Monday, December 28, 2015

My Beloved Books

I recently participated in a swap on Swap-bot to decorate my partners' profiles with pictures of the covers of some of my favorite books. These are scans of my personal books. They are my three most beloved books.

This was a gift around 1986. I fell in love with it - and Anne - in the first reading. My younger daughter's middle name is Anne, after Anne Shirley.

This was required reading in high school in the early 1990s. The book was used when I acquired it, and the cover is no longer attached to the book. I really related to the main character and enjoyed the book. Our teacher told us to reread it when we turned 30, so I wrote a note to myself inside the cover. I reread it at 31 and found that I related to it on a whole different level and still thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan on rereading it at 40 and every subsequent 10 years.

I discovered this book in high school while working in the school library in the early 1990s. I spent a weekend engrossed in the world and stories in its 876 pages. A few years ago, I learned that the very book I read twice and loved was still in my old high school library and the librarian (the same one I worked for as a student) very graciously sold the book to me. Sadly, a paperback cover has been copiously taped to the front and back of the beautiful hardcover, presumably after it sustained damage. I haven't been brave enough to try to remove it for fear of further damaging the book.

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Tom King said...

I've read two of them. I loved "Anne", which is not something he-man types usually like to admit, but the decent, well-intentioned passionate heroine and the crowd of lovely people who take her in and give her wings to soar through their love and support is like a little trip to heaven for me. My kids used to watch the entire series with me sometimes on a rainy weekend - something like 8 or 10 hours of video, popcorn and snacks.

I also read "The Mists of Avalon" because the Arthur legend appeals to me. King Arthur was my male role model as a teenager as my Dad wasn't around and my Step-Dad wasn't a strong male role model either. Mists is pretty much the Arthurian Legend as told by the pagans who were being replaced by the Christians. Bradley spent a lot of time with druidic witches in preparing the manuscript and obviously sympathizes with them (there were stories that she practiced witchcraft herself). It's a stunningly frank portrayal of Old Britain's barbarous religious practices. The priestesses of Avalon were quite revealing, even as Bradley tried to present them sympathetically. It was definitely a matriarchal cult as Bradley presented it, revealed at its cruelest in the fate of Merlin.

My favorite telling of the Arthurian legend has to be T.H. White's often tongue-in-cheek "The Once and Future King" which has been the subject of a Disney Movie (The Sword in the Stone) and a movie musical (Camelot) based on the play "Camelot" in which I got to play Merlin in a community theater production back in Cleburne, Texas. I tried hard for Arthur, but with community theater, the lead roles always belong to the inner circle. Still I enjoyed doing Merlin and gave him a broad Scots accent as he was Old British in the books.

Haven't read "A Separate Peace". I'll have to check it out.

My favorite fiction titles includes Anne and The Once and Future King, and also CS Forrester's "Hornblower" series and Orson Scott Card's "Ender" series. Poul Anderson is one of my favorite sci-fi authors, particular his "Nicholas Van Rinjh/Polysotechnic League series. CS Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" series is way at the top of my list along with Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". Two that I love largely because they inadvertently make the case of the Christian view in spite of themselves, are Carl Sagan's "Contact" and JK Rowling's "Harry Potter" series which is just jammed full of Christian principles in spite of the sorcery theme.

Nice blog. I hadn't seen it before. If you've got a "follow" button, I'll be sure and click on it.

Tom King

Crystal Arcand said...

Wonderful insight, Tom! I, too, enjoyed the fresh perspective in Mists.
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