Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Hedgehog just asked me, "Mama, what's your favorite story?" "You mean favorite book?" I clarified. "Well, yes, I guess so," she said. But I like the way she put it. Favorite story. We discussed it together, and she absolutely couldn't come up with a single, or even five, favorites. Just couldn't narrow it down.
Here are my five, all pretension aside, the books that honestly mean the most to me in the world. I can tell you, it wasn't easy:
1. "These Happy Golden Years" by Laura Ingalls Wilder
2. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" by J.K. Rowling
3. "The Weather in the Streets" by Rosamond Lehmann
4. "Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh
5. "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson
Here are Sgt. Pepper's five:
1. "Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein
2. "Three Men in a Boat" by Jerome K. Jerome
3. "A Thurber Carnival" by James Thurber
4. "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco
5. "Peter Simple" by Frederick Marryat
He insisted that Lord of the Rings is one book. And he would have included all of Patrick O'Brian, but I told him he would have to pick just one book from the series, and he refused on principle.
I think our book choices really tell something about who we are, me and the Sarge. We both like fantasy and magic, the hopeful idea that there are other worlds beyond and around ours. We both love a good love story (what's Lord of the Rings if not a love story? And "These Happy Golden Years" is I believe the most beautiful romance ever told). Then our tastes diverge a bit--Sarge loves best laugh-out-loud funny, and I go for a gloomier sort of diversion...but now, we share a choice of favorite short story: "The Dead" by James Joyce. However, we each have a completely different interpretation of it, and have argued at length about which is the correct reading...
Well, what are your favorite books?