Kailana has a really great meme going: Ten Books I Couldn't Live Without. For some reason, I just couldn't keep it down to ten when I first started mulling that concept. Then, I had trouble thinking in terms of things I couldn't live without. I'm a little on the zen side; part of me has this vague notion that I could live happily in a monk-like empty space with just a pillow and a rotating supply of books (that part is completely wacko). Turning the idea on its side to come up with favorites that I love so much I've either read them repeatedly or find myself mentioning them repeatedly was a wee bit easier; don't ask me why. I started out with just five and then walked around thinking about others all evening, so if you've been here already and find yourself blinking . . . it's not all in your head; I've altered the post.
Ten Books I Couldn't Live Without:
1. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier - I still recall the oh-my-gosh, heart-pounding moment when everything became clear in Rebecca. Not a single one of the other Daphne DuMaurier books I've read has lived up to the suspense and surprise level of Rebecca, but a few of them have been pretty enjoyable reads.
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - By far the best book I read in 2006, I was captured from page 1 and have still not stopped thinking about it - I actually envy anyone picking it up to read for the first time. While reading, I could hardly even bear to stop long enough to take notes on favorite quotes or eat. I didn't sleep till I reached the end.
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - I have no idea when I discovered this book but it's among the rare few that I've read several times. I just flipped through my old copy, this afternoon, looking for a favorite moment. No luck finding that favorite little bit of dialogue, but I ended up reading about 40 pages. It's a rare book that is so wonderful you can pick it up and flip to any page - absolutely any page of this book grabs me - and find yourself completely sucked in. Of course, I've read it enough to know the characters pretty well.
4. A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark - Whenever I think of Muriel Spark, I think of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, first. Oddly, I've never gotten around to reading that particular Sparks book, but the movie has stuck with me. A Far Cry From Kensington - a wickedly clever story - is actually the only Spark book I've enjoyed. I happened across my copy when we had a salvage store in town and the remains of a bookstore disaster arrived. When the stock first made it to the store, everything was 60% off retail price and there were rows and rows of books. I spent hours and hours walking around, perusing spines while my little one was in preschool. The books were in no particular order - really, quite chaotic - and as the book stock shrank, the discounts rose. During the final days, when the salvage store stock was down to just a few shelves, the price went to 90% off retail, then 10 cents per book and then . . . oh, my gosh . . . $1.00 per bag. That particular sale was the origin of a good portion of my personal library and I discovered some terrific authors and titles (including Paul Auster) in the process. A Far Cry From Kensington was one of my favorites. Unfortunately, publishers have never quite figured out how to give it an adequate cover. Pink? What are they thinking?
5. Desiree by Annemarie Selinko is another book that has gone through a number of hopelessly awful cover incarnations. And, yet, the book just keeps coming back. My first copy wasn't really mine; I stole it from my mother when I left for college so that I could read it a second, and then a third and fourth time. Every time I came across another copy I'd buy it and pass the extra on to a friend. Eventually, I found a copy with a pretty interesting slipcover in a dusty English bookstore with crooked floors; and, I did ask my mother if she wanted her original back. She just shrugged. So, I sent it to my childhood best friend. Desiree is historical fiction, the story of Napoleon's alleged first love, whom he jilted to marry Josephine. Marlon Brando played Napoleon in the movie version (which I didn't actually know existed until after the fourth reading). I kind of hated the movie.
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Love it, love it, love it. It's witty and fun and how could you not go nuts about Mr. Darcy?
7. The Hitchhikers Trilogy by Douglas Adams - I think people either love this series or hate it. I thought Douglas Adams was a genius. Funny thing about the first time I read the series (at my then-boyfriend's suggestion); in the middle of reading the second book, my boyfriend loaned it to a guy in his office. Ummmm, I was reading that, babe. And, no, whatshisname never gave it back, but I did buy my own.
8. The Return by Daoma Winston - This is a slightly off-beat choice, but it's one of those books that I've gone back to, many times. I think it was my mom's. Poor Mom; when I left, it was like I'd planted magnets in all the good books and took a giant horseshoe magnet . . . so they followed me.
9. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - excitement, adventure, swashbuckling action, political intrigue . . . cool.
10. My Antonia by Willa Cather, or The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton . . . or anything at all by P.G. Wodehouse, or . . . oh, gosh, it's so hard to narrow down.
In other news . . .
I blew it on the meditation - completely forgot that I needed to read exactly what I was supposed to do in time to begin meditating on a Thursday morning, as recommended. Okay, I can wait a week. I'm already pretty mellow, anyway, so it's no big deal to me. It's very possible that meditating will simply turn me into a happy, pillowy little pudding that jiggles and grins when you poke it. But, we'll find that out next week.
Flowers!! I've got them! Now, if the pollen level will just drop a bit, I'll go out and have fun playing in the dirt. If you look at a pollen map for today in the U.S., you'll see us in the "extremely high" zone, a big red, evil-looking blob. And, trust me, that pollen is every bit as menacing as it looks for those of us who have to carry Epi-pens for completely mysterious reasons (hence, the occasional reference to my desire to move to a "frozen wasteland").
I've been online way too much, today, thanks to Les's mention of radio.blog.com, which is just loads of fun. I haven't entirely figured out how to sort songs into favorite playlists, but I have a sneaking suspicion I'll waste plenty more time figuring it out, next week.
Thinking about: The plague of the plastic shopping bag. Since I began seeking out hawks to photograph, I've noticed that there are far more plastic bags than hawks visibly flapping around in the trees. Is this a plague specifically limited to the U.S. or just our area? I can't say. It doesn't seem like we're living in an area where people are keen on recycling. My entire family is, in fact, kind of unusual for our disinterest in super-sized anything and everything. If I ever buy an SUV, just kick me.
Listening to: Layla by Eric Clapton. Oh, yeah. They've got me pegged on this radio.blog.club thing.