Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lifetime Books

There's been a question making the FB rounds ~ something about books that have had an impact in your life, books you can't forget.  Here's my list, with a few annotations
1. To Kill a Mockingbird: My first adult book, in fifth grade.  I'm sure I've read it at least 50 times. 

2. Night: I don't know when I first read this, but I've taught it a few times.
3. Hamlet: I think I saw my first Hamlet production, believe it or not, in a Royal Shakespeare Company performance at Stratford-upon-Avon when I was in junior high. 

 4. Macbeth: Junior year high school English ~ big paper on Lady M.

 5. Poems of Emily Dickinson:  When I was a senior in high school, I did an independent study one quarter on mysticism in the poetry of ED.  I didn't think there was much chance of there being a God, but I guess that's never stopped me from pursuing the possibility. 

 6. Poems of T.S. Eliot: Another major feature of my junior year of high school.

 7. Dante's Inferno: I took a college course on Dante, in English in the Italian Department.  I don't think we ever got out of the Inferno.  I'd been waiting for that one since being introduced to it via Eliot (see above).

 8. By the Shores of Silver Lake: I inhaled the Little House books as a child.  I think the later ones made the biggest impression on me.  When we were high school seniors, a friend and I re-read them all, and we would pretend to be  Laura and Mary out there on the Dakota prairie during our nighttime winter walks between our dorm and the library, when the air was frigid and the snow high in the Connecticut Valley of western Massachusetts.

 9. The Secret Garden: I've written about this one before, along with Heidi: Those wonderful childhood books in which motherless heroines prevail and, in the case of Mary Lennox, create something beautiful.  My kind of girls.

 10. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius:  Ten years since I first caught a whiff of these.  How I learned to pray.

 11. The Little Prince:   A children's book for adult readers.  The fox and the sunsets. 
Now that I think of it, I believe that all of this writing is connected. 
Despite my best efforts to the contrary, there are hundreds and hundreds of books in this house, and Kindle is not helping.  But I suppose that I could make do with the above plus a Bible on my proverbial desert island.

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