I have not done any inane surveys or picture lists in a long time. (Not that my posts haven’t been inane though…)
I saw a “Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt” on BluChickNinja’s blog though, and that looked like it might be fun. Or at least appeal to my constant desire to categorise and make lists.
So here are the results of my search, as provided by my personal library.
2. A classic.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I would have never read this book if I had not had a friend in high school who could not contain his love of Victorian writing…but it is one of my favourite books. Rex will never know how indebted I am.
3. Something not a book.
This is Sover. For a while, when we were teens, I had a group of online friends who decided to start collecting rubber ducks. Colin’s first duck was named Walco. Melody’s was named Turkle, and mine was Sover. I forget about Walco’s name, but Turkle came about because of some ridiculous story we’d made up about a turkey that sparkled…and Sover? Because we used to key in *falls over* as a response to each other’s more ridiculous statements. And Melody kept typing it as *fall sover*. And Sover became a name. For my duck that I still have and think about these things when I look at her, despite the knowing that Colin and Melody probably no longer remember or have their ducks.
4. Oldest book.
I opted for the physically oldest book in my collection, rather than the “oldest story”. So we have The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This copy was printed sometime in the mid nineties, according to the publisher’s info. My mother said she would only buy this book for me if I read it more than once. And so I have. I feel compelled to keep it for that reason. And to continually berate myself because, as an adult, I have become so affected by nostalgia that I weep when I read it. But. Still. Talking rats and moles.
5. Book with a girl on the cover.
The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender. One of the many holocaust books for young people that has somehow managed to follow me through two moves and several years…but that I don’t actually remember deciding to keep…I recall very little about this particular one, so I find it odd that it is still here when several that I remember much better are lost. But that kind of thing happens when one moves, I guess.
7. Book with an animal in it.
Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams. After Watership Down, this is probably one of the best books I have ever read about animals having their own funny little cultures within the all-encompassing world of Humanity. And mutants. And monsters. Cat monsters. Which are terrifying.
8. Book with a male protagonist.
All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Remarque. Easy. This is the last book I read. The same weeping as The Wind in The Willows. Naturally. (I still want to kick my high school aged self for being so stupid as to think the protagonist was American…)
9. Book with a female protagonist.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Not my favourite from this author, but I had to replace an item in the hunt…it asked for a book with a key on it, and I haven’t one…but I thought it was silly to ask for a book with a male protagonist, but not a female one. Problem solved. (The New York Times is wrong, btw. This is not one of the most frightening books ever written.)
10. Book with only words on the cover.
The Seagull Reader: Stories, edited by Joseph Kelly. I was rather put off by this book when it was part of our assigned reading in my college freshman English class…book offers an introduction titled “what is a story?”. Wtf. If I cannot answer that…then what am I doing in college? The stories included are alright though.
11. Book containing illustrations.
My complete collection of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytales. Which are morbid and depressing and upsetting in every way. If I have a child someday, this book is the one I will have to comb most carefully when I am looking for stories that are actually appropriate to read before bed.
14. Book from an author with a common name.
Some out-of-print poetry from Clark Ashton Smith. And to the list of reasons I want to kick myself sometimes…the finding that I get very taken with certain authors’ work…only to discover that their books are difficult to find…ugh.
15. Book cover with a closeup of something.
Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti. I don’t usually get that attached to short stories, but I love this book. This is some of the most pleasingly terrifying writing I have encountered.
16. Your book from the earliest time period.
This is hard to judge, as there is no way–without a lifetime of research–to be certain which myths are the “oldest”. And I do enjoy my myths…particularly the Norse myths, which I have in translations of the Poetic and Prose Eddas…yay for multi-legged horses and all of that. The assortment of Celtic myths I have is less familiar to me, but I liked them…Otherland and kelpies and whatnot from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, The Isle of Man, Cornwall, etc…aside from the Irish ones, they’re a bit more like folk tales than myths, but still enjoyable. The Kalevala–Finnish myths–were weird. Not sure if I like the Finnish brand of weird, either. It’s hard to tell who is dead because they keep coming back to life. Oh, and Jesus got added into a story when Christianity began displacing the native Finnish religions…but he got added as a creepy talking baby with a whore mother. Yeah.
20. Non YA book.
The Double Life is Twice as Good by Jonathan Ames. Because this is a book of essays and fictions…but not all of it is fiction. And almost all of it is incredibly inappropriate…definitely not YA.
21. Your longest book.
Oh look. A Norton anthology of everything that happened after the Victorian Era. I keep this because I figure I will read it someday and make a few more patches on my vague knowledge of anything that has happened in the last 100 years. This many pages had better have something useful in it.