Monday, May 21, 2007

Book meme du jour

I finished up my "romancing the past" chapter yesterday morning, and my brain hurts from writing almost continuously for the past three weeks. This meme on Susan's blog caught my eye, so I thought I'd break my blogging silence by participating. Besides, this way you get to see how obscu-- er, wide-ranging, my reading tastes are.

A book that made you cry: Liz Curtis Higgs' Thorn in My Heart. This novel (a retelling of the biblical Jacob-Leah-Rachel triangle set in the 18th century Scottish lowlands) ought to be sold with some small packets of tissues.

A book that scared you: Rett MacPherson's Died in the Wool. Very creepy, especially for a cozy mystery, where I don't usually expect such things.

A book that made you laugh: James Morrow's The Last Witchfinder. The introduction, in which Newton's Principia Mathematica describes the secret lives of books (and what they write about when humans aren't watching) is hilarious. Also Jane Harris's The Observations.

A book that disgusted you: It's a toss-up between Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Ugh. I read both in Miss Lerner's 9th grade English class, which was held right before lunch. I didn't eat very well that year.

A book you loved in elementary school: I'm sure we read books in elementary school, but I can't think of any specific titles. One book I enjoyed when I was that age, though, was Lorraine Beim's Just Plain Maggie, written sometime in the 1950s I think, about a girl named Maggie and her experiences going off to summer camp. My grandmother used to work at an education library and saved me a bunch of the discards. This was one of them.

A book you loved in middle school. Why can't I remember reading anything in middle school? I graduated, didn't I? Need to come back to this one.

A book you loved in high school: James Hilton's Lost Horizon, which may be my favorite book of all time. Dryly witty, tragic, romantic, well told, plus a great "what if" storyline you're tempted to believe in - what more can be said? I don't think I realized how truly clever the writing was until I reread it years later.

A book you hated in high school: Way too many, but see above, under "books that disgusted me."

A book you loved in college: I didn't take any English lit courses in college, only French lit, which probably explains a lot. I don't know if I'd say loved, but I thought Alain Robbe-Grillet's La Jalousie was very creative in terms of technique. Driss Chraibi's La Civilisation, Ma mère was enjoyable. And who can forget Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince.

A book that challenged your identity: Beats me. I must be reading the wrong books.

A series that you love: Rett MacPherson's Torie O'Shea mystery series - I pre-order these and buy them in hardcover (extremely rare). Also, Katheryn Kimbrough's Saga of the Phenwick Women. This is a 40-book gothic romance series, an extended family saga covering 300+ years of American history. All of the book titles are named after women from the same family. I should probably be ashamed to say I learned a lot about US history from these books because I know they're potboilers, but they were also great fun.

Your favorite horror book: Can't read the stuff, it creeps me out.

Your favorite science fiction book: Probably Dan Simmons' Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. Or anything by Sheri S. Tepper, Grass in particular.

Your favorite fantasy book: I'll probably get flak for this, but it has to be Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. Followed closely by Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and Dragon Star trilogies.

Your favorite mystery book: Barbara Vine's Anna's Book.

Your favorite historical novel: I think I covered this a while back.

Your favorite biography: Anything by David Duff, such as The Shy Princess about Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's youngest, or The Hessian Tapestry, about Princess Alice and her family. I don't read all that many biographies.

Your favorite “coming-of-age” book: I may have to come back to this one.

Your favorite classic: Lost Horizon, see above. Also Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop. For short stories, Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," which I wrote an essay on in 10th grade.

Your favorite romance book: See link for "favorite historical novel" above, plus Rebecca Ryman's Olivia and Jai and Laura Black's Ravenburn. Laura Black is a pseudonym for Roger Longrigg, who also wrote as Domini Taylor. Never say that men can't write romance.

Your favorite book not on this list: Way too many to name. For reference: (besides my own book, of course) Alison Weir's Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy, which I consult pretty often. I'm sure I'll think of more.


  1. I really need to read The Last Witchfinder.

  2. I've tried to get a few people to read it. So far it hasn't worked, but maybe the review I wrote counts for something.

  3. (You have to click on See All Editorial Reviews to see it - it's hidden.)