Friday, 28 September 2007

Bookish Tag from JJ

Total number of books...

Oh Dear. Do I really care to admit to this one? Before I moved to Spain I sold around 2,000 books and took around 200 with me. In Spain I acquired more and refused to part with them (they were mostly replacements from the second-hand English Bookshop in Torremolinos!). Looking around the office and not counting the four fully laden bookcases around the house, there’s about 2,500 here now.

They are reasonably organised into categories:

Literary Criticism/Philosophy
Big Books with Gorgeous Photos with titles like Earth
Layman’s Science books on Chaos Theory, Space, Physics etc.
Primary Teaching Text books and Materials in 15 subjects!
Atlases and Maps/Geography
Auto/biographical Non-Fiction
Creative Writing handbooks and teaching materials
Language Dictionaries (I think I must collect these)
Children’s Literature
Grammar and Phonetics text books
Religious Philosophy
Arts & Crafts/Woodwork/Gardening/Origami

Plus every copy of Mslexia and over 10 years’ worth of Writing Magazine, various climbing magazines (in French for some strange reason), and now *hangs head in shame* Horse & Rider and Your Horse

Last book read... (finished?)

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. I loved this novel in broken English that takes a look at cultural differences and language).

But currently reading Horseshoes and Holy Water by Mefo Phillips (two mad sisters travel from England to Spain on their horses), The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabelle Allende (and Cuentos de Eva Luna alongside it). And will be reading 12 children’s novels and Il Pentamorene which you can find at Sur la Lune.

Last book bought...

...naughty girl here bought 4 in one hit. Last purchase was made in a bookstore in Malaga (in the libreria). I got;

Déjame ue te cuente by Jorge Bucay – a novel – “The stories that taught me to live” (Los cuentos que me enseñaron a vivir).

Teoria del Majaron by Alfonso Vazquez – a look at the lifestyle and traditions of Malagueñan life from the perspective of the Majaron

Diccionario Del Habla Malagueña documentado por Enrique Del Pino – a dialect dictionary Spanish-Malaga

Los cuentos de Eva Lune by Isabelle Allende – as an exercise to see if it’s any different reading her in her own language and not in translation. Have feeling I will need more than a Malagueñan dictionary for this one!

5 Meaningful books...

Oh God! It’s like Desert Island Discs. Where to begin? Which to choose and which to leave out? Only 5?!!! Okay Okay! I’m having trouble deciding what Meaningful means so am going for the first ones that spring to mind.

In no particular order…

Watership Down by Richard Adams. It was the first really thick book I ever got through. I stubbornly read it when I was 9 despite being told it would be too difficult. I loved every page of it. It was adventure, life, survival, love, spiritual, funny… And I was uprooted as a child and it made me realise it was okay to change where and how you live.

Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn. Powerful children’s novel which moved me and educated me, and made me want to move people with words in the same way. Still no idea if it is a true story or a made up one? Any info gratefully received!

The Dhammapada and The Tao de Ching have equally been influential in my life. I try hard to aspect the wisdom of these two ancient texts and have found them to be a great comfort over the past 20 years.

Dibs in Search of Self by Virginia M. Axline – a true story about a special boy who goes from being a child who refuses to speak to a well-balanced adult genius. I had a few issues growing up (don’t we all) but this book helped me to see that it was up to us to take responsibility for our own predicaments, and that it was okay to be helped by really lovely people.

J. Krishnamurti: A Biography Pupul Jayakar – what it says; a biography of Krishnamurti (not to be confused with the Hari Krishna movement!). He was an amazing individual who was highly spiritual and travelled the world giving talks. His own books are devilishly difficult and I find myself with an understanding that evaporates the moment I stop reading.

My favourite episode in the book is where Pupul, the author, is with two friends, travelling with Krishnamurti in car. They are on country, mountainous roads in India somewhere I think, and they are discussing how much their ‘awareness’ has developed. They tell Krishnamurti excitedly that they feel everything now. And then, BANG! They hit a deer in the road full on. And Krishnamurti says quietly from the passenger seat, “Ah yes, I see how much your awareness has developed!”

Books are important to me but I am coming to understand that it’s the fact that they communicate with me that makes me love them. Each one has its own voice from the dry academic to the hilarious and mischievous Bill Bryson.
They teach me, unnerve me, make me laugh, cry, shout, giggle, and sigh. Some stay with you for a life-time, others pass through once and once is enough!
Books can't replace people but when there's no one around to chat to, they are a comforting voice in my ear.


JJ said...

Ah, lovely, thanks honey. It feels so inadequate somehow, doesn't it? I'm frustrated I couldn't have written more... but your comments about "others pass through once and once is enough" is something that I felt I should've tried to put into words.

Lane said...

What a lovely post and more to add to the 'must read' list. Would be interested to hear how Eva Luna reads in Spanish.

ps Like your little Thelwell mug:))

Jen said...

It's incredibly insightful reading about the books that others have treasured for one reason or another.

Am looking forward to writing my list - sometimes the things that have gone half-forgotten spring up, vying for attention which is rather nice.

Jon M said...

Oh I've got to do this now cos of Caroline and I'm going to sound like a numbskull at least! I liked Watership Down but kind of resented the tidal wave of talking animal books that it unleashed.

hesitant scribe said...

jj - I'm always frustrated I can't read more!

lane - Eva Luna is going well. I have the English alongside it and am ever intrigued by this business of translation - especially in the context of literary fiction. I think, "that's not what it says" a lot, but then wonder what choices I would have made in order to be faithful to the text - its creativity and individuality of expression. Hmmm. p.s. I love my mug too!!!

jen - it is - and reveals a lot possibly about us?!

jon - am looking forward to reading your list! The only other animal pov books I read were The Plague Dogs, and Animal Farm and oh... *remembers one about a man in a dog's body (??) and then forgets it again*