Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Brief Break on Blogs and Books

I'm taking a brief break from writing about my road-trip. I'll be back with new posts to wrap things up soon; I think giving the trip time to digest might provide me with some much-needed perspective. I need to chew the emotions over before fully swallowing the trip's impact on me.

I'm vivacemusica, and I'm a blog-addict. I define that not as someone who obsessively posts entries, but someone who is addicted to a strange psychic voyeurism by tracking certain strangers' blogs. There is a blog of an aspiring writer in New York that I'm drawn to because the blogger is so much like I am. She is how I imagine myself to be if I were living in New York and pursuing my dream of being a writer. Then, there is a literature professor in England, whose blog provides much intellectual stimulation about – what else – literature, my premiere passion.

I stumbled upon a meme on books on one of the blogs, and it provided much food for thought that I thought I would take a stab at it:

  • One book that changed your life: The blanket response is that all books have that potential to change my life if I'd only let them. Or that no book could really change my life, but could only confirm what I already know. (I'm only looking at fiction here, in that I constantly find myself reflected in the characters about whom I read.) I had convinced myself long time ago that I should have neither a favourite author nor a favourite book; that way, I would give each new reading experience a fair chance instead of always comparing it to some pinnacle that might be unrealistic and illusory. So, instead of picking one book that changed my life, I can think of a couple: The first is probably Little Women, my first favourite book (before I had done away with favourites). I suppose that, like a lot of little girls who fell in love with the book, I had wanted to be like Jo, and it was the start of my dream to be a writer. I have three editions of the novel, and would pore over the pages, even going the length of memorizing “In the Garret,” a poem that Jo had written. To this day, I can still recite the six stanzas word for word. The latest book to “change my life” is Selvadurai's Funny Boy. It's a simple story about growing up, about ideals clashing with cultures. I had read it during a time when I really needed the wisdom it provided.
  • One book that you've read more than once: One book!? How about if I list some of the books of which I have multiple copies, all of which I've read multiple times: Little Women (of course!), Peter Pan and Wendy, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, Crime and Punishment. And, here are a couple that I have only one copy of, but which I've read quite a few times: Oscar and Lucinda, Brideshead Revisited.
  • One book you'd want on a desert island: This is a hard one. And I suppose it wouldn't be fair to go reeling off a list for this one. Let's see now.... probably a massive book of poetry, one that encompasses my favourites (yes, I have favourite poets): Plath, Roethke, Rilke, Cummings, Eliot.
  • One book that made you laugh: This one is easy – Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. To this day, I don't think I've read a book through which I laughed so heartily.
  • One book that made you cry: I think the first book to make me cry was Jean Little's Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird, about a couple of children dealing with the death of their father. It was the first book to have moved me so utterly, the first to have made me realize the power of words. The last book to make me cry is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's the book that made me see how heartbreaking innocence is, in this world that seems to do everything to taint that innocence.
  • One book that you wish had been written: Perhaps the most interesting question of the bunch. There are many equally true and valid responses to this one. One is the book that is in my heart, the one that I wish I had written. I've been mulling over a concept in my mind for a long time now. I have the two principal characters growing in my mind, sometimes speaking to me in my sleep, or at the oddest times, but I'm afraid they're only at the fetal stage, and I'm afraid that they'll grow up to be my clones and have no voices of their own.
  • One book that you wish had never been written: The easiest question to answer, because it's an emphatic none. All books are signs of creativity, effort, and life. Even those that preach concepts with which I disagree are written by people who deserve to be listened to, considered, and perhaps argued with.
  • One book that you're currently reading: I'm currently reading a couple of books, since I always have a few on the go. Unfortunately, I've left them all in Inuvik, so I won't count them. I'll make a trip to the library tomorrow.
  • One book that you've been meaning to read: Although I studied English Literature at university, I have yet to read many of the classics; however, I admit that I have little desire to pick most of them up, just to say that I've read them and to give some semblance of credibility to my literature degree. Here are some of the books on my current “to be read” list: Cunningham's Specimen Days, Eugenides's Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides, Ali's Brick Lane. I have quite a few more on my list, but again, that list is tucked away somewhere in my house in Inuvik, and my brain has switched off from having the past month off.

Memes are one of my favourite parts of blogging. They link others' consciousness with mine, and although we're all distinct, we kind of meld together into one cyber-being through thought-sharing.

1 comment:

  1. What exactly are memes? I've been trying to figure that out. And you mean you track blogs the way i track yours? Of course, you're not a stranger, but that doesn't necessarily make me feel less voyeuristic.