Friday, June 5, 2009

451 Fridays

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"?

Today, I am lucky to be joined by Lisa Roe, everyone's favorite Online Publicist! Lisa has just recently started her own blog, but has been a part of the book blogging world for much longer. She connects the books she represents with bloggers who would like to review them, and is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. She also just got back from BEA, so the fact that she could put together a 451 list after that weekend is nothing short of amazing! If you would like to see the books she has to offer, visit her blog, OnlinePublicist. Welcome, Lisa!

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

I wasn't sure where to go with this at first. I have books sitting in every room of my house, so I took a tour, cup of coffee in hand, and read every spine.

This was also difficult because I felt I was doing a disservice to the books I have yet to read! While at BEA this past weekend, I thought of this challenge Elizabeth had put forth and wondered if any of the books there would one day make it onto someone's 'save' list. I suppose time will tell.

But for the me of the here and now, my list reads like this:

Quarantine by Jim Crace:

I believe Crace to be one of the finest, most beautiful writers of our time. His skill at transporting the reader to the time and place of his creation is unparalleled.

Crace uses science and visceral language to retell the story of Jesus' 40 days and nights of fasting in the Judean desert. While the story focuses on the band of four travelers who have also come to pray in the desert and the evil they encounter along the way, the faint shadow of the Galilean is always off in the distance.

Dr. Seuss's ABC:

I believe Dr. Seuss transcends from page to action quite wonderfully. The words are fun and it could never be acted out in too silly a manner. I think this book would be enormously beneficial in carrying on the memory of writing, in anticipation of its return, and would work as easily for adults as it would children.

Demonology by Rick Moody:

I love short stories so a collection of them had to make their way into my list. Moody is a genius at playing with structure and pushing the limits of form in writing. I was torn between this one and another, but this book contains one of my most favorite short stories of all time: Boys.

The story is one enormous block of writing where every sentence contains some form of the word 'boys'. He completely chronicles the life of a family from infancy to death. By cutting out the nonessentials and focusing on the core intent of each sentence, Moody fashions the timeline and emotion of a complete novel, in just seven pages.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell:

Purely nostalgic reasons for my choice here. My mom used to read this to me, a chapter or two at a time, before bed, when I was a child. I was so in love with this book. The pages had gold trimmed edges, the cover was leather, and it had a blue, satin ribbon bookmark....attached to it! I had never seen such opulance in a book before.

I would hope that I could retell the story in a way that would recreate the richness and weight of the book I remember.

The Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary Ed.) by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker:

Absolutely essential for any kitchen! I pick this book up and read through it just to see what I can learn from it.

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

The Joy of Cooking

This is more than a cookbook. It's a kitchen history. Older editions detail to the little lady how to properly set a table for a variety of functions, cook meat without smudging your lipstick, and get the kiddies off to bed at a decent hour.

I may be exaggerating, but the dozens of rewrites and reprints provide a vivid picture of American history. Not the history you learn about in the classroom, but the history of our familial evolution. The way we used to cook and create and how we do it now, always with a nod towards what was learned in the past.

The guidance, tips, and advice will carry us through a recession with victory gardens, where homemade is essential, to a "pret a manger" lifestyle.

My choice with this also has a lot to do with the cooking/kitchen relationship and the camaraderie it develops. Sitting and talking over recipes, interesting pairings, flops, and successes aids in our development as a social group, the skills for which are quickly being devoured by video games and electronic communication.

Do you have any favorite quotes from that book, so we know why you love it so much?

Tough to pick a quote from a cookbook, but I do have to say that my favorite thought that I glean from the book is that butter is still relevant! And I'm from Wisconsin, so that makes me happy. =)

Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us YOUR list of books which must be saved.

Do YOU have a list that's just begging to be shared? Send me an email - I'd love to have you join us!


Beth F said...

Great choices. And have fun memorizing and becoming Joy of Cooking! OTOH, so glad it will remain in the world.

Corinne said...

What a great idea! Well done Lisa, great ideas. I can tell you really thought about it :)

Kaylia Metcalfe said...

What a great idea... and Lisa, what a great list! It would be so very hard to simmer down all the wonderful books... I will think about it.

Can I list my own book :P

And Lisa, I need to add to my "need to read" list.. I have never read Boys, but now I simply must!

Tarasview said...

Great picks!! I will have to think about this one!!

Alyce said...

It would be so hard to choose! I love the inclusion of Dr. Seuss and a cookbook! :)

Unknown said...

It would be impossible for me to memorize a book, of course, but if I had to pick five, I think Catch-22 would go on the list. To Kill a Mockingbird, maybe. Something by Faulkner. The Sound and the Fury would be entirely too tough, so maybe As I Lay Dying. For poetry, I'd have to go with an anthology, something like The Premier Book of Major Poets. That way I'd have a bunch of them. The Big Sleep. The Maltese Falcon. More than five already.

Care said...

AWESOME! I really enjoyed this. Thank you. (I'm more than a bit in awe of the 451 idea of memorizing an entire book - egads...) I hate to say this this way but, as I get older, I really appreciate amazing cookbooks. When I was young, just a means to an end - or I had yet to read some really good ones. I love you choosing the cookbook.

Bookfool said...

Great choices, Lisa! The first book that came to my mind was the Bible. Maybe a dictionary because you can reread the dictionary, forever. LOL I love that photograph. So cute!! Oh, and The Count of Monte Cristo -- I never get tired of rereading that book. I would save it, for sure.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you chose Dr. Seuss and Black Beauty. Those are two of my favs although I prefer Green Eggs and Ham to ABC :P Thanks for turning me on to this blog too. Can't wait to read more of it!

Booklogged said...

First of all, I have to say that I love this Friday 451 idea, Elizabeth. Good for you for getting it going and sharing your creative juices with the rest of us.

Lisa, great choices. I love reading cookbooks and can tell that I need to buy The Joy of Cooking. With all the ones I own I'm actually surprised that it's not one.

Jenera said...

I would say 'The Hiding Place' by Corrie Ten Boom, 'A Solitary Blue' by Cynthia Voight, (these two because I read them multiple times through my teenage years), Vanity Fair (I just recently read a very early edition of this and loved it), 'Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe' of course and there are so many others that I would have a hard time giving up! So many from my teenage years that I still look for in old book stores.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Wow, awesome guest post Lisa and I'm so jealous of your trip to BEA. I'd love to go next year.

I'm not sure what books I'd choose to save. I guess classics wise...The Picture of Dorain Gray by Oscar Wilde would be one, or just his play The Importance of Being Earnest. Both are great.


Jenners said...

Fantastic list!! I love Dr. Suess's ABC ... I love rediscovering his books and realizing why they are so great. "Aunt Annie's Alligator .. A. A. A."

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

Great description of the personality of THE JOY OF COOKING.

My volume is 20+ years old, and has a cracked spine. The two red ribbon bookmarks are unravelling. My husband has suggested I replace it with a new edition, but every spill and stain is a memory (and evidence that I do occasionally cook!)

Major Bedhead said...

I love the choice of a cookbook. As I was reading this post, that was one of the first ideas that came to me - a cookbook.

This is such a cool idea. I'm bookmarking this and will do a post of my own on my blog. I need a little time to think about it. And this blog is so going into my blog reader.

Anonymous said...

I really need to read Black Beauty. I'm not sure why I never did since I loved the Black Stallion series and was on a horse kick for awhile.

Sharon said...

This is a great idea! I would have to think long and hard about which single book I would choose. I could probably come up with a different one every day :)

Lisa, I like your selections - I never would have thought about including a cook book. I have two editions of TJOC - one of which is over 30 years old. I haven't done a comparison, but now I will!

Shara said...

I haven't read a couple of those so I'll have to check them out! One of my favorite books that I have and read every couple of years is Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I need to be reminded of these principles every so often.

The Tome Traveller said...

My Mom taught me to read with "Dr. Seuss's ABC," I love that one!


Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I absolutely love the cookbook idea. It's on that it would have never occurred to me to mention, and I am a food lover!

Susan said...

Thanks for inviting me here, Lisa! I love this blog, Elizabeth, and I really enjoyed you listing all the books to the side that people would 'save'. I'll have to think of my list.....great post, LIsa, and I too love that you picked Dr Seuss as one of your books!

Stephanie said...

This sure is a hard question - would need to do some soul searching before answering it!!

bermudaonion said...

It was great to see Lisa's choices. I didn't think of putting a cookbook on my list, but it's a fantastic idea!

The Bookworm said...

Great post and great choices by Lisa!
That is a hard question, one of my five would definitely be Pride & Prejudice.

Margot said...

I'm do glad you picked Joy of Cooking. I've had my copy since I got married in the sixties. It's been like having a special kitchen tutor with me all these years.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by with a comment! I agree, Lisa put together a wonderful list!

Andi said...

Great answers! I'm especially intrigued by your mention of Demonology. I've had the book on my shelves for what seems like forever, and your description of "Boys" makes me want to run snatch it off the shelf right now. In fact, I just might!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all who stopped by and commented! Since I try not to use my computer on the weekends, I wasn't able to reply to each comment, so please, allow me to get away with this blanket 'THANK YOU!' I appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts. I had such a great time writing this post and look forward to musing on '451' thought further in the future.

LisaMM said...

NIce job, Elizabeth and Lisa!

Wow, memorizing a book word for word. I've got a few memorized but they are children's books (Goodnite, Moon, for instance!)

I love cookbooks and Dr. Suess too! Great list.

Kathleen said...

I've seen The Joy of Cooking before, it is an amazing book and one I'd love to get a copy of. Great post!

Serena said...

Wow, I've already added a few of these to my to-read list on good reads. Thanks, Lisa.

I've never seen the Joy of Cooking, but now I want to check it out.

I adore Black Beauty! And Dr. Suess is my all-time favorite! I loved all those books as a kid and buy them for anyone I know with kids.

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

These are all great choices! A few of my treasured Dr Seuss books would definitely be on my list. And I love that you mentioned Joy of Cooking! It really is so much more than just a cookbook.