Friday, March 04, 2005

Books, books, books!

Lorette (The Knitting Doctor) is a woman of many firsts for me; not only was it her blog that inspired me to get my own, but she was one of the first knitting bloggers I emailed, and she was one of the first people to leave me a comment. Now she can add another "first" to her growing titles, as I've been tagged for the book meme. I never thought I'd do these things, but I love books and love to read and how can I not now that I was tagged by her?!?

(disclaimer: I love to read. It's up there with knitting but has had to take a backseat since school started. My answers will be long and rambling and probably written with a wishful tone that implies the thought "I wish I were reading now....I wish I had time to read...someday I will have time to read again....")

Last Book Read: (strictly speaking books for "fun" and not texts for school) I'm ashamed (almost) to admit that this is a toss up between "Duck For President" and "Giggle, Giggle, Quack." Both are children's picture books written by Doreen Cronin, author of "Click, Clack, Moo."

(additional disclaimer: little known fact about me? I love picture books. For one of my college graduation gifts my parents picked out several picture books that represent different things. For instance, "Click, Clack, Moo" (picked out by my dad) has "to persevere" written on the first page by my mom. I also received books to laugh, remember, to give thanks, to nourish (a unique cookbook) and unwrapping each one was a reason to smile. Most of them I'd never heard of, and my mom pulled it off with the help of the lovely people at Chinaberry. (link of the side - their catalog is like reading the best reviews of books for kids, teens and some adult books. I look forward to every new issue!) The final thing I opened that day was a card from my parents that had a picture of my rocking chair in it; written under the picture it said "to rock." I thought it was a joke, but then they took me to the other room and there it was - by beautiful chair.)

Where it came from: both were bought for $5 each from Kohl's; they are "Kohl's Cares for Kids (tm)" books and all proceeds support a local children's hospital. Usually I try and support the local shops for buying books, and I can't walk past a used bookstore without poking my nose in (and usually walking out with something).

Books read per year: I have no idea. I used to check 7-10 books out of the library and read them in two weeks and return them for additional books, but now my time is dominated with studying and reading medical books/journals.

Favorite genre: fiction, but I like nonfiction, biography and others.

Five Favorite Books: I'm afraid I'm going to have to make this 10 and divide up kids and adult books.... (and I'm using the excuse that I've already openly admitted to loving "Winnie The Pooh" as an adult to choose other books that you haven't already heard me gush about.)

for kids: (or adults!)
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
a story about "being real" and what it means to live life to the fullest without caring about what others think of you. I couldn't appreciate this story as a child and now read it whenever I need a reminder that being authentic is the way to go. This book is one of the main reasons I love rabbits. (the Run Away Bunny is the other)

Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney
this book is beautiful; the illustrations are soft and detailed and the story is simply wonderful. A girl growing says that when she is older she will travel to far away places and when she is old, will live by the sea. Her grandfather challenges her to make the world more beautiful, and this is the story of how she does all three things. A lengthy read for kids, but worth it!

The Golden Compass (and "His Dark Materials" trilogy) and The Ruby in the Smoke (and other two books in the Lockhart trilogy (historical fiction)) by Phillip Pullman
I first read the Lockhart series in the wrong order, and was amazed at the way the whole story ties together. Finishing all three of them was like watching a very satisfying movie that leaves you thinking "how did they do that again? I just want to see that scene again..." I've reread them several times and am still blown away that he fit together so well. "His Dark Materials" are dark, and involved theology and many adult themes. I read them as they were published and every time the last book release date was pushed back I groaned, but it was worth the wait. I've re-read this set as well, and often discover something new each time. I also have these as audiobooks, and think they are best for adults. (I love Madeline L'Engle as well, and his writing is much like the complicated Murry family books)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Voirst
the title says it all, Alexander is having a rough day. The simple line drawings have stood the test of time, and this is a great read aloud book! (another one I pick up when I think things can't possibly get any worse....)

The Eleventh Hour (A Curious Mystery) and Animalia by Graeme Base
this Aussie author/illustrator is phenomenal. Our family read The Eleventh Hour one year at Christmas and it sparked controversy amoungst us as we figured out "who did it." Beware though, that this isn't your typical mystery. The book is full of codes, both with numbers and letters and pictures. I won't say any more, but my dad successfully figured it out and we knew who did it before we split the last section of the book (sealed). This is another kids book that can be enjoyed by anyone! Animalia is a feast for the eyes as every letter in the alphabet is discovered with alliteration, and another puzzle.

For adults:
It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It (and anything else written by) Robert Fulghum
short, witty pieces of thought provoking writing; hard to beat that. I have my favorite essays that are dog-eared, but can always pick up one of his books are read something I've read before but have never really noticed. His books are easy to find at used bookstores.

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (and anything else written by) Anne Lamott
Her essays/books leave me thinking about my own experiences, even though they are nothing like hers I'm able to find common ground with her. She's honest in an almost in your face sort of way, and I like reading about someone has learned to be and is willing to put it out there. Her thoughts on faith cover the untraditional and the traditional without passing judgment; something that is hard to do!

A Short History of Nearly Everything (and anything else by) Bill Bryson
this book, listened to/read after college, explained the most complex of scientific theories better then any of my upper level bio/chem classes ever could have. The material presented is complex, but written with humor and I enjoy listening to it during my longer car rides. An aside: I admit that I'm a bit of a geek and like science writings - things on how they've discovered new medications, viruses, the life of cadavers, the evolution of medicine and other doctor's experiences; I'm less thrilled with the stories of people in residency now that I'm in school - it's scary stuff! (The House of God and Intern Blues for example)

The Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico
a story written by a "cat," on how to manipulate humans. Humorous, well written, and TRUE! (the pictures are from the 1970's but the ones of just the cats are timeless).

and finally, not a specific book, but rather a broad category: what I call frou-frou chick-lit books
These are the quick reads that often involve middle age women, most are single but some are not, some childless, some with kids, usually have a money problem or run-in with a boss, and everything works out in the end. Examples: The Devil Wears Prada, The Shop-a-holic series, Nanny Diaries, etc. You know what I'm talking about - they are everywhere. I don't buy them but instead will get them from the library; it's been a while since I've had time to read one of these guilty pleasures.

the moral of the meme: I miss reading and can't wait to catch up on all the new books (new = since I've been in med school) out there!

Anyone who hasn't done it yet, help yourself! (leave a link in the comments so I can read what your preferences are - I'd love to see Alice and Anna-Caroline do it, but I think they're as busy as I am!)


Blogger Alice said...

Thanks for passing it on to me - my picks are on my blog. I used to check out the library maximum (7 books) every two weeks too, but that doesn't really happen anymore. I'm going to "me too" a couple of your picks - I LOVE Pullman's His Dark Materials. Did you know it's been optioned for a movie trilogy by New Line Cinema? And every time I see lupines, I think of Miss Rumphius. Her name was Alice, too, and I always thought she was a much better literary namesake than the silly girl who went down a rabbit hole.

9:32 PM  

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