Friday, February 27, 2009

A mountain of books

We went to the States with five suitcases - three of them empty. What did we bring back? Books, books, books! C, Will and I each built our own mountain, though as C said, she's willing to share with me if I will share with her. Most of my stack came from our old collection, which I bring over bit by bit each year, but I did bring some newbies (marked * below) home too.

Now that the dust has settled and jet lag disappeared, I'm on a great rereading kick and just finished Treasure Island last night. Have you read it lately? When I was a child I was a bit terrified by the book, and the pictures made me shiver with delighted fear (illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, the paintings tell a vivid story by themselves). But after reading all the Patrick O'Brian books, and the even more gruesome Matty Graves novels, Treasure Island seems much more pacific to me these days and I only had to turn the lights up high a few times in my midnight readings.

Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Middlemarch Part 1 & 2, George Eliot
Mr. Darcy's Dream*, Elizabeth Aston
Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
Agent Zigzag, Ben Macintyre*
Pon Top Edisto
Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle, Ellen Gilchrist
A Working Girl Can't Win, Deborah Garrison
The English Patient, Michael Ondattje
Drawing for Children, Mona Brookes
Audubon, Robert Penn Warren
Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
Swan Lake, Mark Helprin
An Incomplete Revenge, Jacqueline Winspear*
Johns Island*
Burning Bright, Tracy Chevalier*
Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
The Riverside Chaucer
Treasury of Art Nouveau Design & Ornament


lizardek said...

Yay for books, books, books!! What a great pile you've got there. Do you know, I've NEVER read Treasure Island? How sad is that?? I think I must remedy that sometime soon. Chevalier's Burning Bright is excellent. I love her books.

eurolush said...

I've read a few of those books on your list, but the one that reminds me of my childhood the most is Misty of Chincoteague.

I loved that book.

When my kids were younger I re-read it to them...and fell in love with it all over again.

Barrett Bonden said...

You're standing on the brink of yet another technological abyss. But take heart, you managed to jump when faced with switching from optical to digital cameras. So now, given your globe-trotting tendencies, you've got to take a hard look at ebooks and ebook readers. I'd refer you to my blog but that's like a preacher-man insisting that a reluctant churchgoer should turn up and listen to the sermons. Here's the single most telling point: if you allow yourself to become infected you need never ever buy another book published before 1910. You can download it for free from Project Gutenberg. More particularly, you need never run the risk of paying excess baggage charges.

With the Sony reader came a freebie disk of 100 books. It included Treasure Island, Vanity Fair, and Middlemarch. Straight off you'd have saved yourself 3 - 4 lb suitcase weight.

I'm aware that books are more than just card, glue, paper and ink; that they carry much emotional baggage. And that you may genuinely find you can't get on with the screen (though it's a lot better than a computer). But keep the option at the back of your mind.

More important than any of this are my thanks for being able to share the list. I always do this surreptitiously via the bookshelves in peoples' houses though I've wondered about the etiquette. Out of your list jumps a name I haven't thought about for ages: Robert Penn Warren. I wonder whether All the King's Men would stand re-reading.

Julia said...

Liz - I'm reading Burning Bright right now, and looking up Blake drawings as I go. Review to come!

EL - Misty is an old love of mine too - and when we were kids, my sister and I even met her daughter Stormy, who was more placid than I imagined but excitingly real.

BB- I am convinced that Kindle or something like Kindle will change how we read but I just don't enjoy it yet. To me there is still a huge difference between softbacks and hardbacks, and I take so much pleasure in reading good hardbacks that it is worth the extra kilos to lug them back from the States. That said, I do read Projectgutenberg books when I run out of other material.

Robert Penn Warren was an important author in the canon at my Southern university's English department but I focused on the modernists more so missed most of his work except these poems. I need to track down All the King's Men too!

countrypeapie said...

A friend of mine has a Kindle and I was pleasantly surprised by how book-like it feels in the hands. It will be interesting to see how libraries evolve.

Lucy said...

Yeah, Middlemarch and Misty! I think I might try to find a copy of Misty on Amazon marketplace...

I don't believe I'll ever want to read electronic books, though my preference is paperbacks.

Soft Rock Mama said...

What a great stack of books.
I have to admit that I too have never read Treasure Island. Yikes.
We are headed to the library today, I'm checking out Treasure Island and Misty of Chincoteague.
Thanks for the inpsiration.

Ellen said...

Looking forward to borrowing MANY of them - for a massive reread. YEAH! :)