Wednesday, June 03, 2009

books bring comfort


as i write this, i feel a little like i'm coming down with a flu. there's something going around. and coupled with grey, rainy weather, it has me thinking about comforts. like curling up with a good book. bee wrote a couple of weeks ago about her comfort reads (and a lot of other favorite book categories) and so i've been thinking about this for awhile. when polly wrote about it too, that sealed it. i've got to make lists of favorite books--my categories are, for the most part, loosely adapted from bee's and polly's...

childhood favorites:
  1. really rosie - maurice sendak (i had both book and record - we still play the music in the car when we travel as a family)
  2. chronicles of narnia - c.s. lewis (i still reread these every once in awhile. and i truly didn't get the christian references as a kid. i just wanted to be lucy.)
  3. little women - louisa may alcott (i read this dozens of times and fancied myself as jo)
  4. little men - louisa may alcott (ditto this and i think i even liked it better--i wanted to live in that big old house with all those boys)
  5. the little house books - laura ingalls wilder (i had dresses to dress up and played little house for hours on end. i even went to the LIW pageant in DeSmet, SD, tho' all i really remember were the mosquitos because it was outdoors.)
  6. fox in socks - dr. seuss. (still love this one and read it with sabin regularly)
comfort reading (to which i return again and again)
  1. no. 1 ladies detective series - alexander mccall smith (i love mma ramotswe. period.)
  2. harry potter series - j.k. rowling (yup, i return to this one again and again - they're just such great characters and they do fit together wonderfully--she had to have really planned them out in advance)
  3. master & margarita - mikael bulgakov (talking cats and people who materialize on street corners - ya gotta love it)
  4. what i loved - siri hustvedt (although i siri-ed myself out last year, i'd be ready to go back to this one again now)
  5. a widow for one year - john irving (i love the sweep of this one and although i fancy myself as ruth (there's a recurring thing here wherein i place myself in all of the novels), there is something sorrowful over eddie that i love as well)
  6. the bean trees - barbara kingsolver (the quotes that stick best in my head are from this book)
  7. one hundred years of solitude - gabriel garcia marquez
  8. the unbearable lightness of being - milan kundera
favorite theorists
  1. the indivisible remainder - slavoj žižek
  2. problems of dostoevsky's poetics - mikael bakhtin
  3. mythologies - roland barthes
  4. after theory - terry eagleton
  5. distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste - pierre bourdieu 
the russians 
  1. the brothers karamazov - fyodor dostoevsky
  2. pushkin house - andrei bitov
  3. master & margarita - mikael bulgakov (yup, on this list too)
  4. notes from underground - fyodor dostoevsky
  5. pale fire - vladimir nabokov
best i've read in the past year
  1. dance, dance, dance - haruki murakami
  2. hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world - haruki murakami
  3. the short wondrous life of oscar wao - junot diaz
non-fiction faves

  1. black lamb and grey falcon - rebecca west
  2. lucy: the beginnings of humankind - donald c. johanson and maitland edey
  3. origins - richard leakey
  4. devil in the white city - erik larson

ones which i've only pretended to read in their entirety (had to slip in a confession)
  1. ulysses - james joyce (had a whole course devoted to this and STILL didn't make it through, tho' i wrote a great paper)
  2. satanic verses - salman rushdie
  3. the odyssey - homer (i've come closest to reading it all on this one)
  4. faust - johann wolfgang von goethe
strangely have never picked up
  1. lord of the rings - j.r.r. tolkien
  2. proust
  3. tess of the d'urbervilles - thomas hardy
play along if you'd like to make lists of your favorite books. and i'd love to see some confessions on what you've only pretended to have read. because you know there's something.

32 comments:

Polly said...

I'm looking at your list and I can't believe I missed Master and Margarita from mine, it's the best book I've ever read and I keep going back to it, how could I have missed it??

Same goes for Hundred Years and The Unbearable Lightness...

Great list. The only thing I wouldn't agree with is Harry Potter, for some strange reason I'm not a fan

The Fragrant Muse said...

Childhood Favorites:
The Betsy & Billy Series - Carolyn Haywood (I remember loving these books as early as first grade)
Everything by Beverly Cleary (adored Ramona Quimby)
Pippi Longstocking - Inger Nilsson
The Borrowers - Mary Clinton
My Father's Dragon - Ruth Stiles Gannett

Comfort Reading:
Elizabeth George
Patricia Cornwell
Any kind of how-to book

I could go on but won't hog the whole space.

Rest, Echinachia, Rest, Hot Tea, Rest, Water and More Rest. You're body is trying to tell you something dear Julie. Like maybe...get some rest?

Lisa-Marie said...

Never was there a truer phrase. There are books everywhere in our house (neatly tidy and ordered), because they give me an immediate sense of calmness.

I may blog about this topic too!

I echo The Fragrant Muse's sentiment about rest, and add Lemsip, Vitamin C, Iron, comfortable pyjamas, and old films.

Katie said...

I'd write a book list, but we'll be here for a while, so I won't bother.

I have never read Pride and Prejudice though, even though I tell people I do. I just never seemed to get round to it, and I've read all of Austen's other books.

Whew, glad I got that off my chest :)

Katie x

judithg said...

Oh I could bore you to tears joining in with this game,but I much enjoyed your 'books I only pretend to have read' categories...I have many books in my 'It's insanely embarrassing that I haven't read this book' list. I'm blushing just thinking about it.

Books I hate that everyone else adores...top of the list 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'. Snore.

Books I have read to be impressive, but secretly found too difficult 'War & Peace'.

Books I am never, ever going to read 'Anything by JRR Tolkien'.

;-)

Tin (ni Johann) said...

I was the same with Ulysses by James Joyce. I never finished it -- though I made a big show of flipping through the pages until I got to the very end. =^_^=

This was a great list -- hope you don't mind if I answer it on my blog. ^_^

julochka said...

please feel free to do this one on your own blogs if you'd like, you don't need to feel like you have to do it here in the comments. :-)

Optimistic Pessimist (formerly known as marathoner81) said...

I love the pretend to have read list...If I think about it, my list would probably be quite extensive.

Cyndy said...

Thanks for sharing the list! No doubt those who write the best, read the best.

Have not read Master and Margarita, but am now intrigued (adding to the list). Like the others, my list would be too long (and we know how I like to leave short comments!), but I will say that most of my favorites are the classics, especially from the 1880 - 1940 era(s). I tend to lean more towards children's literature (fantasy and adventure without sex--not a prude, just feel that most of the time it is filler for the author's sake). I grew up reading Nancy Drew (I am Nancy), and in my more mature (?) years am enjoying poetry and etiquette books. Discovered James Whitcomb Riley last year and cannot get enough of him! His midwestern lines, sometimes written in dialect form, and the beautiful b&w illustrations are simple but amazing.

So much for the short comment. Darn it!

Cyndy said...

...and (yes, I know, can't leave well enough alone, but you did bring up a hot topic), for modern literature a big fan of Kingsolver. The Poisonwood Bible haunted my thoughts for weeks, but now BK is helping me and my daughter in our quest to be locavores (a more gentler way of getting under my skin).

Rowling and Tolkein family favorites (in print, audio and video)...

Should go blog about all this, but I think I just did, on yours...

Rx: Tea, rest and just a couple of pages of a good book. The sun will shine tomorrow...

rxBambi said...

Definitely gonna copy this post because you didn't list my all time very favoritist book in the whole wide world that I've read about a gazillion times and probably will read again. We have similar taste (from the list you posted anyway) so be sure to check it out. Might take me a couple days.

Also, I don't think I've read any of the Russians. Interesting. Although I'm sure if I thought hard enough I was probably *supposed* to have read them in school.

Chiara.u said...

Great you share with us your list... I think I could get inspiration!! One of these days I build my own list... I must only verify if there's the english version of some of them :))
Bye!

Bill Stankus said...

Thinking about it, I suppose my interest in reading comes from those first read - the ones that give excitement and the 'wow' fator to a young boy.

Tom Sawyer
Rip Van Winkle
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
Black Beauty
Ivanhoe
Kidnapped
Treasure Island
Robinson Crusoe
The Three Musketeers
Through the Looking Glass
The Jungle Book
Gulliver's Travels
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

I've never been interested in the Harry Potter stories.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

I love this and will probably do it on my blog one of these days. But I must mention my all time favorite childhood book that was left off of your list--Matilda by Roald Dahl. I've read it literally 25 times. Anything by him was great.

Also, I highly recommend the book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, if anyone here hasn't read it. It's FANTASTIC.

Thanks for the great meme idea and I hope you feel better. Rest and drink tea. And read. Yes, great idea.

tangobaby said...

I hope you're feeling better soon.

I've gotten this horrible habit of keeping six books in partial stages of completion on my nightstand that I read depending on what mood I'm in (only six? how is that?) and now here are a few more that I'll have to add to the list for future.

julochka said...

i'm only just reading roald dahl's matilde right now for the first time to sabin. i would have loved it as a kid and i'm not sure why i never read it then.

i also thought i'd never go for harry potter and didn't read it 'til the 4th or 5th one came out, but once i did, i was hooked.

i read trixie belden and nancy drew as a kid too and loved both, tho' i found trixie more down-to-earth. :-)

m'liss; said...

I have that exact same habit, I start a ton of books and can never finish all of them right away... But I'd have to say that some of my favorite books right now are anything by Jodi Picoult. I love the topics she covers in her novels. And childhood books... I could make a list longer than life itself- I work in Chapters in the kids' section so I'm constantly discovering new ones that I remember reading!
& I really want to read the no1 ladies detective series. I've heard so many good things about it to-date but haven't gotten to it yet...

Madame Ladybug (Ady) said...

We have pretty similar book tastes! Are you on GoodReads or Shelfari or anything?

julochka said...

i am on good reads. if you scroll down, you'll find me.

heidikins said...

I re-read Little Women as an adult and loved it so much more than when I was a kid. Jo! Amy! Poor Beth and Miss Meg...heart!

Also, I have a slightly unnatural crush on Nabokov...must find Pale Fire.

xox

smith kaich jones said...

Julie - I think you tapped into everyone's mood right now. I also think I will do this on my blog, but first I will tell you I have a huge metal file box filled w/Trixie Belden books. I love them still. Oh - and I'm adding on my post Books I've Read Aloud - the ever-wonderful Michael & I do this all the time. A wind down at the end of our day. I read, he listens. And he remembers more.

:) Debi

Char said...

childhood favorites:

alexander and ther terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day - Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz (it gets my pout out)

little women - louisa may alcott (ditto - and i still cry when beth dies)
little men - louisa may alcott (loved it too)
the secret garden - frances hodgson burnett
the nancy drew mysteries - carolyn keene (read all of the ones written until i was around 13 or so)

comfort reading (to which i return again and again)
harry potter series - j.k. rowling (me too - and didn't she say she did have it planned out from the beginning?)
eat, love, pray - elizabeth gilbert
one hundred years of solitude - gabriel garcia marquez (ditto)

best i've read in the past year
here is my confession - i've read mostly trash this year because it's been too hard to read decent literature because it involves hardships and i've had my fill of hardships over the past 24 or so months. i've pushed back from the table on hardships.

ones which i've only pretended to read in their entirety
war and peace
anna karina - she was such a pain that i just hated her

Starlene said...

A Widow For One Year is and always will be the one that I remember loving the most. Something about the way the book ended with the same phrase it began with just squeezed my heart to bursting. Did you like The Cider House Rules?

When I'm feeling better I'll do my book thing. I have a feeling it will be boring. I read lots of alternative medicine and herb non-fiction.

Abby said...

maurice sendak? isnt she the creator of little bear? that was my favorite tv show when i was younger :)

as for haruki murakami... all the praise you've given this author really inspires me to pick up one of the novels. any suggestions? would someone in my age group find them interesting?

Bee said...

LOVE the book list! I've been meaning to write you an email of encouragement to read the Little House books with Sabin. I think that you will find them fascinating to revisit, and she will be intrigued/entertained.

I have bought THREE Murakami books on your recommendation (must get to them).

Also, I (strangely) have never picked up Proust, either. I think that I'm waiting for a long illness . . . which, obviously, I don't really want to have.

julochka said...

abby--start with kafka on the shore. or norwegian wood.

little bear is by Else Holmelund Minarik, but you're right that the illustrations were by maurice sendak. he also did Where the Wild Things Are.

Bee said...

And I forgot to mention: Have you read Siri's new one, The Sorrows of an American, yet?

It was intelligent and intriguing, but I thought it fell off at the end. I'd like to know what you think about it.

B said...

I'll definitely do this in my blog! Love your list, except Harry Potter really not a fan!

Balderdash: Medarami: The act of reading two Murakami books at the same time. As in B was in a real Medarami, trying to read Kafka in the shore and Hard-boiled... at the same time.

Elizabeth said...

LOVED your list
I wrote one a week or so ago
on Bee's suggestion

I have gleaned lots of good ideas from yours!
greetings from NY!

Gypsyfeet said...

The Bean Trees is one of my favorites too. I just finished reading it for the third time :)

Gypsyfeet said...

And Hardboliled Wonderland. Murakami is a genius. have you rad Kafka on the Shore? amazing.

Christina said...

This post of yours, is just one of the reasons, I love ya!
Yeah mon!