catalan. Considerable sense of accomplishment there.

A Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson. She writes about children's sense of wonder and how important it is to nurture this and to maintain it in our lives. Influenced me as a teacher and a Mom.

Gorillas in the Mist by Diane Fossey...again, a seminal moment in my life...strong independent women, the environment, travel....had it all. Sourced a whole lot of study into Anthropology and the history of humanity.

There was another book I was thinking about while typing, but it is gone now....hmmmmm

Don't know if that was 15 or not, it'll do.

So, what 15 books have never left you?


Beth said...

Great post! I love all the little blurbs you did to explain what the book is about and why you love it. That's SO much more fun to read than just a plain old list.
Thanks for taking the time!

I'm going to check some of these out now...

Hula Girl at Heart said...

Excellent. I smell a theme with the traveling. :) I love this meme because it gives me such good ideas for adding to my book list.

Beth said...

Way too many to list (or I’m either too lazy or my brain is too muddled at the moment) but I do remember that Little Women was the first book I ever read that made me cry – the first book where I “experienced” the death of a character. I can still remember being upset with my mother for encouraging me to read it – knowing what was going to happen to Beth (the other Beth...).

Boo and Trev said...

Glad that foot picture isn't the first thing I'm seeing anymore.
I must read some Eric Newby. When Mum was in her final illness in hospital and couldn't cope with conversation we used to read to her when we visited. We read My Family and other Animals but the last book, which we didn't finish, was A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. I must read it again some day

J.G. said...

We have some reading overlap, although the ones you name are still TBR by me: Fugitive Pieces, Silent Spring, and The Outermost House. I'll have to move them into priority position, now that I know for sure they are good. So glad you were inspired by the theme.

And I love Milne! (Missed that one on the list, alas.) I always enjoyed the one about the good girl: have you been a GOOD girl? All the Pooh stories were a big part of my childhood. Future post on that, no doubt!

oreneta said...

Beth, it makes more sense to me, why they never left they changed me....

Hula...yeah, travel is a bit of a theme for me I guess....

Beth, interesting, I didn't like little women as a kid, and I don't think I finished it until I read it to my kids....too constrained I guess.

Boo, the Hindu Kush is a good book...did she like Durrell? Bet she could relate to the mother in some ways.

JG, Milne is so wonderful....and yes, move those up the list...they are wonderful.