I was tagged by Gordon. And it was very hard.
1. ONE BOOK THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE:
This probably is not what the question means, but it is a Ladybird early reader called The Farm, which was the very first book I could read on my own. I remember, still, the wonder of knowing what those black marks meant. I read it over and over. There was one sentence on each page, along the lines of ‘The farm. This is the farm. A cow. This is a cow.” But it was incredibly exciting and truly did change my life.
If that won’t do, then Milton’s Paradise Lost. Because of his wonderful use of language, which triggered a new appreciation of Latin as well as English when I was sixteen years old.
2. ONE BOOK THAT YOU’VE READ MORE THAN ONCE:
I’ve read so many books more than once. I do not reread nearly so many now. Time was, I thought there was all the time in the world. Now there are just all the books in the world and I’m never going to read them all, even the good ones.
A book that I still reread (and have this year) is The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler. I adore it. “She was small and delicately put together, but she looked durable.” This is from memory, I hope it’s right. It’s a wonderful line.
Also, Philip Marlowe is Humphrey Bogart in my mind and he is my all-time film heartthrob. I think it was the sight of him falling in love with Lauren Bacall during To Have and Have Not.
3. ONE BOOK THAT YOU’D WANT ON A DESERT ISLAND:
That probably depends whether I get the Bible and Shakespeare too, because if I did, I’d certainly want some light relief.
I think I’ll go for the short stories of Saki (H.H.Munro) because I have enjoyed them for 40 years and they haven’t palled yet.
4. ONE BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH:
I have been known to snort helplessly with laughter, usually in an inappropriate place, with quite a few books. Bill Bryson comes to mind as a culprit.
However, I’ll nominate Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, because I only laughed once, but it was in sheer pleasure. It was near the end, when Pi was nearing the American coast and I was wondering how on earth a plausible conclusion could be reached – and then, in one bound, it did. It made sense, in a nonsensical way, of the whole book and was clever and enjoyable.
You either get this book or you don’t, I suspect.
5. ONE BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY:
I don’t really appreciate manipulatively weepy books or films and a tearjerker, even if it works, can be quite annoying. But, like Gordon, I will say The Time-Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I don’t even know if it was really that moving (except in a fourth dimensionally sort of way) or well written, because it gripped me so much that I lost my critical senses, but I cried an awful lot.
6. ONE BOOK THAT YOU WISH YOU HAD WRITTEN:
Anything by Jane Austen. I have to choose? Persuasion.
7. ONE BOOK YOU WISH HAD NEVER BEEN WRITTEN:
Oh goodness, if I read a book that was as unpleasant as that, I would have tried to forget it as quickly as possible.
I will say the Reader’s Digest Book of Look Up Your Symptoms And Diagnose Your Own Illness (whatever it was actually called), because it worried my mother a great deal, but she couldn’t resist reading it. I really wanted to burn that book.
8. ONE BOOK THAT YOU ARE READING AT THE MOMENT:
Will and Me – how Shakespeare took over my life, by Dominic Dromgoole. Ro gave it to me for my birthday. I saved it for a week to enhance the pleasure of starting it (and, too, I was reading another birthday book, slowly and with great pleasure), so I’ve only just begun.
9. ONE BOOK THAT YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ:
I haven’t read War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, for years and it’s a book I love and I am intending to reread soon. I have lost my copy though and have to buy a new one.
This probably, however, means a book I haven’t read yet. And not one of those classic ‘should have read but will I ever?’ So, in that case, John Peel’s autobiography, Margrave of the Marshes. Wonderful John Peel; I and all my children, all three decades of us, were devastated when he died. “Well” said Ro gloomily, “I don’t suppose I’ll ever have a reason to listen to Radio 1 again.” I would have read the book already, but two of the kids own it and I was thinking they might lend……no, no, you’re right, I should buy my own copy.
10. FIVE OTHERS THAT YOU’D LIKE TO DO THIS:
Oh, this is the hardest, I think. I hate to ask, it seems an imposition. But there we go, treat it as an invitation and you are welcome to say no.
How do we know – because she tagged me and we feel a friendly closeness, although we haven’t met.
Life of a Banana – because I guessed hairdresser, when some people were prepared to be shocked – or said they were.
Geena – because she is a darling, although she might not have time for this and so mustn’t think I’ll mind if she says no.
Diamond Weeza – because I’m the only person who comments on her blog and I can’t think why, unless it’s that she doesn’t update often enough.
And Al B., a pal who lurks daily and hasn’t a blog as far as I know. I offered him, a long time ago, a guest slot – this is it, honey. Email me and I’ll post the answers.