Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Favorite books

Anyone who knows me knows i love flattened wood bound together by glue and inserted between thicker pieces of flattened wood. I love books and i love anything to do with books. I love tattered covers, earmarked pages, used books with notes in the margins, the smell of a book that hasn't been read for 25 years. It is a pungent earthy beautiful smell. I love the feel of pages between my fingers. A cracked spine from multiple rereadings. I love different fonts, different types of paper, different sizes of books. I just love books. Sister Scorpion recently asked on her blog to make a list of your top ten fiction books. I put a comment in but figured i'd blog it too so brevity wasn't an issue. :-)

Here's mine but not in this order:

1. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: This book is perfection. What else is there to say about it? I have so many quotes written down from this book.

2. The Petite Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: I love love this book. I have it in French and in English. It's a guide book to life. My favorite section is when he talks about his flower and he was too young to love her as he should have. Beautiful little diddy.

3. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: I don't know why this book affected me like it did but it did. I found out i was pregnant and that i was going to have a son. That could be part of it. There's Russian Literature in it. There's the whole cultures colliding which i always find fascinating. I just really enjoyed this one.

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Any book that makes me cry is a top ten. (see previous post)

5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel: I loved this book. When he said he was a Christian, Hindu, and Muslim i was hooked and knew i'd love it. Such creativity and joyfulness.

6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I've read this so many times and just love it more every time. I don't know if it's the dashing Darcy or blushing Elizabeth but this book is such fun to read.

7. The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God by John Powers: I read this in high school after a teacher suggested it to me. It's been my favorite book for as long as I can remember. It's out of print and has been for a while. After reading the library copy i checked out, i had to buy a copy for myself but it was out of print already. This was before the internet (wow, i feel old now) so I had to call around to rare book dealers and used book store shops. I finally found it for $10 which is a lot for me back then fresh out of high school. I bought it and have treasured it since. It still has the bookmark from that store on East Colfax in Denver and is a first edition. It's easy to find the book now with the internet but i looked for it so hard at the time because i loved it so much. My favorite part of the book are the letters between a mechanic who doesn't like God because "he does sloppy work" and thinks he could do a better job, and a Catholic boy. The mechanic tells the boy to ask him questions and he'll answer them as God since God doesn't answer questions/prayers out loud. Here's a couple to give you an idea:

Dear God: Why do you let people grow old? Signed, Conroy
Conroy: Although I've created all of you, I often find the way you think quite puzzling. For me, the most beautiful moment on earth is old people. They are my human sunsets. Signed, God

Dear God: I didn't go to mass last Sunday morning. Signed, Conroy
Conroy, Don't worry about it. It was a nice day. I don't know built the church but I made the sunshine. Signed, God

Dear God: Today in my philosophy class, a guest lecturer proved, through the use of logic, that You do not exist. Signed, Conroy
Conroy: Ask your professor to explain to you why sunshine feels good on your face and snow does not. Have him write on the board the logical explanation of laughter. Ask him to list the reasons why pizza and beer taste good together. What are the logical factors that allow a bumblebee to fly? According to all aeronautical theories, it cannot.
Everything in the universe makes sense to me. Why shouldn't it? I'm God. But very little makes sense to you humans because I deliberately made you considerably dumber than me. Why look for trouble?
By the way, a few years ago, there was a guy in New York who logically proved that the earth does not exist. Just to make sure, he wrote down all of his calculations and checked them over. But as he already knew, his reasoning was correct.
To prove his point, he jumped out a twelfth floor window. On his way down, to make absolutely sure his thinking was logical, he again reviewed his facts and again found no error in his thinking.
He now firmly believed he was right. But when he hit the ground, he made just as big a splat as anybody else. Logic and reality don't have much to do with one another. Signed, God

Don't you love it? This book reminds me of my youth as a questioning Catholic girl etc. It's more than a book, it's part of me.

8. The Moon Below by Barbara Bickmore: I love the female character in this book. She is the strongest woman i have read in literature. What she does is amazing.

9. The Chosen by Chaim Potok: Another book that formed my young mind. I wanted to be a Hasidic Jew after reading it. I totally identified with Danny. His dad was the silent type and i often felt that same way with my dad. Another book that made me cry. I also loved his fascination with books.

10. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway is absolutely my favorite book at the time but it is not fiction. So be it. I plan to reread this one soon (i just read it but didn't have a highlighter or pen around) and highlight passages. Insh'Allah one day i'll go to Paris again and i'll go check out all the addresses he listed in it. What a writers delight this book.


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