Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Four books

Late again - the story of my life. Or early, I suppose I could be early, depending on your point of view.

I've been tagged by Françoise of Des infos sur les femmes en France et dans le monde, in French, but the answers inevitably will be mainly in English because it's all about books.

Les 4 livres de mon enfance
Four childhood books

Difficult one. I used to read avidly, everything that had writing on it, but ones that I remember are:

  • The Tale of Two Bad Mice - Beatrix Potter - and many others of her stories. I also enjoyed them again when reading to my sons.

  • The Kon-Tiki Expedition - Thor Heyerdal. I thought this was the most exciting thing ever.

  • The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett. I wrote a whole post about it here.

  • Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome. Another exciting book. I suspect this would seem terribly dated now.

And I won't go into all the many Enid Blyton books.... I know they aren't considered good books but I don't believe they do any harm. I'm a firm believer in any reading being good reading.

Les 4 écrivains que je lirai et relirai encore
Four authors I will read again and again

  • Jon McGregor. Since I read If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, I have vowed to follow him to the ends of the earth :) Whether or not he wants me there remains to be seen.
  • Kazuo Ishiguro. Something like the Jonathan McGregor experience after Never Let Me Go.
  • Fred Vargas. I enjoy the French atmosphere and the stories are good page turners.
  • Ruth Rendell. Excellent psychological thrillers, often set in London. I went to a meeting where she was talking about the history of the crime novel and was fascinated, slightly to my surprise.

Les 4 auteurs que je ne lirai plus jamais
Four authors I will never read again

I do wonder how fair it is to make a judgement not to read an author again after only one book, but I frequently do.

  • Victoria Hislop. You can read my reasons here.
  • Katherine Neville. I read The Eight and found it, hmm, not good. It just did not engage my attention at all. I didn't finish it - that never happens!
  • Douglas Kennedy. My impression was formed after reading "State of the Union". In one review I wrote I said, "I would particularly like to give Dan and Jeff each a good slap!" I have no idea why but I did decide not to read his books again.
  • Nicholas Sparks. I read Message in a Bottle and thought it was much too far-fetched. I read The Notebook and thought that poor. So he got two readings, but now he's off the list.

Les 4 premiers livres de ma liste à lire
The first four books on my to-be-read list

  • The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell. Janeway told me it had influenced her. I read a review that said "This is a book about apartheid, about the cruelty of politics and about redemption. There are shades of Nadine Gordimer in The Sparrow, shades of Isaac Singer, but the book this reminds me of most is Jill Paton Walsh's novel Knowledge of Angels, a historical novel that wasn't." Hooked.

  • On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan. I've had this waiting a while now.

  • Amélie Nothomb - Mercure.

  • John Banville - The Sea.

Les 4 livres que j'emporterai sur une île déserte
The four books I would take to a desert island

  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Are several volumes allowed? I find I am increasingly enjoying Shakespeare now that I have finally got over the damage done at school when I was force fed so much of it (sorry Mrs Heyworth).

  • Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen. Studied for my last English exam but unlike the Shakespeare experience, I loved it.

  • The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver. A substantial book which I very much enjoyed and which I intend to re-read.

  • Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert. In French, because I should.

Les dernières lignes d'un de mes livres préférés
The last lines of one of my favourite books.

This is tricky because I tend to give away my books once read, but I do have a copy of The Poisonwood Bible:

"Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember. Think of the vine that curls from the small square plot that used to be my heart. That is the only marker you need. Move on. Walk forward into the night."

In turn then, and really only if you feel like doing it, I tag Tanabata of In Spring it is the Dawn, Elaine of Old Age is a Bitch, YTSL of Webs of Significance, Pablo of La solitude du coureur, là au fond. I will not be in the least offended if you don't.


  1. What a great meme - really interesting and a great way to know a blog friend even better!

    As a Norwegian, I do follow you on Thor Heyerdal of course :-)

  2. Thanks Renny. Do join in if you feel like it!

  3. cool blog!! check out

  4. okay, after some thought I shall be delighted to join in.

  5. Hi a. --

    Really enjoyed reading your post and am so honoured that you decided to tag me for this meme. Will get to doing it soon -- hopefully this weekend or sometime next week, after I get past this upcoming printing deadline at work! :)

    P.S. I read lots of Enid Blyton books and enjoyed them too -- as you will be able to gather from a previous blog post I wrote about her. :)

  6. So, I can't have so many opinions on books, since I haven't read so many of them and if, it was a very long time ago. I've switched reading for blogging :-)

    BTW: do you care to share your scare instead?

  7. What an interesting meme! It requires a lot of thinking, at least it would mean that to me.
    Nice links to French blogs...I go to a small class in my community and should practice more :)
    About tiramisu: whenever I make it, I skip the raw egg white, it still tastes delicious and there is no risk (I think this is what you mean. My friend had too many of her family members in the hospital once...)

  8. Elaine, I look forward to reading it! I hope you are keeping well.

    YTSL, no rush at all, I'm glad you'd like to join in.

    Captain L, I'm afraid books are as much an addiction for me as blogging is, and photography is starting to become one too. I'm so sorry I have no scary stories.

    mar, it did require some thought, but very enjoyable. Thanks for the tip for making tiramisu!

  9. yes, really a great meme! We haven't the same authors perhaps Blyton!!! I adored "Le nom de la Rose" by Umberto Ecco! I red it three times. The life of Victor Hugo by Max Gallo, I love Sartre and Simone and, and ,and!!!
    Yes, you can eat le flan de patate douce like a gratin dauphinois with salt food! I didn't find it was too sweet. I adore sweet potatoes in the couscous!

  10. Claudie, interesting that you enjoyed Umberto Eco so much because I tried Foucault's Pendulum and struggled with it. I keep meaning to try again. Please do let me know if you do the mem yourself - I'd love to see it.

  11. Hi a. --

    Just in case you haven't realized yet, have responded to your meme tag over at my blog. :)


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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