Friday, December 30, 2005

End of Year Book Meme

A favorite blogger of mine, Ancrene Wiseass (with that name who could one not love her?) did a meme about books. I haven't the foggiest notion of whether she came up with this one, or found it somewhere, but it amused me.

(However, I am not amused by use of the word "meme" to describe these things. I had to learn all about the meme concept in my first semester of graduate school where the proscribed reading included, Flow by Mihaly Cskiszentmihalyi.

Regardless, the meme from Ancrene:
1) First, name 5 (preferably non-work-related) books have you read and especially liked this year.
2) Second, list books you've received or bought for yourself lately.
3) And finally, name 33 books or series of books that changed you or your life in some way. These don't have to be the most influential books you've read; trying to come up with that list would just be nerve-wracking for most of us. (And yes, I know 33 is a strange number, but I like that it's both symmetrical and odd. Not to mention that "3" is a sign of pluralism or completion in Western numerology. So there.)

1- is kinda hard. I can only think of one non-work related book I've read this year. Hell, I have barely cracked open the two dozen books of assigned reading for my courses!

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Really, I think that's it. Magazines, sure. Although given the stack in my living which dates back to July, one would think I don't read those either. I'm working on it folks. In fact an article I read this morning from a July rendition of a rag will probably for the grist for another entry. Scary but true. I can't think of another book I've read this year.

2 - Not including school? Hm.
a- Easy Knitted Accessories, by Jeanette Trotman
b - Weekend Knitting, by Melanie Falick
c - Scarves - A knitter's dozen, by XRX Books
d - Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which wound up on a reading list for school!
e - ????

See a theme here?

Thirty-three books that changed me in some way:

  1. Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  3. Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
  4. Lolita, just celebrated it's 50th anniversary
  5. God’s Bits of Wood
  6. The Reluctant Princess
  7. Flow, see above
  8. Mary Poppins
  9. Little Women
  10. Ms Magazine – my family were among the first subscribers
  11. Alice in Wonderland
  12. I was a Teenaged Dwarf, Max Shulman
  13. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Max Shulman
  14. Gone to Soldiers, Marge Piercy
  15. Madame Bovery
  16. Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  17. Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
  18. Zami, A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lord
  19. The Buddhist Tradition, William Theodore De Bary
  20. Positive Magic, Marion Weinstein
  21. Coming to Power, Samois
  22. Dracula, Bram Stroker
  23. Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin
  24. The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
  25. Dreaming the Dark, Starhawk
  26. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  27. Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins
  28. Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
  29. Prairie Kitchen Sampler, E Mae Fritz
  30. Yankee New England Cookbook, Leslie Lane
  31. Lesbian/Woman, Martin & Lyons
  32. Delta of Venus, Anais Nin
  33. Lakota Woman, Dog Mary Crow
That took some work. But it fostered an interesting trip down memory lane. I'm sure there's some essential work I have missed. There are a few more that I could add, like Cooking with Julia, for example. I realize some may think I copped out by including Ms. Magazine but it was so elemental to me as a child. Absolutely shaped a lot of my thinking, the way I view the world, my vision of humanity. I devoured it cover to cover for years.

Prairie Kitchen Sampler is on the list because it is a memoir that includes the recipes that were common to the decade she is writing about, truly eye-opening for someone who grew up in NYC and when electricity was a given.

Max Shulman's writing in these books is so crisp, so articulate, such graceful grammar! Imagine my delight and surprise when I saw one of the chapters in my college English course reading. It opened up a whole new appreciate for his work.

Positive Magic confirmed some beliefs about how the universe worked.
Dreaming the Dark melded the spiritual and the political for me.

I can still remember sitting on the couch in my apartment on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, reading passages aloud in order to grasp the enomority of what I was reading in The Buddhist Tradition. It was that book that confirmed a change in my college career.

These days, other than brainless magazines and knitting magazines, books and website, my reading list is school directed and has included (this list does not imply I have finished, or even started some of these :-)
Evolution's Rainbow.
Uprooting Racism
The Spirit Catches Us
Issues and Ethics in the Helping Profession
Critical Theories of Psychological development
Lives Across Cultures
Clinical Handbook of Family Therapy
Treating Troubled Children and Their Families
Intimate Worlds
Foundations of Family Therapy
Sane Society

These sorts of things have been sitting on my shelves collecting dust and randomly shaken from their cobwebs in my wild periodic attempts to actually do coursework.

1 comment:

Ancrene Wiseass said...

Thanks for doing the meme, Dharma! Your list gave me lots of things to put on my own "must read" list.

Though they didn't show up on my "influential" list, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (not to mention "James and the Giant Peach") and "Lakota Woman" probably should have.

Upon first reading, I remember thinking "Till We Have Faces" was wonderful. Upon second reading, I'm starting to think it's earned a spot on that list, too.