Friday, November 13, 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 so honored to welcome author Garret Freymann-Weyr to 451 Fridays! Here's the official bio:

Garret Freymann-Weyr (née Weyr) was born and raised in New York City. She inexplicably went to college in North Carolina (UNC-Chapel Hill) and, just as inexplicably, got an MFA in film (NYU). She now lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband. She has written five books for young adults, one of which, somewhat inexplicably, won a Printz honor. Her work has been sold to countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and China. Her next book, French Ducks in Venice, is a picture book for a younger audience.

Here's what I know - she writes great books, as you can tell from my review of After the Moment. Also, she is a very cool lady. She sent me a card - an actual card! via snailmail! - to introduce herself to me when I agreed to be on this blog tour. And she's been so gracious in the emails we've exchanged for the 451 post - really, I'm a fan. I'll definitely be out looking for more of her work. She also has a website where you can read more about her, including essays like this one I especially like about reading above your grade level. (You'll probably have to scroll down to find it, but it's worth it. Of course, you could just read all of them, which wouldn't be a bad way to spend some time, but make sure you read the one with Great Expectations!)

Welcome, Garret!

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

The part of me that believes ‘Western Civilization Is Important’ wants to give you a list full of achingly gorgeous and precious works. You know the gang of The Iliad, Inferno, The Aeneid, etc. But the part of me that fervently believes that books are a passport to pleasure is going to go in another direction.

1. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers because it is about the magic that lies within childhood, but it never ever talks down to children or presumes to teach them anything.

2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton because it is a love story and a comedy of manners that doesn’t amuse its readers so much as it transforms them.

3. Middlemarch by George Eliot because people no longer even think the way Eliot writes and her characters will break your heart. I tended to skip over the stuff about land reform because I am not a Proper Reader. But it is my belief that stepping into this novel will bring as close as you can get to time travel (backwards that is).

4. Pitch Dark by Renata Adler because it is unlike any other modern novel. Adler uses fragments to build her narrative, which sounds annoying and should be annoying, but isn’t. When you are lost and not sure of what life will allow you, this novel illuminates how to be lost and found at the same time.

5. Parthian Stations by John Ash because his poems allow you to step into another person’s soul. Ash, born in Manchester, lived in NY from 1985 -96. He now lives in Istanbul, and his work is full of longing, grief, memory, and joy. It is everything you think of when you imagine what beauty really is.

Of those 5, which would you choose to become?

Mary Poppins, because who wouldn’t want to spend eternity in a British nursery? I wouldn’t mind being the elusive and sad Countess Olenska in The Age of Innocence or Dorothea Brooks in Middlemarch, but if I were to become a book, it would have to be Mary Poppins. Hands down.

Are there any quotes from the book(s) you'd like to share?

From Mary Poppins:

“It was the first day of Spring. Jane and Michael knew this at once, because they heard Mr. Banks singing in his bath, and there was only one day in the year when he did that.”

From The Age of Innocence:

“He longed to ask Madame Olenska if she did not have the same feeling: the feeling that they were starting on some long voyage from which they might never return.”

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


Stephanie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! Edith Wharton is wonderful.

Michelle G. said...

I have added your blog to my list of "Other Book-Bloggers" on my blog. I hope that's ok with you! Thanks- Michelle G.

bermudaonion said...

I totally understand why she went to Carolina - it's got a gorgeous campus. I love her list and thinking about Mary Poppins just made me sigh.

Serena said...

great list of books. thanks for sharing them.

Zibilee said...

I am so glad she chose to include books that she felt were transporting in her list! I have to agree that she chose some great ones, and some of the others have now made it on to my wish list. Thanks so much for sharing these!