July 14, 2009

Read of the Week

Now that I actually have time to read for pleasure, I find myself wandering into bookstores all over Brisbane and being too overwhelmed to choose a book out, which got me thinking about that standard get-to-know-you question, "What is your favorite book?". I've always thought that was a boring, not to mention unanswerable, question.  So I've come up with some more interesting ones in an attempt to shake off my book buyer's block.

What was your favorite book as a child? 
The Fledgling by Jane Langton. Even as an adult, I still dream myself into that story.

What book did you have the strongest positive emotional reaction to? Negative reaction?
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. This book made my heart overflow with happy feelings, and the conviction that love can heal anything.  
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin. I hated the whiny, selfish main character so much that I threw this book against the wall and wished evil things on it. I actually felt like he'd insulted me personally with his fictitious decisions.

What book have you most identified with?
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. When I first read it, I felt like someone had ripped off my shadow and made it into the book's main character. It was a surprisingly fulfilling experience, discovering a piece of myself in someone else's book. 

What book do you read over and over to escape?
Harry Potter, of course. Like all "trendy" reads, I didn't want to love this series, but I inevitably fell for it, utterly and eternally.  No one creates a world that readers long to run into like J.K. Rowling. I'm very grateful to her for that.

What is the most rewarding book you've ever read?
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. Reading this book felt like wading through molasses; it was arduous and difficult. That said, every page gave me something unique and rich. Every chapter taught me a lesson about literature, about reading, and about living.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure book?
The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Vampires, Southern culture, and detailed sex scenes? Sign me up. When I'm feeling stressed, this series is my go-to, and I enjoy every page. Don't tell anyone, though.

When forced, what do you tell people is your favorite book, and why that one?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. It is intense, haunting, beautiful, and dark- it is a timeless work that transfixes even dubious readers with rich characters and a 'love story' that is tortured and real. If I was being honest, though, I'd say that's changed to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, the much-forgotten youngest sister. Her tale may not be as immediately transfixing as Emily's, but it is, in many ways, more grown up, more haunting, and more beautiful. 

I'm looking for something that will sweep me up with good language and a captivating story. Any suggestions?