Friday, March 6, 2009

451 Fridays

Welcome to the first edition of 451 Fridays. *cue cheers and applause*

451 Fridays is based on an idea from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In his novel, a group of people (Bradbury calls them Book People) are trying to keep the ideas found in books alive. Instead of actually saving the books, the Book People each "become" a book - memorizing it, word for word, and passing it down to the next generation.

451 Fridays asks what books you feel passionate about. What book do you think is so important that you would be willing to take on the challenge of "becoming"?

For the first week of this fun project, I'm excited to welcome my mom, Mary Lynn! The questions in 451 Fridays are based on an assignment she gives her high school students, so I thought it would be appropriate if she was the inaugural post!

(this is my mom - isn't she cute? I was actually in this picture too, but it's a WAY better picture of her...)

So here we go....

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

"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 Benedectine convent.

"Peace Like a River" - Leif Engler - 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.

Of those 5, which book would you choose to become?

Cry, the Beloved Country

Do you have any quotes from that book you would like to share?

"There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it. The road climbs seven miles into them, to Carisbrooke; and from there, if there is no mist, you look down on one of the fairest valleys of Africa. "
(Opening paragraph of Book I and Book II)

"Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much."
(Book 1, Chapter 12)

"They were silent till the man passed, and then Kumalo said, in all my days I have known no one as you are. And Msimangu said sharply, I am a weak and sinful man, but God put His hands on me, that is all. And as for the boy, he said, it is the Governor-General-in-Council who must decide if there will be mercy."
(Book II, Chapter 29)

Mom also noted that the movie version of Cry, the Beloved County, starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris, is also excellent. I've read the book, and it is beautiful. Honestly, I don't remember that much about the story, but I remember reading certain paragraphs over and over, because the writing was that good.

So, what book would YOU like to become? Send me an email - I'd love to feature your choices for an upcoming 451 Fridays post!


Meg89 said...

Great list! I'm glad to see you've started 451 Fridays, I'm looking forward to reading more posts, and watching my TBR list grow!

bermudaonion said...

I'm so glad you started this with your mom. Cry, the Beloved Country is the only book on her list that I've read. I'm working on a list - so far I've got 3 on it - but I don't think it's going to be as good as hers.

Jenners said...

This was great. Really thoughtful answers. I'm working on my list too -- and I hope to get it too you within a week or two. I am also posting a link to this on my blog so others who might not have seen it and might be interested might come over and join in too.

Molly said...

Please pass along to your mom that I absolutely LOVE this idea and plan to use it next year with my 9th graders when we do our annual reading of F451.

Beth F said...

Super list! I can't wait to see more. I'm also working on a list.