Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Book Meme

Thanks to Cacciaguida, who's been very good to us since discovering our blog a couple of weeks ago, we've been tagged to give our rundown of the Book Meme.

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned: I'd say about 450. I wish it were more, but since I'm only 21...About 150 or so of those would be juvenile literature, with the greatest chunk of that being from my Baby Sitters Club days back in the 4th grade or so, when I had about 65 of the regular books, plus another 30 of their super books, mystery books, junior books, etc. I've probably bought about 100 books for college classes, though many of those I've sold back (I need the money).

2. Last Book I Bought: When I got back to Slidell last weekend, my dad, sister and I went to Barnes and Noble that same night and I got three great books for the summer: PJP's Memory and Identity and Chesterton's Orthodoxy and Everlasting Man. I started M&I a few days ago and hope to get to Chesterton soon.

3. Last Book I Read: Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. It was assigned reading for my Holocaust history class this semester, but I encourage everyone to pick this book up. It's pretty small - only about 170 pages - but is a beautiful work. It is impossible to imagine what life was like for Nazi victims in the concentration camps, but this work comes closer than anything I've ever read or seen to describing it for those of us who didn't live through it. I also recently finished PJP's Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way, which was a beautiful reflection on his life as a bishop.

4. Five Books that Mean A Lot to Me:

*Story of A Soul: St. Therese is my Confirmation patroness and this book I first read Story of a Soul in my sophomore year of high school, about 5 years ago. It taught me so much about her, and about myself. It is nothing short of extraordinary and I recall her writing in my head and heart whenever I face a spiritual question or concern.

*Jacob Have I Loved: This book, by juvenile literature queen Katherine Paterson, was my favorite book growing up; I think I read it about 6 times in 2 years. It might be a book for middle school kids, but when I was in middle school, I could relate a lot to it - the issues of sibling rivalry, of competition for attention, of children's wishes and dreams and how they relate to the reality of our lives. It is an amazing little work of fiction. It is set on a fictional island in the Chesapeake Bay and I must tell you that coming to Maryland from Louisiana, it held ac certain spell over me. Even last month, when our Catholic Daughters court was driving back to College Park from Ocean City, as we drove over the Bay Bridge, I looked out the window, out over the water and thought of this book.

*The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Actually, this isn't a book. You can find book versions of it, but I love it more told aloud as a story; namely acted out by my dad. My dad is a great connaisseur of books and stories of all sorts and when my brothers and sister and I were little, he read to us and told us stories all the time - including doing amazing voices and sound effects. This was my favorite of his stories that he did. I was always afraid of the troll (his voice for this was perfect) and every time I heard it was really nervous that the goats would be eaten. I credit my dad's love of books and stories for my love of books and stories.

*Sense and Sensibility: I love Austen. S&S is not her best story; Pride and Prejudice is. But I connect more to S&S. In high school, I connected to Colonel Brandon because Willoughby says of him what I thought people thought of me when I was in high school: "He's the kind of person everyone speaks well of, but nobody remembers to talk to." I don't see myself connecting that way to Brandon anymore, but I've shared Marianne's broken heart (which I think is the best description of one in any piece of literature I've ever read) and can now identify with Elinor in many ways.

*Les Miserables. I bought this book on Bastille Day in 2000 after taking two years of French and wanting to read great French literature (though I have an English translation of the work). I didn't actually start reading it until July of last year, lying on the beach in Cape May, New Jersey with my then-boyfriend. I finished the 1,400-page epic in January of this year, lying on my bed at home in Slidell, no longer with my boyfriend and a very different, more mature person. The story is wonderful and Hugo does an amazing job of keeping your attention the entire book with captivating prose. But the real reason this means a lot to me is everything that happened in my life between reading the book's first sentence and reading its last.

5. Tag 5 People to Have Them Do This: I think most Catholic bloggers have already done this, so I'll tap most of my fellow Catholic Student Center bloggers: the men of Catholicae Testudines, Mike of the Easy Distraction and Joey of Beneath Wayne Manor. Hopefully my fellow CGTers will post some of their favorite books, etc. too.