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"?
This week, author Mary Carter has graciously agreed to share her list of books for 451 Friday. Her novel, Sunnyside Blues, was just released, and you can read my review of it here. She also has a website, Mary Carter Books, where she is currently hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of her novel, as well as a $25 Amazon gift card! Welcome, Mary!
What 5 books do you believe are important enough to be saved, and why?
First, I have to say, I’m so grateful this is a hypothetical, having to pick and choose only a few books would kill me, that said, I’ve tried to pick a varied bouquet!
Time and Again by Jack Finney
This is one of my all time favorites.
“Sleep. And when you awake everything you know of the twentieth century will be gone from your mind. Tonight is January 21, 1882. There are no such things as automobiles, no planes, computers, television. ‘Nuclear’ appears in no dictionary. You have never heard the name Richard Nixon.”. . .
A secret U.S. Government program. An artist named Si Morley. A love story that survives time. This book has it all. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it, but it’s on my TBRA (To Be Read Again) list!
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
I love Howard Roarke and Dominique. I think their sexual attraction, love, and tale of passionately pursuing (or not) ideals, despite what the world expects you to do. It really resonated with me. Howard has a passion for architecture that he would die defending, Dominique has nothing but empty money, and the desire to destroy what she’s missing (Howard’s passion).
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Wonderful immersion into the circus life, with incredible characters, and touching twists.
Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen
This book is non-fiction, but it reads like a novel so I had to slip it in! Set in Chicago during the World Exhibition in the late 1800’s, this is another amazing book that if it were fiction would be too strange to be true. The top architects of the time have less than 9-months to put together an exhibition that will rival Paris. The invention of the Ferris Wheel. And, a mad-man, a charming, handsome doctor/serial killer, luring women into his inn on the outskirts of the exhibition. Another book I’ll read again someday. Completely fascinating and engrossing!
Sam Bangs and Moonshine by Evaline Ness
My favorite childhood book about a little girl name Sam Bangs, a fisherman’s daughter, who likes to tell lies, or “moonshine”. I was the hardest critic of all when I read it: a little girl. Absolutely loved it.
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
I know of no other book where my heart breaks so thoroughly for a little boy abandoned by the world. Raw, harsh, and dead-on. An excellent movie too.
I wish I had all the time in the world to read them again. A few of them I wish I had written!
Which one would I become?
It would have to be “Time and Again” by Jack Finney. I love the idea of going back in time, and I like that the concept was applied scientifically: the government doesn’t build a time machine, they set up an experiment in which Si Morley (chosen because he sees the world through the eyes of an artist) begins to live his life as if he’s already back in the 1800’s. They seal off his modern day world, furnish his place as if it’s already 1882, deliver food from the time period, the newspaper from that day, etc. until he truly does go back in time. The first time he’s not sure if he’s really back in time because there’s been a huge snowstorm, and walking through Central Park it could be modern day, or 1882. I love the ambiguity of that moment. Then, I’d want to be in the book the moment he realizes that the tiny, narrow, cobbled street he is standing on is actually Fifth Avenue. Rockefeller Center, gone! St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Plaza, Saks, Tiffany’s, the library at forty-second street, the “unbelievable height of the Empire State Building at Thirty-fourth Street” gone!
“This street was tiny! Narrow! Cobbled! A tree-lined residential street! Mouths open, we stood staring at rows of brownstone houses, at others of brick and stone, at trees, and even patches of fenced snow-covered lawn before the houses. And all down the length of that quiet street, the highest structures I could see were the thin spires of churches, nothing above us but gray winter sky. Coming toward us, rattling on the cobbles of the bare patches of this strange little Fifth Avenue, was another horse-drawn busy, the only moving vehicle, at the moment, in several blocks.”
I love New York City, and this book indulges the romantic in me, Central Park covered in snow, horses instead of cars, and the only ones “twittering” are the birds.
Thank you for letting me share!
Mary, thanks so much for taking the time to share YOUR list of books which must be saved! Do you have a list of books you are passionate about? Send me an email - I'd love to feature it for an upcoming 451 Friday!