Thursday, November 10, 2005

I've always like the word "Moabitish."

My Favoritish Books

Victor Monreal, Austinite friend, collects lists of people's favorite books. Recently, he requested mine with attendant summaries. I'm opening myself to all kinds of liability listing these for all the world to see. They're perhaps too sentimental, too Western, and too juvenile for an English major to conscionably list as her favorite. You should know, I also haven't read Moby Dick.

In the order I thought of them to write them down:

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Perhaps the most beautiful book I've ever read. As I read it, I kept thinking, "I can't believe someone wrote this. I can't believe some one wrote this." About four people in Italy in late WWII after the Italian fighting was largely over. Feels, however, very WWI.

The Living by Annie Dillard
About 19th-century pioneers in Bellingham, Washington. Called a novel, but every sentence reeks of human detail Annie could not have invented. It's about the living--felling trees, eating food, digging wells, and about the living--those left alive. Super beautiful.

For the Time Being by Annie Dillard
Technically and effectively my favorite book. It's a collection of short essays about sand, clouds, birth, China, Jews, humanity, etc., that deal with what it means to be one of a billion billion things in the eyes of God.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Short, childlike. Very nearly a perfect book about a little prince who falls from a comet to earth and meets a pilot in the desert. Translated from the French.

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Perfect. Slim, simple. About Caleb and Anna, two children growing up on the plains, who must welcome a Maine woman into their home when their quiet widower father advertises for a wife.

The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
Invariably the cover of the book will be terrible, like a trashy teenage Harlequi This is the only adult novel written by the author of Anne of Green Gables, "adult" meaning it has (a) a swear word and (b) no children. About a 29-year-old old maid who, when diagnosed with a fatal heart condition, decides to say and do the things she's always wanted, to the horror of her prideful and prim early 20th-century family. I read it yearly, maybe more.

The Island by Gary Paulsen
About a teenage boy who decides to move to the island of a small nearby lake, to think and read and write and draw.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The classic sci-fi novel about a brilliant child (Ender) sent to Battle School to learn how to save the world from the Third Invasion. The crux--in order to destroy something, Ender needs to know it as well as it knows itself. And as soon as Ender knows it well, he loves it but must destroy it. I plan on reading it every year until I die.


Melissa said...

I'm smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. "The Blue Castle" has been an annual ritual of mine since middle school. Did we ever discuss this? Anyway, my friend and I always laughed about the silly efforts we made to hide the cover.

Oh, and this gives me a chance to thank you to pointing me to "For the Time Being" several years ago. It tops the list of books I recommend to clear-minded individuals. I'd say something profound about the contents, but I can't quite seem to do it justice.

Sarah Louise said...

"Clear-minded"--well said. I know what you mean about trying to talk about the book, the thing. I reread my description of the book (I wrote the list a little while ago), and I thought my attempts to convey the subtlety of the book left my recommendation without much vigor. But I feel vigor about this book. !

You, Melissa, look like Rosie the Riveter. It's an apt likeness.

Limon said...

I have offical read two of the books you posted: Ender's Game and The Little Prince. I don't know if they would be on my list. I would have to add Catch-22 for comedy and the Heart is a Lonely Hunter for complete emotional identification. And Atlas Shrugged for length (just passed one year).