11 Jan

Some Books

The next two themes for work I want to, or have been invited to, do are metamorphosis and rituals. Immediately these words brought to mind the works of Joseph Campbell and I set about re-reading “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” Reacquainting myself with the book didn’t significantly change what I already had in mind for the projects, but it did get me thinking about books which have stayed with me over the years. I’ve always been a voracious reader, even when family life and the diminished brain cells of motherhood have kept me from actually reading, I still love the idea of being able to read. This, combined with so many end of the year/new year lists in blogland, inspired me to make a list, in alphabetical order so as not to give any special preference, of books which, over the decades, I have enjoyed and which have shaped me in one way or another.

A History of God” by Karen Armstrong

Clear and Present Danger” and other Tom Clancy novels up to “The Sum of All Fears”

Guns Germs & Steel” and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond

Hawaii” by James Mitchner

Invisible Women” by Margaret C. Harrell

Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood (I love Atwood!)

The Betrayal of Liliuokalani” by Helena G. Allen

The Bourne Identity” by Robert Ludlum

The Black Stallion” by Walter Farley

The Coming Plague” by Laurie Garrett

The Eagle’s Shadow” by Mark Hertsgaard

The Hero With a Thousand Faces” and “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell

The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe” and the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan

The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver

The Stand” by Steven King

Watership Down” by Richard Adams

Ways of Seeing” by John Berger

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig

Make what you will of my taste in books. I see something of a pattern in my choices, but I think it alludes to more than is actually there. What books have informed you?

5 thoughts on “Some Books

  1. It is dangerous to start asking me about books, because I’m a voracious reader, as well, and cannot fathom never being able to read again.

    I agree with you on CS Lewis and the Narnia books

    Laura Ingalls Wilder–if your only exposure to her is the dreadful tv series, please try reading her–especially the Long Winter

    The Clan of the Cave Bears and others through the Plains of Passage. The newer ones are horrible. I love these books because of the descriptions of gathering/hunting, problem solving, and probably most of all–DIY (knapping flint, making bead, etc. You know, crafting…)

    The Swiss Family Robinson. For the same reasons as above. Again, if the dreadful movie is all you know, please try reading it.

    The Hunger Games. I think Suzanne Collins so perfectly took some of our societies “quirks” and perverted them so perfectly into something so terrible and yet it is believable.

    Harry Potter

    Bess Streeter Aldrich. She was a best selling author in the 30s, if I remember correctly and again, her genre is “Settling the West” as in Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas (I’m from South Dakota so it is of special interest to me.) I particularaly liked The Lieutenant’s Lady and think it should be required reading for the whiney, demanding Army spouses that seem too frequent these days.

    The Sound of Paper if you are ever finding yourself creatively-challenged

    Those are all the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I’m going to check out some of yours.

  2. I confess to also loving “The Stand”. Read it when it first came out and then more recently when the long, unedited version was published. I never could get into the fantasy stuff–ie Narnia and Lord of the Rings, etc. Love Margaret Atwood, especially “Cat’s Eye.” I have also read and loved most of John Irving’s books, esp. “The Word According to Garp” and “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” Love all Salinger, but “Franny and Zooey” the best. So much more…

  3. If you ask, “Are you a reader?” and the person looks at you blankly you know they are not a reader. I think I was born knowing how to read and have never stopped. The first book that stands out in my memory is Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth” which required a note from my mother to my fifth grade teacher. Of course, I didn’t understand all of it at that age, but have read it a number of times over the years and continue to learn about humans and how they live. I couldn’t choose “favorite” books, but I appreciate your list of books that have influenced your life. I’ve read almost all of them (not the fantasy ones) and agree that they have continuing influence in my life also. Maybe I will start my own list. Should do it quickly as I am cleaning out my library – sob! Love, Del

  4. Gosh you’re making me think of the books I return to again and again. I love to read and my bedside table and the surrounds are a veritable fort and fire hazard. Like you, the Narnia series and Watership Down on are my list, as are The Black Stallion (I can still remember my book cover book report project when I first read it) and The Poisonwood Bible. I’ve enjoyed Tom Clancy, though my favorite is probably Patriot Games.

    Based on the wildly negative reactions of both my husband and daughter to Guns, Germs, & Steel I’ve not read it, so I’m curious to hear your take. (They felt he just repeated himself with stilted writing, felt his premise was flawed, and his introduction was very egotistical. As my husband, an avid history reader and someone whose second choice of profession was history teacher, put it, “It’s my least favorite history book ever”. ) I’d love to hear your rebuttal, especially since you’ve read more than one book by the author. One of my all-time favorites is The Secret Life of Lobsters, but one of my girlfriends tried several times to read it and found it unpalatable. That’s why I’m thankful there are so many books to choose from.

    I’m not that familiar with many of your other selections, so library, here I come. I’m intrigued by your choices.

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