Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reading is FUNdamental

Does anyone else remember this slogan from childhood? I recall thinking, well, yeah, duh. I always loved to read; I couldn't fathom anyone needing to be convinced or coerced to do so. Maybe I was the dorky little kid my big brother always told me I was.

Anyway, Carleen Brice and Kristen both tagged me with this meme for book lovers. So, hey, I'll play.

Total number of books? Whew, I can't count that high. I'm not sure if it means books read, book owned, books I still want to read. . . but between being an English major, my husband being a journalism major, then me being an English teacher and now being a writer, can I just say all of our book shelves are jam-packed and we can never have enough. Plus, we still have boxes of them we haven't unpacked yet. Lots and lots and lots.

Last book bought? For my own reading pleasure or for somebody else's? I'm not exactly sure but new ones that have floated around the house lately include Jacqueline Mitchard's Still Summer and Ellen Baker's Keeping the House.

Five Meaningful Books
The first book I remember rereading and waking up early so I could read before school was a book about a girl and a horse titled Taffy's Foal. I think my neighbor had lent it to me. I've never seen it since. I was 8.

Then, To Kill a Mockingbird. I've probably read it more times than I've read anything else. It's what made me want to be an English teacher. It also started my love affair with Southern writers.

The Sound and The Fury. I remember reading it and thinking, sheesh, either this guy is an absolute genius or he's nuts. And I also remember thinking, I'll never understand this. But I read it, read it again, and slowly the pieces started making sense and I realized it was a book about love and loss and beauty and dignity and sadness---everything that matters. Thinking about Caddy can still make me weep. And nobody can draw you into a story like Faulkner.

The Grapes of Wrath
. Man, I love this book. Steinbeck didn't get all those awards for nothing. He weaves a story about simple folks who are caught up in something so much bigger than themselves and he shows how we're all part of it, we all have responsibility, we all can make a difference.

Finally, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien. It's a story about Vietnam, but it's so much more than that. It's about truth. It's a book that will make you look at war differently no matter how you feel about it before you read it. And in the end, it's not about war at all. And the language? My God, it'll blow you away.

Now, I'm supposed to tag five other bloggers--but most of the people I'd tag have already been tagged--so, I'm going to veer away from the rules (there's something I've never done before!)

My friend Melanie Lynne Hauser has issued a challenge to her readers to buy two or three books a month. She thinks we could start a book buying movement and I'm all for that. So, go buy a book (or four or five) and then chat about it on your blog.

Tag . . . everybody's it.


Ello said...

Hey! To Kill a Mockingbird was my first memorable also! And I loved Tim O'Brien's Things they carried. Such a great book. Great list!

kristen said...

Great list! Your "total number of books" reminds me of mine. Shelves and shelves and piles everywhere. Plus boxes and boxes in the attic. I am only just now learning that I don't have to keep every single book I read. But I want to. I really want to.

Therese said...

You know I'm all about Tim O'Brien.

I did buy books today, and before I read this! Plainly, I am psychic. :)

Which books? The Robert Olen Butler book Lisa recommended, and a book for research, on the history of Key West.

Not novels, this time--my TBR stack is too high as it is!

Lisa said...

This is a great list and I love the challenge too. Editorial Ass (I love that blog name -- a.k.a. Moonrat) has a post about this being buy a friend a book week. I kind of like that concept too. Judy, I still have The Sound and the Fury on my bookshelf and one of these days -- I'm not sure how long it will take, I am going to take you up on your offer to guide me through it. I read Going After Cacciato years ago when it first came out in paperback and I LOVED it, so The Things They Carried is sitting here, waiting too -- but Scott -- my wonderful partner in crime and not a fiction reader did read and love it.

Carleen Brice said...

A book-buying movement. What a great idea!

Carleen Brice said...

Oh...and I DO remember reading is FUNdamental. :)

Larramie said...

What, To Kill a Mockingbird isn't at the TOP of your list, Judy? Oh, right, you listed in age-appropriate order. *BG*

Sustenance Scout said...

I remember Reading is FUNdamental, too. Thanks for the reminder about Tim O'Brien, Judy. The Things They Carried has just been added to the official TBR list. Also love the book-buying movement idea! K.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

This was such a fun blog--great to hear from all of you. . . .

Lisa, I'm here when you need me and I'm so glad Scott loved the O'Brien book. Kristen read it recently and like it too. And hey, Therese and Ello recommend it too!

Carleen--wasn't there a little spokesmouse or something too?

Larramie--you got it--chronological order, my dear.

S.Scout--you'll love it. Thansk for stopping by.

Andrew Laudel said...

Just stumbled across this blog entry. I am taking a class on William Faulkner next semester, and I think that I have you to blame (and thank!) for that. I also campaigned to name my family's new golden retriever puppy "Scout." Your AP English class really influenced my taste in literature, and I thank you for that. Your class was one of the most meaningful I took in high school, and was one of the reasons why I chose to study English in college. I hope everything is going well in St. Louis, and best of luck with the writing!

PS It kills me to say this...but congrats on the football season. Isn't it a little strange that Wisconsin's actually BCS ranked, and yet Mich is ahead of them in Big Ten standings? :)