Friday, July 31, 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 thrilled to welcome Aarti from the fabulous blog, Booklust. If you read her blog in a reader, you need to go visit the site, because she has one of the coolest paintings I've ever seen as her header. I've actually been a reader of her blog since before I had my own, and I'm always excited to see what she reads next. She is also the host of Rosie's Riveters, a feature which lets guest bloggers talk about their favorite heroines in literature. Go check it out! Welcome, Aarti!

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

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
This is the first book I remember going to the bookstore and picking out by myself, and it's always amazed me that I picked so well. I truly believe that this is the book that got me hooked on reading. It's written for children, but it is one of those wonderfully clever children's books that can be enjoyed at any age. Juster's way of playing with the English language and our use of it is wonderful, and the book has such a resonating message about the importance of imagination for children.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
This is one of those gorgeous, intricate puzzles of a novel where one
thing happens after another, all seemingly unrelated, until at the
end, you are left breathless by the spiderweb that the author created.
I love this book- it is one of those that you read and can understand
full well exactly why it is a classic. Much better than any book in
the Three Musketeers saga, in my opinion.

Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
I read this for high school English, and everyone in our class loved
it. It is a great story about redemption and forgiveness and love,
and, coupled with The Overcoat, is one of the reasons I love
depressing Russian authors.

Persuasion, by Jane Austen
It would be impossible for me to list five books to save and somehow
not include Austen on the list. She introduced me to the Georgian era
and I feel has almost single-handedly spurred on my love of history.
From her, I stretched to Georgette Heyer and then to British history
and then to culture and then imperialism... it's quite the chain, and
it all leads back to Austen. Persuasion is, in my opinion, her best
and most underappreciated work. It is her most romantic and the
characters are all so well-crafted. I love it and I wish more people
read it.

Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
Mostly because I think along with the heavy tomes of classics and Big
Themes, we should have some light-hearted fun in our memories, too. I
think Pratchett does a great job of melding Big Important Ideas with
humor. Small Gods is one of my favorites by him as it tackles the
religion question in a very sympathetic and funny way.

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

The Phantom Tollbooth. It is the shortest ;-) And also, I think it's
important to save children's books. As we become more and more
electronics and gadget-focused, it's hard for people to keep their
imagination and creativity up. Juster's book really emphasizes that.

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

So many! Just did a Google search for some and realized that I really
need to do a re-read of this book. It's marvelous :-)

"For one of the nicest things about mathematics, or anything else you
might care to learn, is that many of the things which can never be,
often are. You see it's very much like your trying to reach Infinity.
You know that it's there, but you just don't know where-but just
because you can never reach it doesn't mean that it's not worth
looking for."

"A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a
bankrupt intellect. Be gone, odious wasp! You smell of decayed

"Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need,
the time you need to have the time of your life."

Aarti, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us YOUR list of books which must be saved! Readers, if you have a list you are dying to share, drop me a note - I'd love to have you join our fun!


Serena said...

these are wonderful selections and I have read them all except Persuasion and Small Gods.

Aarti said...

Thanks so much for hosting this great series, Elizabeth! I really enjoyed thinking of the books and why I would want to save them. It was a lot of fun :-)

Serena- Thanks! I guess it's obvious I highly recommend both books to read, but they are great!

bermudaonion said...

I love her list. I'm going to add Small Gods to my wish list since I'm not familiar with it.

Anonymous said...

What a great list! I haven't read the Count of Monte Christo yet, but it's moving up the TBR pile now.

Ana S. said...

I'm completely with you on Small Gods, and you really made me want to read the rest!

Carrie K said...

I've only read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman co-authored it. I'll have to check out Small Gods. Crime & Punishment? One of these days.

Your other choices? Excellent! I have to reread Phantom Tollbooth. It's been while. Great quotes.

Kristen M. said...

I already have The Phantom Tollbooth on Z's shelf for whenever he decides to pick it up. We did a unit on it in sixth grade and made our own tollbooth!

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks Persuasion is the best Austen. I love the characters, love the plot, love the setting, everything. Absolutely perfect.

Great list Aarti! I'm heading over to check out your blog right now.

Beth F said...

I've read them all but Small Gods. I loved the Phantom Toll Booth! Great choice.

The Great Catsby said...

Um the fact that you put phantom tollbooth on here makes you my favorite person ever! For any one who hasn't read that trust me it is not just for kid. In fact I don't think you can truly appreciate the genius that is that book until your an adult.

Blodeuedd said...

great post Aarti.
I just love Persuasion (*coughs* nope haven't read it though)

Jenners said...

Excellent list ... and I love "The Phantom Tollbooth." Sitting upstairs right now waiting to be shared with my son when he is a bit older!

Aarti said...

Thank you everyone for your comments! I apologize for not responding sooner, but I have been out of town this weekend.

Bermuda, Fleurfisher- I am always happy to add to people's TBR piles :-)

Nymeth- I think, as you're a fantasy fan, you'd really like Phantom Tollbooth. But then, I think *everyone* should read that book!

Carrie K - Crime and Punishment is not a drudge to read, in my opinion, like many classics are. It's very, very good reading.

Kristen, Beth, Padfoot, and Jenners - am off to find your blogs now, as you all clearly have excellent taste in books!

Violet said...

Persuasion is a book I really want to read. I loved P&P, so I'm hoping I would love this one too.

Zibilee said...

Great post! I, too, live spending time over at Aarti's blog, and am always pleased by the books she chooses to review. I liked her choices, they are all awesome books, and deserve their permanent place in the halls of literature.