Monday, September 13, 2010

this is a list of ten books that i love. it is not the ultimate list. tonight i will probably wake up regretting not including one book or another. it is not listed in any particular order either. while looking over the list, i just realized i basically like books that have hollywood plots. see for yourself, there are no tuesdays with morrie or the notebook types of book here. most definitely no james joyce stream of consciousness dribble either. no focaults pendulum. no ayn rand. i've read some books like that. i don't feel like listing them in my "books i love" list. mainly because i don't believe i love them.

to kill a mockingbird
i love this book for many reasons but primarily because atticus reminds me so much of my father: the wisdom, respect for the dignity of other people, a sense of humor that is always teasing but never sarcastic, the love of the written word, the all-encompassing but never cloying love for his children, the sense of justice, the peripheral love for sports. they were both lawyers. my dad was a marksman too. my five sisters and i still battle on who gets to be scout. my copy of this book looks even worse than that on the photo.

this book has the most sentimental value. it is the first book that i read. i was grade three or four. my daughter jana has it and is suspicious of my claims to have read it so she quizzes me: what is the name of the friend of heidi who is invalid? what is invalid? where does heidi sleep in the alps? sometimes when i am feeling naughty (which is too often) i quiz her back: what is the name of the two favorite goats of peter ? what is the name of the city where clara lives? both question stumps her. the answers: swanli and barli and frankfurt.

all the girls in the family have a crush on ari ben canaan. i can't believe paul newman played him in the movie. i was hoping for someone taller, more rugged. paul is too pretty, in my opinion. this is the book that got me started on my obsession with books about jews. last saturday, after lunch at her house, mommy told me that while cleaning up the bookshelves, she discovered we had a total of three exodus books. all in embarrassing states of disrepair.

the chosen
i have read this book about seven gazillion times. it's a story about a young genius jewish boy, the son of a high ranking rabbi, who befriends a slightly less intelligent but more industrious jewish boy, the son of an esteemed hebrew professor. set in new york during the time right after world war 2, when the jewish world was divided over the creation of israel. i like stories about geniuses and i like stories about the jewish people. i guess books like this taught me that there is more to the world than the culture that i grow up with (long before i even knew what a culture was).

little women
because i am the fourth girl in the family, i have been assigned to be amy, the "maarte" one. i want to be jo, the heroine. so did all my other sisters. later on i decided i didn't want to be jo. i learned the author was jo and i didn't like that she made herself the star of her own book. i have a strong feeling my being assigned the role of amy has affected who i am today. i am after all maarte.

eats, shoots and leaves
this book on the other hand makes me laugh. this book taught me that it's okay to be anal about punctuation -- there are others worse off than me.

harry potter
i exhorted others to pirate illegal ebooks of this as i was always too impatient for the next installment to be released. while other parents campaigned to have this banned, i was up until 3am reading them so that rashdi can take over when he wakes up in the morning.

love story
you will cry. no jews here. but there are plenty of white anglo saxon protestant preppies, a demography which i also because borderline obsessed with. the concept of being born privileged was very fascinating to me.

the thirteenth tale
a fairy tale that is modern and ancient at the same time. i love fairy tales. actually i love fairies, period. you know, the kind that are little and have wings and are cute but scary. that kind. no such fairies in this book, mind you. but i love this book still. am rambling now, so moving on to the last book on the list...

island in the stream
if i were a novelist, i would want to be like ernest hemingway. if i were a man, i would want to be like ernest hemingway. if i were a human being, i would want to be like ernest hemingway (in the sense that he always seemed to live life to the fullest). he killed himself though. that i don't want to do.