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Friday, June 12, 2009

Word of the Day, vol. IV

Word of the Day: BOOKS
There is a famous picture of me from when I am probably younger than 2. I am reading a book with great intensity. It is upside down.

I remember taking my Sesame Street Dictionaries with me to bed and reading them before I fell asleep. I pored over my children’s books: The Runaway Bunny being a great favorite. Where the Wild Things Are being another. I loved Richard Scarry’s big book of words, especially the food section.

I don’t remember which I became aware of first, The Baby-sitter’s Club books or Judy Blume. I wasn’t a Baby-sitter’s Club fanatic, but I remember reading the ones about Dawn’s makeover (so she can get a date), Stacy’s diabetes (she gets very thirsty and tired on her train ride home to New York to visit her dad), and the superspecial one about the group getting shipwrecked (Claudia finds a piece of glass and is able to make it reflect so that the plane flying overhead finds them) each more than once.

I’m pretty sure I learned about sex from Judy Blume’s book Forever. I was probably too young to read it, since I distinctly remember reading the back cover and not understanding what “the first time” was. Deenie was another favorite—that one’s all about masturbating. As was, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, which is all about getting your period. But it was a lesser-known Blume book, Just As Long As We’re Together, that I remember reading every month for a year.

The chapters in To Kill a Mockingbird about Boo Radley kept me up at night. I still think about haints when I walk through a suddenly warm patch of air.

I didn’t read Little Women until I was 22 because I was sure Beth’s death would upset me so much I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I’ve read it again since.

My AP English class was probably the first class I ever had in which I remember loving the books we read: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier were all on our book list.

I’ve read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, Sweet and Vicious by David Schickler, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, and On Beauty by Zadie Smith all twice; Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible three times, and Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much is True probably five times.

I have never read one word of the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, or The Lord of the Rings series.

I have never read any Jane Austen, even though I have been carrying around a copy of Sense and Sensibility for more than 8 years.

I have read everything Suzan-Lori Parks and Amy Hempel have ever published. (I think.)

I have cried on the subway because of the book I was reading.

I have missed my stop on the subway because of the book I was reading.

Three of my favorite people have told me I have to read A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, and, for some reason, I refuse.

The best pop culture writing I’ve ever read is an article by Chuck Klosterman, “Bending Spoons with Britney Spears,” in his book IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas.

The best play I have ever read is August: Osage County by Tracy Letts.

I just read The Secret Garden for the first time. It was given to me by my mother’s parents in 1993. I was pleased at how true to the book the musical I know by heart is.

Tori Spelling’s memoir sTori Telling made me sob. Jancee Dunn’s memoir But Enough About Me… inspired me to write a fan letter to her.. Jeannette Walls’s memoir The Glass Castle gave me nightmares because it is about neglected children.

Whenever I move, my books make up most of what I’m packing. I only keep the good ones: the ones with the best cover art, the ones I imagine will be of use one day, the ones that left me breathless or sobbing, the ones that make me ache to write, the ones in which I see myself.

Currently, my bookshelf is overflowing.

They are my prized possessions.

There is the love of another person, and then there is a love of books. These are the two great loves of life. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider knows this.--Charles L. Mee


Rachiewrites said...

Starting my day off catching up on your blog, Annie. You impress me on so many levels--your sensitivity, intelligence, creativity, honest introspection, and clear writing style. That you are of my flesh and blood is an enormous source of joy and pride for me. I love you.

Onessa said...

I am so glad that I am not the only person who has never read a Harry Potter book nor seen one of the films. I would like to encourage you to read some of the English classics but after hearing that these recommendations sometimes have the wrong effect, I think I won't say anything. I know you can read between the lines........

Carey Beth Hockett said...

Sorry about that. That last comment was from me, not from Onessa. I'm not sure why her account opened up on my machine... but those are the marvels of modern technology..

Annie said...

thank you both so much for reading! i appreciate the support and comments!!