I saw this meme going around the blogosphere started by the blog Stuck in a Book and decided to participate. The rules are:
1.) Go to your bookshelves…
2.) Close your eyes. If you’re feeling really committed, blindfold yourself.
3.) Select ten books at random. Use more than one bookcase, if you have them, or piles by the bed, or… basically, wherever you keep books.
4.) Use these books to tell us about yourself – where and when you got them, who got them for you, what the book says about you, etc. etc…..
5.) Have fun! Be imaginative. Doesn’t matter if you’ve read them or not – be creative. It might not seem easy to start off with, and the links might be a little tenuous, but I think this is a fun way to do this sort of meme.
6.) Feel free to cheat a bit, if you need to…
Here are my ten:
1. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
I bought this one long ago for my introductory English course when I was a freshman in college. I confess that I’ve never much cared for reading Shakespeare, or any play for that matter. My best experience of Shakespeare was watching a performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” in Stratford-upon-Avon.
2. The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.
I read this book in high school and liked it, eventually buying a copy at a used-book sale but not reading it again. I hardly remember anything about it now, but I am planning to re-read it this year as part of the Flashback Challenge.
3. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Another book that I bought for a special topics course in college that focused only on the authors Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. I loved Faulkner’s style of writing even if some stuff went over my head. Sanctuary was the least dense of the Faulkner books that I read.
4. National Geographic’s Birds of North America
I had to buy this one for a field biology course, which was the best science general education course I could have picked. We got to tromp around outside, learning to identify birds, bird calls, trees and plants. Have I used the book since? Actually, no I don’t think I have. But I like to have it around as reference, just in case.
5. The Outcast of Redwall by Brian Jacques
The Redwall series by Brian Jacques were childhood favorites of mine. Traditionally, the ferrets, rats, weasels, etc were evil in the Redwall universe. I remember being excited to read Outcast of Redwall as the main character would be a ferret and that promised something different. Unfortunately, this book would only serve to underscore the determinism of the Redwall universe. The mouse who raises the ferret from birth says in the end “Veil was bad . . . I know that now. Some creatures cannot help being the way they are.” I was furious at the ending of the book and it caused my subsequent disenchantment with the series. As an adult, I’m still fond of the series and own seven of them still, but I should probably donate Outcast because of my strong feelings against it.
6. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
This book was given to me by my sister, because she knew I liked the movie which stars a young Jena Malone. I can’t remember now how the book and movie compare, but I believe the book is a little darker.
7. I Could Tell You Stories by Patricia Hampl
For my senior honors project in college, I explored autobiography, memoir and the concept “everyone has a story.” I bought this book at the beginning of my exploration. It didn’t get used for my paper in the end, but I remember liking it.
8. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Finally, a more recent purchase! I first read this book as a library copy and then bought my own copy last year at a library used book sale. Despite the generic title, this is really a great read. I got to see de los Santos speak at one of the annual National Book Festivals in D.C. and she was funny and personable.
9. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms by Ross Murfin and Supryia M. Ray
10. Personnages, 2nd edition by Michael D. Oates and Jacques F. Dubois
All I can say about these two is why do I still have them around? Both are books that I needed in college (the second is a French exercise book). I don’t need them anymore.
In conclusion, what this random selection says about me is that a lot of my collection is still populated by books purchased when I was an undergraduate. I graduated almost six years ago!
The truth is: I am actually not a huge book-buyer. I heavily rely on the public library to supply my reading needs. Hence, many of the books I own are those that I was required to purchase. I have shed a lot of my college books over the years, but yes, I still own at least three or four Norton Anthologies. (Former and current English majors know what I’m talking about.)