29 June 2005

books are the shizz

the lovely lora tagged me with this meme some time ago and I've been meaning to get to it because well, I like books. hard-core book worm, and proud of it. here goes.

total books owned, ever:
couldn't even begin to guess which roughly translates into TOO MANY. I have a particular weakness for books-- books on dance, art, quirky children's books, novels. the number probably lies somewhere in the hundreds. I try to do my fair share of trading and passing the goods along but tend to hang onto the classics and my favorites because I have been known to read books over and over (and over) again.

last book I bought:
bizarre and ornamental alphabets edited by carol belanger grafton. I have a thing for typography.

last book I read:
the red tent by anita diamant. I did not expect to like this but found myself completely sucked in. did not even want to get out of bed as it might have required me doing something that didn't involve the reading of this book.

currently reading:
middlesex by jeffrey eugenides (almost finished)
the creative habit by twyla tharp (just beginning)
messy thrilling life by sabrina ward harrison (mainly digging the art work)
I always seem to be reading two or three books at once. I don't know why I do this to myself. it's just nutty.

five books that mean a lot to me:
a tree grows in brooklyn by betty smith. most people read this in high school, but I didn't discover it until age 23. I could read the part about the little flower in the golden-brown pottery jug a million times over. I have read this book seven times.

maria tallchief by tobi tobias. I blew my entire two dollar budget on this little paperback at the book fair in second grade. it tells the true story of a girl (maria tallchief, duh) who leaves her family on the indian reservation to become a famous dancer. the fiery orange cover, the drawings of her leaping through the air-- I spent hours studying every detail, made my mom and dad read it to me as many times as they could stand it. shortly after the purchase of this book, I began to beg for dance classes. today, I keep it in an old suitcase filled with my most special things as it marks the beginning of my serious interest in dance. can't wait to read it to ava and ezra someday.

slaves of new york by tama janowitz. total escape whenever I need it, I never get tired of it, it's always there for me. so funny and weird and yes, I have read it more than once. I think that I have read it eleven times.

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee. boo radley, man. YOU CAN'T GO WRONG HERE.

the bible. this is where I go for calm and strength, my foundation. it needs to be more a part of my life and I am working on that.

honorable mentions:
charlie and the chocolate factory, the lion, the witch and the wardrobe, white oleander and me talk pretty one day. all books that blew me away. all books that have been read several times over.

as for tagging five people, well... I'm breaking with convention. consider yourself tagged, folks. tell me all about your favorite books. I'm just begging for an excuse to drag the bambinos to the library or the book store. because I so obviously need MORE BOOKS.


  1. Middlesex is one of the best books I've ever read. I was also very moved by White Oleander.

    The Creative Habit looks like a very good read.

    Thanks for playing. I love to see other people's thoghts about books.

  2. yesyesyes- 'middlesex' has been a fantastic read. I really enjoyed reading your list (and love to discover what others are reading as well). thanks for tagging me! and sorry it took me so long to get around to it.

  3. I don't think you have enough space for me to tell you the books I've read that I like. But one book that had a profound effect on me as a teenager was "Black Like Me." It shook me to the core. A must read for folks. It was made into a movie in the sixties with James Whitmore in the title role. Pretty good. Also, "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco was really good if you like mysteries and period pieces. The movie with Sean Connery was good, too. "Gone With The Wind" - what more can I say? And THAT movie was great! My all time favorite is the Bible - can never be bored with it and it has changed my life!

    Love to write about books and see what others are reading.

  4. Question, I've been wanting to read Middlesex like crazy, but opted to read Euginide's Tesseract-Loved The Beach like crazy (I bought in French to help develop that skill!), but couldn't get into Tesseract. Am I totally alone on that? I have been wanting to read The Red Tent! on the feminist front or just wondering how some courtship customs came to be I like Good Girls Don't Eat Dessert. Saw the movie White Orleandor-omg great, moving, & heart wrenching. at present I'm a bit caught up with Dan Brown and his Angels and Deamons along with another book, The Natashas. The Name of the Rose-very deep! loved the film! However the heroine of my life at present is still Briget Jones!

  5. great post andrea! maria tallchief sounds like a great book. it seems i've only had time to read magazines or children's stories lately, but this post has encouraged me to open up one soon.

    earl says the bible is an incredible book on so many different levels, with it's great metaphors, prose and depth. i've only read it for help in times of need or for enlightenment but would like to open it up like i would other books and read it not only for its wisdom, but also for it's prose and beauty.

  6. I'm tagged. I'll do it in the next few days!

  7. Let's see...

    Last book bought:
    (From inside the world's tallest skyscraper, the Taipei 101, in a beautiful bookstore called PageOne):
    Between 22C~24C: Greece. Aegean Sea. (This is a great personal photo journal (written in Mandarin) with neat pictures of Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini...also includes author's personal doodles which are nice.

    Last book read:
    Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, by Andres Duany. (Great analysis of urban issues and architecture solutions...but I found his role of government not completely on target.)

    Currently reading:
    The Mixing Engineer's Handbook (Mix Pro Audio Series), Bobby Owsinski.
    Architectural Record, Dwell (Magazines count too right? :)
    Standing for Something by President Gordon B. Hinkley

    Some Favorites:
    Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage (This is my All-Time favorite book and scriptural analysis of the Son of God to date..very deep).
    A Marvelous Work & A Wonder by Le Grand Richards.

    Honorable Mentions from back in the day:
    A Wind in the Door ~ A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
    Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson
    I echo the Narnia book, and would also add the Heritage of Shannara stories by Terry Brooks, and the "choose your own adventure" books in there too.

  8. I believe Maria Tallchief really was a famous ballerina.....When I was studying dance I was reading tons on ballet and if I am correct she was one of the women I spent some time reading about--I am sorry if I am incorrect on the name. But there was a beautiful Native American woman who became a famous Ballerina under George Ballenchine (sorry if I am mispronouncing these names it has been forever since I have read or written them.)

    I LOVE books. this was a wonderful post. I havent read a full book forever, but have always loved to read and keep several going at a time. So many wonderful memories in childhood from Beverly Cleary to Madeline L'Engle and CS Lewis. And then of course, my hero, Agatha Christie. Ive been reading and re-reading her books since 8th grade. I like books about faith, relationships, and wonderful love stories. Pride and Prejudice and My Name is Asher Lev will always be favorites. Ahhh, books.

  9. wow, I am loving reading all about everyone's faves and picks and such.

    elisabeth anne- I have not yet read 'tesseract' but don't think you're alone in your feelings... I have heard it referred to as a 'meditation on randomness'. get thee to the library/bookstore as I highly recommend 'middlesex' and 'the red tent'. in fact, I think every woman should read 'the red tent'... so fascinating. also, if you had even the tiniest shred of love for the movie 'white oleander', I can almost guarantee that you will fall in love with the book-- so much goodness. worlds apart from the film (which is almost always the case) and so very rich in characterization. beautiful, beautiful writing. that would be my top recommendation, I think. and I would love to know what you think. I love to talk about books. and yes, bridget rocks.

    jan- I have a crazy magazine habit, too. and sadly, ever since we got this computer, my reading time has drastically been reduced. takes me so long to finish books these days.

    joy- I'm looking forward to your list!

    sdyoung- totally enjoyed your list... have heard good things about 'suburban nation', intrigued by the premise as this is an area of interest to me (and ward)... totally recalling 'jacob I have loved' with much fondness.

    lulu- so glad you enjoyed this! you are completely on target-- maria tallchief was (is?) a famous dancer, the protege of george balanchine. way to retain that dance history, girl... I'll have to show you the book, I think you'll appreciate it. seconds on beverly cleary and c.s. lewis... actually, I can't believe I didn't mention anything about judy blume. her books shook my little preteen world up! we could talk about books for days, eh?

    thanks for sharing, everyone. I hope this isn't the last of the comments...!

  10. This post is of great timing. With my broken ankle, I've had lots of time to read. I'm in need of a new read as I've exhausted what I have here on hand (well, that's not totally true, but none of the ones I have on hand sound fun and iteresting right now for some reason) and what people have brought me to read. I went online the other day to order a few as I have B&N gift certificate left over from my b-day...and I've found it's not near as fun online shopping as actually going there and browsing endlessly though the tables, displays, and shelves when you don't have actual titles in mind. Everyone's lists have given me some good direction for a little online spree later today.

    I LOVED The Red Tent. It's so much a celebration of women and the magic of the female body. I don't often re-read books, but The Red Tent is one I'm quite excited to re-read. For those of you who liked the Red Tent, give The Birth Of Venus a read.

    And Andrea, know you are not alone when it comes to having more books that you'd like to admit. I love books. I have a whole reference library of books on yoga, zen, meditation, wellness, fitness, nutrition, the human body...not to mention the fiction reads, my daughter's children's books collection, my cookbooks, the list seems endless. There's just something about books (how they feel and smell) and the power of the written word that's so comforting and stimulating, all at the same time.

  11. right on. yes, I love the way books feel and smell (especially old library books!), love the way a new book feels in my hands, too. I buy on amazon from time to time but you're so right-- nothing beats a trip to the book store.

    I'm really looking forward to checking out 'the birth of venus'... so glad you enjoyed this post (actually, the comments have been the best part).

    oh, and I love your new icon... super-cute photo (of you and your daughter, I presume?)

    as always, thanks so much for sharing.

  12. andrea, my bad! i missed the "true" story and read it wrong!

    yes, Beverly Cleary and Judy Bloom were must haves during adolescence!

  13. Just finished:

    -The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime-Great quick read, good for a laugh every now and then.
    -The Virgin Suicides-Unfortunatley I had already watched the movie so perception of the book was tainted....jury is still out.
    -The Shape of Time; Simply amazing little book

    On deck:
    Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

    All Time Fav's Fiction and Non:
    A Seperate Peace, The Alchemist, My Name is Asher Lev, Invisible Cities, Einstiens Dreams, Fight Club, Survivor, Choke, Life of Pi, Poetics of Space, Siddartha, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shurgged, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence, Thinking Architecture, In Praise of Shadows, Slaughterhouse Five, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity, This is not a Pipe, Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey

    One question: Hard back or paper back?
    Personaly, there is nothing better than a good paper back from a used book store that has been loved by hundreds of readers.

    Great thread, it gives me some amo for the next time I am at the bookstore and at a loss.

    next up, fav films???

  14. reverb- such great picks! more (so much more) to add to my running list. been wanting to read 'the virgin suicides'... it's been forever since I've seen the movie and I'm thinking that will work in my favor.

    also,I'm so excited that the new david sedaris one is now in paperback. trying so hard to finish my current reads before I dig into it... can't wait! you'll have to tell me what you think.

    and speaking of paperbacks, I'm in total agreement with you on that one. I love it when I find a good one at the thrift store. actually, most of my favorites are in paperback form and falling apart. I keep thinking I should buy them in hardback, but never seem to get around to it.

    and since I've covered music and books here, it seems wrong not to discuss films... that's in the near future, for sure.

    thanks so much for commenting!

  15. Sorry it's taken me so long to finally get around to doing this -- I'm just a lazy bum.

    I used to read a tons when I was young: lots of sci-fi and fantasy books, as well as novel adaptations of movies by Alan Dean Foster (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Outland, etc.). Dorky, I know. I wanted to get into Philip K. Dick, but never got around to it.

    Anyway, in high school I really got into my english class's assignment to read Albert Camus's The Stranger. Loved it. It made a profound impact on me. Totally made me feel that Camus was channeling my thoughts at that time. Being a "stranger" of sorts as a lonely boy trying to make sense of his high school surroundings deemed me appropriate for this sort of book, I guess.

    The other book that made a big impact on me was J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. I was fascinated by the writing and how fluid Salinger made the story flow. Amazing to see how I felt for the rough but heart-felt Holden. After that, I bought Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and pored over them as well.

    Got into Jack Kerouac for awhile, reading The Dharma Bums first, before I read his most well-known On the Road. Alan Ginsberg was cool with me, too.

    Later on, I was famous for all my books having bookmarks right in the middle of them, as I could never stick with a book and finish it. Started but never finished Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, The Trial by Kafka, and many many others.

    So for many years, I didn't read a book entirely. Until just a year and a half ago, thanks to YOU, dear wife. And I thank you dearly for that. Read To Kill a Mockingbird, and even though I had read it in high school, I had completely forgot it all, and so now, I could really relish in the characters and the storytelling by Harper Lee. Classic book.

    Read Lovely Bones and really dug it. Looking forward to seeing how Peter Jackson will adapt it for the big screen. I really liked Girl with the Peal Earring, and was kinda neat to see how they changed the storylines around for the final film.

    Anyway, that's my (rather long) two cents. I need to read more, that's for sure. You've helped me re-connect with the written word and I thank you immensely.

  16. Great posts.

    I grew up in a house of readers and the bookcase was always open to us. We were never told not to read a book because it might be too "old" for us. So I was exposed to science fiction at an early age, as well as Black Like Me, all of Salinger's books, Gone With The Wind...all of these have been mentioned by others.

    There comes the time when your own child grows up and reads the books you love the best - and joy of joys - finds their own special insights and truths in them. One of my sons wrote on his MySpace page about how I introduced him to Franny and Zoey - and he in his turned, introduced me to The Royal Tennebaums.

    Books are a goodness.

    P.S. - I think you meant to say that the author of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is Betty Smith, not Betty White...

  17. trish, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. I think exposing your kids to all kinds of books is one of the best things you can do for them. I know that it opened up new worlds for me. my daughter ava loves books, gets lost in them and I cannot be more thrilled. I am really looking forward to sharing this love with her as she grows up.

    and thank you for the correction! I cannot believe I did that (with one of my most favorite books of all time, too!)...

  18. total books owned, ever:
    217...haa just kidding. i have no idea! I've owned and given away, I've borrowed and kept (oops!) I love having books so I have a lot.

    last book i bought: Praying the Names of God by Anne Spanglar - a beautiful book of reflections on the hebrew names of God and what they mean. One of my favorites: Yahweh Rophe, the Lord who Heals.

    last book i read:
    Incredible, heartbreaking autobiography by Somaly Mam, a Cambodian woman who survived a life of slavery in the sex industry and is now fighting for girls and women in the same situations. It's called "The Road of Lose Innocence" and it changed me. I couldn't put it down and when I did, I started dreaming of ways to bring justice and healing to the victims.

    currently reading:
    I'm in grad school so I'm reading a few books chosen by professors: "From Poor Law to Welfare State",hmmm. Although I don't have the time, I'm looking for my next one.

    five books that mean a lot to me: this is too hard...the Bible is the most important to me, although I don't read it nearly enough. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, anything by Thomas Merton or Henri Nouwen../

    honorable mention:
    goodnight moon.