Friday 4 May 2007

Yes, a meme I'm afraid

Not many RMHs out there - still thinking, are you? Do add one if it crosses your mind - or go out and find one, if you don't have it yet.

I'm afraid I'm entering the world of Book Memes. A 'meme', for those who don't
know, is something akin to a chain letter on the internet, though less obtrusive, as I've gone and sought it out myself. 10 questions, relating to books, which you can feel free to respond to yourself.

1. One book that changed your life
The obvious answer is the Bible. But that is 66 books, and I'm going to go beyond the obvious on this one. I think I'm going to say The Enchanted Places by Christopher Milne. Perhaps an odd choice, but it is this book that catapaulted my reading into a new sphere. Having read it, I sought out AA Milne's autobiography, and other works, which in turn led to EM Delafield, Richmal Crompton and Stephen Leacock... which went to Persephone... and the rest is history.

2. One book you've read more than once
Hmm. I don't do this much (so many books out there! So little time!) The ones I've re-read include Diary of a Provincial Lady, It's Too Late Now, Miss Hargreaves... all of which have appeared in my '50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About'. So I'm going to go for Diary of a Nobody, as it's the only Victorian novel I've read more than once. Oh, wait, I may have read The Picture of Dorian Gray twice... well, take your pick from the above. The only novels I've read three times are Miss Hargreaves and The Provincial Lady Goes Further.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island
Bible again, but I suppose that's a given? Other than the ones mentioned (Provincial Lady would never stop me laughing) I think I'll go for Virginia Woolf's The Waves, because there is so much IN there; I'd never run out of finding news things. Or Pride and Prejudice.

4. One book that made you cry
It takes almost nothing for a book to make me cry. Oddly enough, the one guaranteed to make me blub is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It is that one where we eventually meet Neville's parents, isn't it?
I wonder what Virginia would say about being mentioned so close to Harry.

5. One book that made you laugh
Anything by P. G. Wodehouse can make me laugh out loud. Sam the Sudden is the most recent I read, possibly. Reminds me, I must make sure I get some back to Jacq before long... after finals, I'll have a Wodehousefest.

6. One book you wish had been written
Miss Hargreaves Returns. There simply isn't enough of her. I know it's quite common to wish Emily Brontë had written something else, or Jane Austen had scribbled a few more novels, but I think it's quite nice to have a limited amount - think of someone like Wodehouse. If he'd written six books, they'd have been classics. As it is, with over ninety, most people can't name any of them.

7. One book you wish you had written
Gosh. So many. I'm going to try not to mention authors or books mentioned already, because I'd put a tick by almost all of them. Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge, I think (a Persephone book) as it's the perfect example of domestic fiction.

8. One book you wish had never been written
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Ulysses, The Lord of the Rings. The first because it's so very wildly overrated, and bored me on my A Level syllabus (not to mention getting me my only B); the second because the IDEA was so good, and the execution so self-important and tedious, but means no-one can now attempt the same grand work and be original; the third because then people studying Science subjects might have read something else, and the cinema might show something else.

9. One book you are currently reading
One Pair of Hands by Monica Dickens. You may remember it from my 'what shall I read next?' post. Well, I caved and started this - so very, very funny. Quite the antidote to revision.

10. One book you’ve been meaning to read
Oh, all of them. Well, that's not true. Other than the ones in my 'what shall I read next?' post, I definitely want to read To Kill A Mockingbird and Middlemarch and Great Expectations and The Innocents Abroad and Barchester Towers and....


  1. Why do I always feel inadequate when I see the question about a book that changed your life? I just can't think of one. My earliest memories relating to books are of the physical book "Peter Pan" by J M Barrie. I can see the orange cover wuth its impressed black titles and picture and I can see and feel th epaper inside, almost smell it. I can see the typeface and remember the blissful feeling of being read to. The same is true of A A Milne's "When We Very Young"
    Strangely I can't remember many other books from when we were young but I know there were plenty and we played libraries with our parents' books. That of course was in the days when books had to be stamped so this game involved thumping the inside of a great many books with a clenched fist.

    Oh wait a moment, I 've just remembered the joy of finding my mother's dark green fat copy of "The Princess of the Chalet School" by Elinor M Brent Dyer. Maybe this is the one that changed my life in that I found out that if you enjoyed a book so much that you imagined yourself part of it you might be lucky enough to find similar volumes by the same author.
    I think we all have experienced at some time, the thrill of an author obsession.

  2. I think I may have an RMH, only I am afraid I can't remember the author.
    I think it was called 'The Keeper of the Bees' and it featured an old man who helped to rear a baby - a bit after the fashion of Silas Marner. I seem to recall that he had a fixation about the efficacious effects of eating tomatoes - so your Papa would not appreciate it.
    I loved it as a girl - it had wonderful descriptive passages conjuring up a lost world.
    Has anyone else out there heard of it?

  3. "People studying science subjects might have read something else"? Ouch! I just got stereotyped! (Though I have seen quite a few fantasy novels in the hands of such of my classmates as read before lectures.)

  4. OWV, this sounds like a book by Gene Stratton Porter called the Keeper of the Bees. I think both you and Simon would like her other books. They are wonderful:-)


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