Friday, September 28, 2007

Tagged by Lane

Total number of books... I have no idea, but hundreds. When we moved to Bangkok we boxed up most of our books and put them in the attic in our house in Buckinghamshire. I brought a lot of my art books and reference books that I knew I couldn’t live without, aswell as my ‘how to’ books. And I brought my TBR pile: some of these are long term and may never make it but if I hadn’t read it yet, it came with me. Interestingly, there were certain fiction books that though I had read – even several times – and so had made it into the attic boxes, I got to Bangkok and realised that I needed them again. Bill Bryson comes to mind and someone who I shall mention below.

Last book read... I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s Patpong Sisters by Cleo Odzer, which I read for Book Club which is next Tuesday. It’s supposed to be an anthropological study of Patpong – one of the red light areas in Bangkok. It was an eyeopener! But not well written, and I didn’t think it was a very academic piece of work.

Last book bought... Oh bugger, I have to admit, more ‘how to’ books. I’ve just ordered Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway and From Where you Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler from Amazon. I think I might just go and see if there are any Pat Barker books in the secondhand bookshop! See below for why.

5 Meaningful books... I shall take this to mean meaningful in my own idiosyncratic way (which basically means cheating).

One of the series of books that I had to go out and buy again in Bangkok was the James Herriot series of All Creatures Great and Small etc. I am so ashamed, but I love them, dearly. They are among very few books that make me laugh out loud. They are comfort stories for me. (At least it’s proof positive that I’m not being a pretentious git in the meme!)

I loved and have reread Testament of Youth, Testament of Experience, and Chronicle of Youth by Vera Brittain. I originally studied Testament of Youth at school. It’s a historical period that I love – I went on to read Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and other writers that covered that period. I haven’t read any Pat Barker which is a dreadful confession! I shall go and buy some today!

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters because I have never clapped my hand over my mouth and said outloud ‘Oh my God’ while reading any book before.

Mary Wesley was influential in my habits as a reader. The Camomile Lawn is one I’ve read several times. I should probably reread her now as I think she will mean more to me now that I’m older.

It’s a struggle to single out another book or author, but I should probably mention Enid Blyton. My parents loathed her, but I loved Malory Towers, the Twins at St Clares, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. I read and reread them all over and over. I’d probably enjoy them now!

And I tag Helen, Lisa, Caroline, Cally and Jen.


hesitant scribe said...

Oh someone else who insists on emigrating with books! Will print this off as proof to husband that I am not mad (or at the very least not alone in my madness!)

The Janet Burroway is ace - I use it to teach creative writing. Out of your other reading I've read Wesley, and vaguely recall delving into Herriot.

Now you've got me thinking... hmm... will duly respond to the tagging. You've saved me from a morning of planning!

Lane said...

Ooh it's like seeing my name in lights:))

Love your choices. Bill Bryson has had me guffawing in public in very 'mad-woman-don't-go-near-her-children' way. I adore him.
Love James Herriot too and would have liked to have been his wife.
As for Mallory Towers oooh.. I longed to be like Alicia and have a sensible mother.

Caroline said...

This is a great tag - I'll do it over the weekend (yay! - thank you)

Helen said...

Fingersmith is my next book to be read. I also love all those Enid Blyton ones. (I even reread them now). Can't wait to buy my son the entire set of Famous Five (not in one go) for him (me) to (re)read.

I also liked the ones with Kiki the parrot. Can't remember what they're called. Oh yes, The Island of Adventure! They were all something and adventure I think.

CTaylor said...

Thanks for tagging me JJ - have just completed it on my sickbed/sofa! It was tough coming up with the 5 meaningful books but, like you, I also chose Enid Blyton as one of my choices.

liz fenwick said...

Great list JJ :-)

JJ said...

Hi everyone. So five books is woefully inadequate, isn't it? My problem is that the last twenty books I read loom so large in my head. I'm not sure how many have the longevity that these questions require. Of course I've been punishing myself for days about the ones I've missed off!

Caroline said...

Done ... I must say that the 5 felt like a punishment ... I have read so many books that have touched and triggered and lingered. Perhaps a follow up meme is in order!

Jon M said...

Look what you've done now! Caroline's tagged me and I've got to go out and read some books now!And I'll have to nip down to the carboot sale to bump up me book count!

Juliette M said...

James Herriot is one of my favourite authors. I love his work dearly. I am a massive Tristan fan!

As for Malory Towers, I always wanted to be Darrell, but she was too sensible for me. I suspect I was more of a Mary-Lou....

JJ said...

Caroline, thanks for doing it. It's very interesting to see which books have moved people. Okay, slightly embarrassing that one of mine's James Herriot, but for the laughs, you understand!

Jon, Ooops sorry about that. I don't believe for a second that you don't have piles and piles of books...

Juliette, Mmm, I can certainly confess to being a Peter Davison as Tristan fan. Oooer, he was lovely. He even made fair isle tank tops sexy...
Oh God, did I say that outloud?


Jen said...

Oh, yes, agree completely on the Bill Bryson... I'm actually quite a sucker for funny books. Piano in the Pyrenees by Tony Hawks is a good 'un if you fancy a chortle :0) X