Monday, September 11, 2006

Meme break

Again off topic, but so many friends have had this on their blogs recently and they've invariably been interesting, so snagging this one for myself and apologies if it doesn't measure up... I'm off to the NEC (Knitting and Stitching show) this weekend, anyway...

One book that changed your life Le ventre de Paris by Emile Zola. Worth it for the stunning descriptions of Paris, and food; changed my point of view on both. There's a plot there too if you're reading the whole Rougon-Macquart series. Read during a truly miserable year abroad in Paris in 1988/89, it restored my faith in many, many things.

One book you've read more than once: The one which springs to mind is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I re-read this every couple of years; the combination of Southern heat and righteous anger always keeps me hooked. I also have this as a DVD and my mam and I share an admiration of Gregory Peck.

One book you'd want on a desert island I'm assuming the Bible and Shakespeare are included. If they are, I'll take one of Barbara Walker's Treasuries of knitting stitches. I'm sure I'll be able to find some form of sticks and fibre somewhere, even if I have to derive fibre from seaweed... Otherwise, I'll choose the Bible, preferably in the first Jerusalem translation as that's the one I'm used to - complete guide to humanity at its best and worst.

A book that made you laugh Most which fall into that category these days are political and therefore cynical. But the Christianna Brand Nurse Matilda books, every time; I can laugh just thinking about them. Molesworth has the same effect.

A book that made you cry For some reason, biographies do this more than novels these days. The first couple of pages of Bill Clinton's My Life are shockingly sad. And there are chapters in Julian Clary's otherwise-hilarious A Young Man's Passage which make me teary thinking of them...

A book I wish I'd written Apart from the Harry Potter books, which would keep me in yarn for life, I'd love to have written the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide; such a brilliant idea.

A book I wish had never been written I'd probably prefer that Mein Kampf had never seen the light of day, but obviously as a liberal I can't oppose it. However, I do nominate Proust's A la r├ęcherche du temps perdu. I hated it; it sucked out my soul for the time I was reading it and for a long time thereafter...

A book I am currently reading Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Useable Trim, Scraps and Bones. He's probably the only chef who can genuinely get away with dedicating a book to the dead Ramones. God, he's good: the combination of the high-octane, mucho-macho, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas stuff and the incredibly delicate, almost ethereal, descriptions of the food. I was reading this book on the train earlier, after writing the first half of this several days ago, and Bourdain cites Le ventre de Paris as a must-read, too; and I'm really not surprised; it's the same combination of breakneck speed and delicacy, total sensory overload and incredible precision...

A book I've been meaning to read Bryan Garman's A Race of Singers: Whitman's Working-Class Hero from Guthrie to Springsteen. Got it for Christmas and it's working its way to the top of the pile.

A book I wish had been written Not so much a book, a section of a book; there's a 7 year gap in Margrave of the Marshes, John Peel's autobiography, between the point he left off and the point he met Sheila and she was able to carry on with the story...

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