Meme, with relish — via UnBound

You can find the original link at UnBound; here are my responses.

1. One Book That Changed Your Life:

Beowulf: After taking in Woody Allen’s advice in Annie Hall without really thinking about it (“Don’t take any class where they make you read Beowulf!”) I finally read it in the Chickering dual language version in Stephen Mitchell’s class at Harvard. With the added influence of Njal’s Saga, my life changed forever. I discovered the Middle Ages wasn’t miladies in pointy hats, but cool and magical stories with mordant humour. Everything in my life changed from being a medievalist: languages, stories, mythologies, and most importantly, it put paid to the idea that there was any such thing as ‘originality’ — just individual story tellers and very old stories.

2. One Book You Have to Read More Than Once:
Alice in Wonderland: if there is one book that defines my life, it is Alice. The absurdity, the humour, the wild imagination. Yes.

3. One Book You’d Want on a Desert Island:
Riverside Shakespeare: There is so much there, I can’t imagine quite getting to the end of it ever, without wanting to begin again.

4. Two Books That Made You Laugh:
Lucky Jim and Jane and Prudence: Amis’ book is another that really has defined my life, even though I first read it before I became an academic and a medievalist — somehow it was fated I guess. There is just so much in the book that captures the most frustrating things about academia and my own love/hate relationship with it. I remember reading Pym’s book when I was working at the Harvard School of Public Health. I was in the student lounge and laughing out loud. Time to re-read it!

5. One Book That Made You Cry:
Anything by Charles de Lint, eh? We’ll say Moonheart, if you need a title, but oh any!

6. One Book You Wish You’d Written:
Pride and Prejudice? Anything by Austen — or Gaskell, or George Eliot. Sigh.

7. One Book You Wish Was NEVER Written:
Um, every celebrity’s ghosted “how I did it” book.

8. Two Books You Are Currently Reading:
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope and The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell: Not a bit unusual to find me reading 19th century books. Trollope is just so very funny. I’m always chuckling over my iPod. Gaskell’s bio is not the most accurate, but I’m curious to see her picture of an admired writer and what it tells me about her thoughts.

9. One Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read:
Tristram Shandy : I will get to it!

If you love books, consider yourself tagged. Link your post in the comments below. Huzzah!

2 thoughts on “Meme, with relish — via UnBound

  1. Tristram Shandy sits on my bookshelf, mocking me with the knowledge that I’ll most likely never get to it!

    Love your selections – I’ve been Riverside Shakespeare man for years, still have my massive, tattered copy from college. And I adore the little I’ve read of Austen…Persuasion is one of the books I’m bringing with me for the family vacation in a few weeks.

  2. Persuasion is great! I envy you reading it for the first time. Painful in many ways, but also not without Austen’s humour. Re-reading Sense and Sensibility recently, I was amazed I had forgotten just how much Austen skewers in that book. Wonderful!

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