Another meme! This one from Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Gee, I guess I’m starting to get popular! (Just to say, the following answers are based on me now. A year ago or a few months from now, they’d probably be very different.)
What are your 5 most important books?
Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire
I haven’t read this one recently, but it and its author are in my canon of brilliant artists. Just one of the most wonderful, remarkable, witty, clever, and stunning books I’ve ever read.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
This blog is named after Alice, it was my favorite book as a child, and it is still one of my favorites. I’ve been doing a cool unit on the book with my fourth graders for many years and so get to read it aloud yearly. I’m doing so now and again am struck by the man’s wit, cleverness, and dexterity with words. This book truly never gets old for me.
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
I was going to stick to dead authors, but this really had to be in here. I’ve read the series several times and recently listened to the full-cast audio version with the author himself as narrator. Every rereading is magical — this is really one extraordinary trilogy.
E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web
This is not my favorite book personally; in fact, I would have blanched at the idea of including it here a few decades ago. But I’ve been converted to extreme admiration of it over the years. I teach it yearly and every time I admire all the more White’s elegant sentences. This is truly the great American children’s novel.
Something by Charles Dickens (as I’ve been revisiting his works for the last year via audible books and each one impresses me more than the next). Maybe A Tale of Two Cities as I was completely blown away by it, sobbing at the end. I’ve read many of the well-known works more than once, but this was one I’d avoided till now. The way the man handles historical fiction — those of us interested in this genre can definitely learn a lot from this master writer.
What is an important book you admit you haven’t read?
Anything by Faulkner. Always read about him and figure I need to one day.
What classic (or childhood favorite) was a little disappointing on rereading?
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I adored this book when young and even did a series of illustrations for it (as I was an aspiring illustrator then). Felt very dated upon rereading.
What book do you (or did you) care most about sharing with your kids?
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, natch.
Name an acclaimed book, either classic or contemporary, that you just don’t like.
I’ll stay away from children’s books here. Soppy classics are too-easy targets and as for contemporary books, I don’t want to get in trouble with any living authors in this small world. So here’s a dead author’s book I’ve tried and given up on for the time being —- George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I know, I know… it is remarkable. But I tried to listen to it and couldn’t stay with it. No doubt it is something that needs to be read and so I shall try it again some day, I promise.