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28 September 2014 @ 01:57 am
Ten Books meme  
I saw this on byslantedlight's journal and thought I'd give it a go - Rules: List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

Most of mine are books that I read years and years ago, including a couple of non-fiction books that really made an impression. And all but one of them I own. So here, in no particular order:

1. Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs. My first class teacher read this out to us in instalments; it took years before I could walk past a banksia tree without shuddering and looking over my shoulder in fear of the Big Bad Banksia men.
banksia_man


2. Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien. This was my comfort book when I was stranded at boarding school. I used to climb up into the oak tree outside my dormitory and spend hours up there reading this. And re-reading. I wished I could find a way to Middle Earth.

3. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. I loved it for the good look at Indian culture as well as for the interesting story.

4. The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart, which awakened my interest in Arthurian legend. I was reading this at the same time that Arthur of the Britons was airing on afternoon tv, making it even more compelling to read.

5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I was the only person in my class to hand in a positive essay / review of this book in third form. The only one. I loved it to bits and couldn't understand why no-one else in the class did. And then ten years later, watching The Wrath of Khan, and recognising the quotes - that was something special.

6. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibson. Because seriously, that is as much fun as you can have between the covers of a book.

7. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. Read this in my late teens and it was like a light bulb going off above my head. The first book that really made me question the status quo, and question the way society seemed to operate. Probably time for a re-read.

8. The Australian Ugliness by Robin Boyd. Boyd is a very famous (in Australia) architect, on par with Harry Seidler, and his book critiquing the urban landscape that I grew up in really made me sit up and pay attention. Originally borrowed from the library to read; it made such an impression that years later I hunted down a copy on ebay.

9. The Story of Heather by May Wynny. Way before I read Black Beauty, or the Silver Brumby books. Heather was a pit pony, and this book was responsible for an enduring love of horses. My copy has an inscription in the front, given to my mother on her 14th birthday by her loving parents in 1952. That's really special to me by itself.

10. Pennington's Seventeenth Summer by K M Peyton. Your misunderstood, under-appreciated, frustrated-by-rules-and-boundaries teenage angst story which really struck a chord when I read it, aged 14. It's not high art, not even particularly good literature, but the eponymous character resonated with me in a way that few others ever did.

So that's my ten.
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byslantedlight: Bookshelf colour (grey853).byslantedlight on September 27th, 2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie was a book I didn't read as a child - for some reason it never appealed (like The Waterbabies, which must have been nearby on the shelf, cos I think of them together!

I like the rest of your selection - and how could I have missed Tolkein from my list! I guess he was just too well-of-course... *g* And The Crystal Cave! I almost added that to my list, but I didn't have nearly enough spaces and went for Mists of Avalon instead. I recognise Pennington's Seventeenth Summer too, though I don't remember it at all...

Yeay book lists - happy nostalgia! *g*
miwahni: Cats Literary Catmiwahni on September 29th, 2014 10:44 am (UTC)
I didn't choose to read Snugglepot and Cuddlepie but our teacher thought it was a good thing. Funny, I was thinking about adding The Water Babies to the list, simply because to this day it gives me an uneasy feeling, but I can't pinpoint why exactly so I left it off.

Thanks for sharing your meme, it was fun.
byslantedlight: Bookshelf colour (grey853).byslantedlight on September 29th, 2014 10:47 am (UTC)
Yes! The Water Babies makes me uneasy too - which is a strong feeling, but it meant I never read it properly! Whenever I glanced at it I didn't want to read it...
miwahnimiwahni on September 29th, 2014 10:53 am (UTC)
Isn't that weird... nice to know I'm in good company anyway.
And I've been meaning to ask - is your icon a picture of your bookshelves?
byslantedlight: Bookshelf colour (grey853).byslantedlight on September 29th, 2014 11:00 am (UTC)
I always thought it was just me, too!

And I wish! *g*
a honeyed wine at night: Nude Doyle artworkmoonlightmead on September 29th, 2014 09:41 am (UTC)
Oh wow, what different tastes we have! I was like the rest of your class and did not enjoy Tale of Two Cities. Luckily, it was not a school read and I quietly put it down. I try again periodically, and never manage it.

I'm not a great Dickens fan generally, although I love Wilkie Collins, who wrote in the same city for the same audiences and in the same format (magazine instalments) at the same time with the same agenda. Baffling!

KM Peyton did Flambards, didn't she? Didn't get on with that, either!

I know I have read The Crystal Cave as a teenager, but I don't remember it properly. LotR, mind, I read that far too young, and boy, did that one stick with me!

Thanks for posting your books!
miwahnimiwahni on September 29th, 2014 10:50 am (UTC)
I really hadn't heard of Wilkie Collins; I can see some googling in my future. I went through a period of devouring everything of Dickens' that I could get my hands on but looking back I think it is the period he wrote about that captured my imagination, more than the prose.

The name Flambards didn't ring a bell but as soon as I googled it, it appeared familiar. I must have read those at around the same time but obviously they didn't make as much of an impression as longhaired lout, piano player and authority-hater Pennington. and this is where I admit that I might actually have nicked this book from the library, and it still has its library card in the back, unstamped, because I happened to be the first person to get my hands on it while helping out in the library at recess and lunchtime. It didn't even make it onto the shelves.
a honeyed wine at night: slow loris meadmoonlightmead on September 29th, 2014 11:03 am (UTC)
Ah, The Moonstone and The Woman in White are his most well-known works, but I have also enjoyed Armadale (despite multiple characters sharing the same name or similar ones, a big turn-off for me) and I really want to read No Name. I do recommend him.

Pennington sounds much more interesting that Christina the fox-hunting heroine and her triangle with her two cousins: I didn't like either of those two, nor their favourite pastimes (one, hunting, the other aviation). Longhaired louts, though, much more fun!

Hee, bad girl. But then, it was read and loved and look at the impression it made on you!
miwahnimiwahni on September 30th, 2014 11:32 am (UTC)
Thanks - noted, added to the wishlist. I wonder why that list never gets any smaller? *g*

It WAS read and loved, and re-read recently, and even now I get quite indignant on his behalf, just due to the way his teachers treat him. Of course he brings a lot of it on himself but seriously the injustice of a lot of it just got under my skin. /rant.