Kate has tagged me to participate in an online One Book Meme
, so of course I won't resist an opportunity to mention or expound on books that have affected me in some way or another.
The caveat is that all of my already-read books are still in boxes, and only the unread and recently-read books are out, and without being able to survey the entirety of my tomes, I'm restricting my responses solely to books I've read or reread lately. So here goes.1. One book that changed your life
- Second Nature by Libby Scheier
. I lived in a small town until I was finished high school, and in the days before internet, I didn't have much access to contemporary poetry. So when I found her book in the local library (in which I worked), full of poems about gender and sex and politics and other current concerns, with a range of humour, passion, and neo-surrealism, I promptly stole the book. When she later become one of my workshop profs at York U., I confessed to her my moment of pilfer, to which she responded something like, "You actually lived there? Thank god you got out! What a terrible town. And good thing you stole my book, they probably would have burned it! I don't think they'd ever seen a feminist, let alone a Jew before!"
Another author I want to mention, and trangress against the One Book theme, is Gordon Korman's Bugs Potter series
of YA books. I loved those! And when I found out that he wrote them when he was just about thirteen years old, it blew my mind and gave me faith that I could keep on writing too.2. One book you've read more than once
- Oyster by Janette Turner Hospital
. I don't know how many times I've read this novel; it's one of my favourites, and I gain something new from it each time.3. One book you'd want on a desert island - Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
. My reason isn't terribly inspired, but I love his work, and it's a huge book. I don't how LONG I'm to be on this island, but that collection would keep me busy and engaged for some time...4. One book that made you laugh
- The Comfortors by Muriel Spark
. Thanks Kate for the recommendation. I loved the weird characters, and wished that I had a Baron to hang out with too!5. One book that made you cry - Liar by Lynn Crosbie
. It really did. Some of the stanzas just rip your heart out, and while it's written in a confessional and personal style, the theme of betrayal is universal.6. One book that you wish had been written
- this question I can't answer. There is just so much out there that I want to read that sometimes I worry I'll die before I get to it all. Actually, I probably will.7. One book that you wish had never been written
- I can't answer this with a simple response either. I don't wish any book hadn't been written, I believe censorship is evil, and I'm not going to list books I think are just crap. But one book in recent memory did make me wonder why I read it, or why I read it at a particular time in my life, though I couldn't deny its literary brilliance and significant evidence of talent and insight: The End of Alice by A. M. Homes
. It's a great book, but it's deeply disturbing - just read it when you're feeling emotionally strong and not prone to nightmares. I subsequently bought online a copy of Appendix A:
which is billed as an "elaboration" on the novel. It is an "art book" that contains some text (can't quite figure out if it's fiction or non or both or neither...), collage, and photographs of evidence from the case that book was apparently based on. I haven't read it or gone through it much yet but it does look fascinating. The back copy reads as follows:
"In an ongoing exploration, highly-acclaimed novelist and art critic A. M. Homes exposes the breadth of her creative process and unleashes her imagination.... a unique investigation of the troubled boundary between truth and fiction, art and evidence. This odd assemblage of the author's clues to the narrator's mind is liquid proof as to the fluidity and fragmentation of identity."8. One book you're currently reading - Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino.9. One book you've been meaning to read - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Not to be confused, initially, with Middlemarch
. Not that I would ever do such a thing.
Feels a bit odd for me to be discussing mostly fiction rather than poetry, but that's where my head's at these days.
Okay five people to tag... hmmm that's tough. I don't know enough folks with blogs yet, but how about any interested parties post a link to their own list in the comments or add a list as a comment? I'd like to hear what Lindsay says about this, and Stu
for sure, Mary Tyler Morphine, and any member of The Impostors... Bring it on!