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What books are you most glad to have read?

What books are you most glad to have in your mind as objects, if that's how you have books-- to revolve and contemplate --

or as nodes in your web of thought, if that's how you have them -- for their connections to other books or for their illumination of you know Life or science or art --

or as blotches of blurry colour, if that's how you have them -- for the pleasure or surprise or wonder they gave you?

What books would you most wish never to forget? Which have lodged in your spine and made it stronger? The really key keys to your mythologies. The non-negotiables.

I wish to plan my reading better this year, but while I have perhaps two hundred unread books lying about desperate to be taken up, I have limited time and there's a snowy blank where the urge towards the next book might usually be found. (And a snowy blank all 'round.)

So -- off the top of your head -- through old habits of mind or new revelations or sheer perversity -- what would you most not want not to have read?

Sans advice, I will finish Howards End and Party Going and probably go on to Red Shift, since that's what Backlisted recently covered (in n extraoooordinary [DING DING DING] episode, found here.

Cheers for any thoughts at all you care to share.


Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/3006.html), where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comments either place are great.

Date: 2017-02-09 12:54 pm (UTC)
ext_189645: (George Smiley)
From: [identity profile] bunn.livejournal.com
I think these things are probably quite dependent on what stage of life you read them in, aren't they?

Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy, the Left Hand of Darkness, and Lord of the Rings would all definitely fall into 'shaped my world, can't imagine living without them' territory, but I first read them as a child, and it's hard to imagine how it would feel to come to them as a new reader now.

Books that changed how I thought about things that I've read more recently, hmmm. Cory Doctorow's 'Little Brother' comes to mind, and perhaps also John le Carré 'Our Game'.

(Also: hello! I saw you'd added me and thought you looked interesting so added you back :-D )

Date: 2017-02-09 12:57 pm (UTC)
ext_189645: (upside down)
From: [identity profile] bunn.livejournal.com
... Actually, I thought after that of some books that I would prioritise as 'must read' simply because I thought they were so interesting and involving : Gillian Bradshaw's historical novels, particularly 'Island of Ghosts' and 'Cleopatra's Heir'.

Again, though, I think I loved those as an adult at least partly because of the early shaping of my brain by Rosemary Sutcliff...

Rosemary Sutcliff!

Date: 2017-02-10 02:58 am (UTC)
radiantfracture: (Default)
From: [personal profile] radiantfracture
Do you think only having read The Eagle of the Ninth long ago, and then recently buying a copy of Dawn Wind because it had the Charles Keeping illustrations in it, would qualify?

Re: Rosemary Sutcliff!

Date: 2017-02-10 09:56 am (UTC)
ext_189645: (Sunset hounds)
From: [identity profile] bunn.livejournal.com
I think Bradshaw's works stand up on their own too, but if you have an Eagle-flavoured element to your mind, it will probably help you enjoy them more...

Dawn Wind! I find that one particularly interesting because when I first read it as a child it wasn't a favorite: I found it perhaps a little dull, and the idea that Owain never really gets to do what he wants, and there isn't much emphasis on adventures and fighting, made me re-read it less (I still re-read, because there was such a lack of books in those days! But it wasn't like Frontier Wolf, which I re-read until it fell apart.)

But re-reading them 30+ years later as an adult, the combination of responsibilities and having to take decisions that aren't particularly fun or glamorous that you get in Dawn Wind really spoke to me, and I now think it one of my favorite Sutcliffs. I vaguely want to write more fic for Dawn Wind, though it's kind of a confusing historical period to write in.

Date: 2017-02-10 02:54 am (UTC)
radiantfracture: (Default)
From: [personal profile] radiantfracture
It's a good point.

It's true that some of the books I've loved don't hold their shape when I return to them. My touchstone for that is J.D. Salinger. Or I guess my untouchstone.

(Then, if you lose the real book, only the memory-object remains, and you have to be careful or the memory-book gets damaged by association with its lapsed source.)

This whole interrogation about what to read next comes of a dubious kind of accounting I'm doing (partly the fault of GoodReads).

I want to get to the end of this year and look back at my reading and think: yes, that was worth my time. I'm glad those are in my brain now, or at least on my list.

I think I'm still malleable enough to take an imprint, if the press is strong enough. I hope so, anyway.


p.s. Thanks for the add, and especially for your thoughts!
Edited Date: 2017-02-10 03:10 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-02-10 09:59 am (UTC)
ext_189645: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bunn.livejournal.com
I've never read Catcher in the Rye, and I wonder now if I've missed the boat on that one, if it's a book best read in childhood / early adulthood...

It's a commendable ambition to have a year of books that were worth the effort!

I know what you mean about books that weren't the same shape when you come back to them, though it's great if it happens and the book is actually better: see other comment re: Dawn Wind...


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