books that defined me

i decide to do this meme post after reading a brilliant post by Claire at paperback reader ,the rules where as follows –

1.Go to your book cases

2.Choose books with your eyes closed

3.Choose ten at random ,use all of your bookcases or piles of books

4.Use the book to tell us about yourself where and when you got them ,who got them for you ,what the books say about you etc .etc….

5.Have fun be imaginative .doesn t matter if you ve not read them all

6.Cheat (i choose 14 )

Book one travels with a donkey in the Cevennes by R L Stevenson ,i got this about ten years ago ,from Chesterfield’s great flea market .I have always enjoyed travel books and also Stevenson’s books this is a lovely book and gave me a great couple of days reading ,ot is from the 30s and show my love of old books

Book two poems of Rimbaud (everyman pocket edition) apart from reading mainly novels poetry has always been a great love i got this book in a small independent bookshop that was open in Alnwick in 94 when i brought this sad to say the shop has long gone Rimbaud is one of france greatest poets alongside the like Baudelaire ,my old school teacher turn me on to poetry reading us poems by Keats Yeats and  Lawrence ,i ve read about two-thirds of the poems but always think a book of poems is for life

Book three the bad seed by william march this was a chance buy in Alnwick wonderful barter books got this shortly after it opened i had a feeling it had something to do with nick cave giving his band the name the bad seeds not sure if its true still but it is about a death and a psycho so it might of done ,i do impulse buy some times it pays sometimes it doesn t ,this time it did william march won the national book award with this in 1955 .

Book four Walt whitman selected poems (penguin popular poetry ) i brought this on a day in Leeds with my step mother shortly after seeing dead poets society where whitman features heavily in the plot line ,i love these poems like the film itself there is something about america of this time Thoreau, whitman,Melville and Emerson are all favourites of mine

Book five Saki shorts (phoenix) i have a few Saki collections one of my earliest memories is at my grandparents looking at there shelves and always be amazed by the name Saki when i was old enough i read them ,my grand mother was a english teacher and loves turn of century fiction saki is ther one of the best short story writers his stories make me laugh  ,he is surely due a revival at some point ,reading his stories bring back memories of great summers around the east neuk of fife with my brother and grandparents .

Book six in the heart of the sea Nathaniel Philbrick i got this because of the connection to moby dick ,and sad to say never read it i will now place it back on tbr pile as it had got shelved away in a bedroom ,adventure stories was a great passion in my teens from Willard price on to jack london ,then Melville .The sea has always drawn me and i love boats but have not sailed much except through books

Book seven the rebel Albert Camus ,my father brought this book for me when i lived in germany in the early nineties .a phone call for books and some promptly came a surprise at my father’s choice as he tends to read pulp thrillers and westerns ,Camus ‘s prose are lovely and was a great companion when i was in germany ,i remember been sat by the Rhine reading this book as the boats drifted by

Book eight the leopard Tomasi di Lampedusa this is one of my around the world reads for this year ,looking forward to reading it then watching the film to compare them .It is a perfect example of why i choose to do the round the world challenge to increase my own knowledge of world lit and strength my love of translated fiction .It will also remind me of my late grandfather who fought in italy but after the war spent nearly every summer there on holiday

Book nine white teeth Zadie smith i got this when it came out in paperback in Sheffield ,it seemed to encapsulate a start of the twenty-first century in our fair land pre 9 11 it is a truly great book and one i feel sure i will re read at some point ,it also mark the emergence of a great new talent in Zadie smith ,i spent a lot of time recommend this book to people

Book ten essays George Orwell ,this collection was a present from my parents ,they know of my love of Orwell and this collection is so diverse i spent christmas to new year reading it .reading Orwell was my first introduction to politics in writing as a thirteen year old reading animal farm ,over the years i ve read most of his books and think i will always go back to him

what do your books say about you?

does every book have a memory for you ?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah
    Jan 30, 2010 @ 19:53:38

    An interesting meme, and a fascinating post, Stu. Somehow am unsurprised by the eclectic nature of your picks…

    Love the story about your dad sending you Camus. How thoughtful. I have never read any Saki, but can remember experiencing a similar amazed response on first seeing the name.

    I can’t think that many of my books do have associated memories, but I am interested now and will have to go and see…

    Reply

  2. Sarah Prior
    Jan 31, 2010 @ 09:26:04

    Beautiful blog post Stu – really revealing, and very tender little stories for each one. I loved it.

    Reply

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