Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thursday 13: Books On My Shelves

I’m a lifelong obsessive reader and a writer married to another writer. So, as I’m sure surprises no one, our apartment is stacked to the gills with books. As I was shuffling a stack from my bedside to the tower above the living room bookcase today, I thought—hey! Why don’t I just pick thirteen random books from my collection for this week’s TT?

So that's what I've done.

We’ve got six basic areas where books live here: the bedroom bookcase, above the bedroom bookcase (honestly, don’t ask it’s the biggest nightmare), the two living room bookcases, on top of the broken living room radiator, and the office case. I selected two from each area, with a wild card thrown in to round things out to 13.

I’m also including a quote from page 7 of each text. Why? Uh. Because I want to?

1. The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neil.
This is a first edition my Dad bought me one year for Christmas when I was still in high school. The selected page 7 quote comes from O’Neil’s lengthy stage directions. “Hope is one of those men whom everyone likes on sight, a softhearted slob, without malice, feeling superior to no one, a sinner among sinners, a born easy mark for every appeal.”

2. Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker.
I don’t know where I got this, actually. I dimly remember reading it in college, though. Page 7 quote: “Much later in life she heard the story of the man who worked in a factory that made farm equiptment and each day passed the guards at the gate pushing a wheelbarrow. Each day the suspicious guards checked to make sure the wheelbarrow was empty. It always was. Twenty years later, when the man was rich, he told them what he had been stealing: wheelbarrows.”

3. NYC Free & Dirt Cheap.
I bought this a few months ago at the bargain bin at the local Barnes & Noble. Page 7 quote: Best Summer Music Festical: Every year SummerStage (212-360-2777) seems to get even better organized, efficiently channeling music fans into a stage area just off the Rumsey Playfield in the middle of Central Park.”

4. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Despite being a huge (and I mean huge) Atwood fan and a lifelong lover of mythology, this book failed to impress me. It was efficiently and elegantly told, but kind of like watching a world-class pianist perform a series of scales. Page 7 quote: Where shall I begin? There are only two choices: at the beginning or not at the beginning.” Which is kind of a rip-off of her earlier book, The Robber Bride. Now that book was inspired.

5. The World According To Garp by John Irving
I love Irving. I liked Owen Meany better than Garp, but still worth the read. Page 7 quote: “It’s worse than bent,” the man moaned. “I think Molly bit it off!” (Yeah. He's talking about his penis.)

6. Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
In my first few years of writing workshops I got way into Carver. Eventually I had to turn away from him because my prose was starting to sound too derivative and he was depressing me. Page 7 quote, from the story Nobody Said Anything: “I was halfway down Sixteenth Street when a woman in a red car pulled onto the shoulder ahead of me. She rolled down the window on the passenger’s side and asked if I wanted a lift.”

7. Brooklyn! By Ellen Freudenheim.
Another recent purchase. Excellent guide to the County of Kings. Page 7 quote is from a chapter entitled Eleven Quick Itineraries and Best Bets: “The Going Native in Brooklyn Tourist: Stay at a B&B. Get a haircut at the Sinatra-era Park Slope Barbershop. Ice skate at Wolllman Rink or job in Prospect Park. Argue loudly about who makes better pizza: Grimaldi’s or Totonnos.” [FYI: the answer is neither. The best pizza in Brooklyn is a hole-in-the wall on Court St called My Little Pizzeria.]

8. This Is Not A Novel by David Markson.
Ah, but it is a novel! See how clever he is! I love Markson. R.’s friend DS turned us on to him. His other book, Wittengenstein’s Mistress, is pretty good too. And equally odd. Page 7 quote: “Georgia O’Keefe died blind.”

9. The Red Notebook by Paul Auster.
Of course I had to include Brooklyn’s most beloved literary superstar. I actually just finished writing a short story about a woman writer who moves to Brooklyn and starts stalking Paul. Oddly enough the book begins on page 11. So I take the quote from page 18, seven pages after the real beginning. “It was a genuine miracle, and I was there to witness it with my own eyes. Until that moment, I had thought those things only happened in books.”

10. Asian Tapas and Wild Sushi
I think this is one of my sister’s books. Or my Dad’s. The subtitle is: A Nibbler’s Delight of Fusion Cooking. Page 7 quote: “Hoisin sauce is sometimes called Chinese barbecue sauce.”

11. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll
One of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read and a truly insightful look at the modern phenomena of Media Frenzy. Page 7 quote: “For the following account there are a few minor sources and three major ones; these will be named here at the beginning and not referred to again.”

12. The Humanure Handbook by JC Jenkins
The subtitle says it all: A Guide To Composting Human Manure. I have no real excuse for this one. It’s actually hilarious, although I’m not sure if the humor is intentional or not. Page 7 quote: “The simple blunt truth is that we shit everyday and we should be returning that organic material back to the soil.” Jeez. I mean he’s got a point. But jeez.

13. Collected Poems by Primo Levi
Last, but by no means least, we come to Levi. Since it’s short I am going to include the entire poem on page 7.

25 February 1944

I would like to believe in something,
Something beyond the death that undid you.
I would like to describe the intensity
With which, already overwhelmed,
We longed in those days to be able
To walk together once again
Free beneath the sun.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Blogger Jennifer Sprague, All Natural Mommies said...

OH MAN...I am soo behind on reading, I miss it...I have never even heard of most of them!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

We both listed books this week, but mine are books I've reviewed. I don't think I've ever read a title on your list. But, I am definitely a reader!

My TT is up.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Nancy Drew said...

I.LIKE.your style!!!

Came over here from WC's 20 Wednesday something-or-other tag. Boy am I glad I did.

Have not read any of the books you cite (blush) but love the quotes.

Actually, the one about human manure is dead wrong and wanted to point that out. Am a biology major ('74). Humans are biomagnifiers--the toxins we absorb from food/environment builds up in our bodies and poop. If we spread that on the soil, we are going to absorb it again in huge proportions. The EPA actually classified it as toxic waste, no kidding, in the mid 1980s, according to a friend of mine who worked there. That might have changed for reasons that have little to do with science, but....

Anyhow, very glad to meet you!!!


10:02 PM  
Blogger Lyn said...

I've got books too, but not contemporary novels. You read a lot! I have to get caught up first. lol. My T13 - Classic Books I've Never Read Edition is up at Bloggin' Outloud. Thanks!

PS, At first I thought your blogs was Godless in the

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Suzy said...

I love your list. I'm a 40 something girl who'd love to learn how to write. Any suggestions from a writer who's been there and has tips/pointers? =o)

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Janet ( said...

Man, I LOVED Garp!!!

Did you hear about the recent benefit for Doctors Without Borders, which featured John Irving, Stephen King & JK Rowling reading excerpts from their book and then answering questions? It was in NYC, man, I would've LOVED to have gone!

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Kelli said...

I have a huge collection of books, and sometimes I think I need to donate them. But, I just can't part with them right now! Great list!

11:11 PM  
Blogger thehealingroom said...

Hi Nanacy Drew,

I appreciate your list and especially the inclusion of quotes.

I have only read Temple of My Familiar on your list.........but it happens to be one of my favourite books. Its been over 10 years since I read it...I think its due for a re-read.

12:48 AM  
Blogger thehealingroom said...

Oh Dear! i am so sorry Minerva....I called you Nancy.
You both came and visited my blog today and when I saw Nancy's post above I got confused.
Anyway, I like YOUR book list ect.
But still Hi to Nancy!

12:51 AM  
Blogger Red said...

I just don't seem to have time for T13s anymore! Bogus. This is a good one, and I like the idea of the quote from p7!

Have you ever read any Oriana Fallaci? She's gone a bit loopy lately (but even so, she has amazingly inspired flashes of genius), but her earlier stuff is awesome. A Man, for example, or Letter to an Unborn Child (I think these are the English titles of her books... I read them in Italian). She lives in New York, actually.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous colleen said...

This is such a great idea and you get a 13 Thursday and a book meme done in one shot! The book meme I recently did was so hard because they were asking for "one" book this and "one" book that. I would much prefer to follow this format. I enjoyed reading the whole thing and learned some new things!

Funny, for a book to start on page 11.

Mine are posted.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Darla said...

I've never read any of those either. I thought of doing a books TT, but since I blog about books every day, it seemed a bit redundant for me.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I love Irving too! What a great list.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

I love Owen Meany, someday I'll read Garp- but I don't think I've read the others on your list... oh well, more to add to my todo list...

10:07 AM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Well, aren't you a clever girl, very nice toucn with the format of page 7. Really cool.

Your whole list is terrific.

I have heard John Irving read, he read from Owen Meany. I love him!

Here's my TT.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Wow, I don't have any of these books! I may need to give Amazon a visit, LOL!!! Happy TT!

11:13 AM  
Blogger Carmen said...

books are a popular topic today. I'll have to look these up and possibly grow my reading list.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Kukka-Maria said...

I feel so stupid that I haven't read a single one!

I guess I can always use the excuse that cats can't read...but then how do I explain reading blogs?


12:08 PM  
Blogger Momma Piñata said...

I love to read, but I haven't read a single one that is on your shelf! I need to look into a couple of those that sound really good!

1:50 PM  
Blogger Something's Missing said...

Thank you so much! I love book recommendations, especially when it is out of the ordinary! I am going to look into some of those -- thanks again!

And thanks for visiting my TT!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Southern Girl said...

Great list! I think I may pick up a few recommendations from your list. :)

Thanks for visiting my TT.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Charmed1 said...

Great list, especially with the added quotes!

I played!

5:14 PM  
Blogger Happy Mama to Three said...

Loved this 13. We have soooooo many books, I was just sitting here trying to figure out how many bookcases there are in this house, much less books.


5:30 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Now I'm gonna have to look for the Humanure one. Dammit to crumbs. As if I don't have enough to do. ;P

Thanks for visiting my TT!

6:44 PM  
Blogger Geekwif said...

I've never read any of these. Yeesh. I feel so illiterate now. I read Owen Meany. It was pretty good, but didn't inspire me to read any more Irving. (I'm sure there are those who would have my head for saying that.)

#12 sounds like a trip! Is it a joke? Or is it environmentalism gone wild? I mean, I believe in composting but that does seem a little extreme.

9:16 PM  

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