Saturday, February 28, 2009

What book would you become?

Earlier today I reviewed Fahrenheit 451, and mentioned my mom's assignment for her English class - we talked about it a couple of months ago, and it has been brewing in my head ever since. I'm intrigued by the idea of a group of people dedicated to keeping the ideas of books alive by "becoming" those books - actually memorizing, word for word, the books they are most passionate about, to keep them from being forgotten. And so I have asked myself:

What 5 books do you believe are important enough to be saved, and why?

I'll be the first to admit it's hard to make a book list that includes only five titles. Selfishly, I've decided not to include any "important" works - you know, the stuff that ends up on the Top 100 Books of All Time type lists. I figure someone will inevitably have chosen those already, right? So I'm making a list of books that are important to ME.

1 - Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - there is so much to this novel, but I love it for its thoughts about the nature of mercy and forgiveness
2 - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - for its humor, and honest portrayal of the difficulties of growing up
3 - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - because of its wonderful allegory for the sacrifice of Christ
4 - The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel - for its beautiful writing, and the idea that the differences between us are not as big as we think
5 - The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay - because I just love it!

Which book would you choose to "become"?

Again, it's hard to choose one out of that list. There are many things to consider, not the least the fact that Les Mis would be a pain to try to memorize! Ultimately, the book I would choose to become is Anne of Green Gables. I have loved Anne for so long, and I think this book is about so much more than a young girl growing up. It's about friendship, and love, and choosing to care about people even when it's not easy. It's about embracing your imagination, and the value of ideas, and being proud of the differences that make you unique. This is the book I would want to share with the generations to come.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book, to show why I love it so much:

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"

"There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting."

"Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

So is there any one else who would like to answer these questions for me? I think the book blogging community is so interesting, with such varied reading tastes, that finding out other people's ideas about this would be fascinating. I'd like to start a weekly feature here, with
a new blogger answering these two questions each week. See, I even made a little button for it!
(Thanks to BethFishReads for the tutorial!) I'm calling it 451 Fridays, because I like the alliteration. =) And since it was my mom's idea, I'm hoping to convince her to be my first participant. Is there anyone else interested? Leave me a comment, or send me an email, and we will talk!


Anonymous said...

Oooh, I'm in! I can go after your mum :)

bermudaonion said...

I think this is a great idea. I'll get back with you after I've had a chance to think about it for a little while.

Carolynn said...

i'll totally do it :) but you stole one of my books.

Anonymous said...

Truly an intriguing idea indeed! I'm in. ;)

Sandra said...

I got your email, thank you. I would enjoy doing this any time.

Kristen M. said...

I'm interested in participating but I will also need some time to be sure I choose the right list! Wow ... I think this will also be great to revisit in say 5 or 10 years and see if your list is the same ... if the same books mean as much to you.

mar10123 said...

I guess I'd better step up to this challenge.
My 5 book choices would be:

"The Far Pavilions" - M.M.Kaye - massive, fall-into-the-grandeur, get-lost-for-a-week, novel set in India during the 1850's. Romance, history, culture, religion - it's got it all. But I won't memorize this one - my brain couldn't handle the 1400+ pages.

"Out of the Silent Planet" - C.S. Lewis - if you only know Lewis through his Narnia books, you have to try this - 1st of his Space Trilogy. Written in the early 1950's, before any space travel existed, he predicted not only the technology, but the ramifications of one nation/culture claiming superiority over another.

"In This House of Brede" - Rumer Godden - an author who deserves to be better known. Outwardly successful, a widow in her mid-40's decides to enter a cloistered Benedetine convent.

"Peace Like a River" - Leif Enger - although not one of Elizabeth's favorites, it made my list. The description of "Heaven" in the next-to-last chapter is worth the price alone. Exhilarating, jubilant, peaceful - better than pearly gates and streets of gold.

And finally . . . (drum-roll). .
"Cry, the Beloved Country" - Alan Paton - South Africa during the reign of apartheid - a murder but so much more. Timeless themes, expressed in prose that is so lyrical and evocative, the book is an anthem, a dirge, a nocturne, a dance, an aria, an oratorio.

Meg89 said...

I'm in, but I'm going to need a few weeks to let the idea simmer... put me at the end of the list, please!

Jenners said...

I think this is a brilliant question, but one I will have to think about. I'll get back to you on this ... and I plan to link to this post in my collection of "cool reading/book posts I found" later this week. I thinking I would like to "become" a Harry Potter book though!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea - count me in!

Marcia said...

Wow what a dozy of an idea. Count me in but I need to be somewhere down the road. I have to let this one simmer on the back burner for a while yet. Quotes will be hard for me as I don't keep my books so no reference guide. :-)

LeahV said...

I don't know if I could limit myself to just 5 books! Eek! Gotta think on this one.....

Beth F said...

Oh my! I've so busy I missed this post. So happy I could help you with your button!!

I'm in! I need to think about it, but I'm interesting in joining the fun.

Email me and let me know when you need an answer: BFish[dot]Reads[at]gmail[dot]com

Padfoot and Prongs - Good Books Inc. said...

Wow what a fantastic idea. I think it is fair to say that I would have to include 451 in my list just because it was inspirational enough to come up with ideas like this. Wow 5 that is hard to choose. But if my house was burning the ones I would run back in for would be:

1. Atlas Shrugged. This is also the one I would become, which is ridiculous because it is over 1,000 pages. What ever it is basically my bible I already could probably say half of it by heart haha.

2. Fahrenheit 451. I feel like this is one of those books that really would be helpful if we ever faced a society that was forcing us to try and get rid of books haha.

3. Harry Potter. God I can't even pretend like I wouldn't. These books just mean to much to me to ever let them go any where. I'd kill someone if they tried to take them from me haha

4 and 5 I would feel like should be classics but there are just way to many to pick from. Probably what ever two I had read most recently.

Great idea on the post again! Can't wait to see more.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Oh my goodness, I'm sooooooo late to the party! But yes, I'm in!! I'll email you my answers tonight!

Intergalatic Bookworm said...

I clicked on your link at A Novel Challenge and I, too, have too many books to choose from. The only one for me is the James Herriot books. James was a local veternarian in Darrowby, England where he worked on all pets and farm animals. The BBC seires was wonderful. I miss my Aunt Lula's and Uncle Leo's farm. I have good memories of it.

Judy/Intergalatic Bookworm

Intergalatic Bookworm said...

I clicked on your link at A Novel Challenge and I, too, have too many books to choose from. The only one for me is the James Herriot books. James was a local veternarian in Darrowby, England where he worked on all pets and farm animals. The BBC seires was wonderful. I miss my Aunt Lula's and Uncle Leo's farm. I have good memories of it.

Judy/Intergalatic Bookworm

Intergalatic Bookworm said...

I deleted the last post because it was the exact same thing. I like your C S Lewis quote. The last time I was at the Harold Washington Library (He was Chicago's first African American Mayor; ever since I came down with Lou Gehrig's Disease, I miss going to the various libraires in Chicago and Evanston.) The New Book section has alot of quotes and my favorite quote is by Groucho Marx---Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read. Judy/Intergalatic Bookworm

Intergalatic Bookworm said...

I forgot to add that I want to join 451. Judy