because, books

A Young Girl Reading, c. 1776, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
A Young Girl Reading, c. 1776, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Beware of the person of one book.  –Thomas Aquinas

I fell in love with Jane because she was dressed for the first day of second grade in a blue and white sailor dress like a girl from one of my books. I remember a hat and gloves to boot, but I don’t quite trust that memory because I’m sure as soon as I saw the sailor dress I gave her a hat and gloves in my imagination. She had a British accent: her family had lived in England and Africa and on weekends her father dressed in white trousers and sweater and played cricket in the park, which took like ten hours.

Besides Jane, I was in love with books. Lustfully, extravagantly in love. Jane’s father called me a bluestocking. He said it meant a girl who liked to read. I liked the sound of it: bluestocking. It sounded whimsical to me, old fashioned and romantic, like Jane’s sailor dress (and hat and gloves).

If you look it up, you’ll learn it was actually a somewhat derogatory term for an intellectual woman. Now, it’s possible that I was sometimes a bit of a pretentious pain when I was a kid. I’m certain I spouted lots of opinions. I wasn’t much for deferring to adults just because they were tall. This probably made me the teensiest bit obnoxious sometimes. But I’m okay with that.

Anyway, I’ll take the epithet gladly. Because, books.

Books I read because they were somebody else’s favorite:

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, Tom Spanbauer

Books I love that feature orphans:

A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren

Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

Books that made me want to wear a bonnet:

The Little House Series, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Books with the best magic:

Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers

The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkein

The Dark is Rising Series, Susan Cooper

(p.s. What is up with all the initials in this category?)

Books I’m reading because I am interested in the agent who represents them:

The Boy Kings of Texas, Domingo Martinez

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir, Elizabeth McCracken

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, Julia Pandl

Fouquet_MadonnaBooks I’m reading for other writing projects:

A History of the Breast, Marilyn Yalom

Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality, Hanne Blank

Books I want to read about authors of books I love:

Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers, Valerie Lawson

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, Harriet Reisen

Books the nuns made us read in high school:

Silas Marner, George Eliot

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Books I’ve given as gifts:

The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, Tom Spanbauer

Wild, Cheryl Strayed

A box set of the first few Sookie Stackhouse books, Charlaine Harris

Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, Matthew Sanford

A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997, Wendell Berry

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs

Books I fell in love with:Tess

The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, Tom Spanbauer

The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

Anywhere but Here, Mona Simpson

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

The Nancy Drew Mysteries, Carolyn Keene

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

photo by Shawn Rossi on flickr
photo by Shawn Rossi on flickr

The Cider House Rules, John Irving

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

The Tin Drum, Günter Grass

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

Books that I stayed up too late reading

Books that I took on trips

Books that I borrowed and never gave back

Books I read more than twice

Books recommended in the comments on my blog: (Have at it!)

bookshelfIf there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.                       –Toni Morrison

5 thoughts on “because, books

  1. Books have always been my refuge. When I was young I once read a book about a girl who would read in her closet with a flashlight, so I too started doing that. I felt like I was a million miles away. Anyway, some of the books that have really affected me as an adult: The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Books that recently transported me fully into another time: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani. Books I’ve read over and over: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, The Harry Potter series. I could do this all day…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I adore that Fouquet painting. So round!

    Your list reminds me of reading A Little Princess the same year I went away to boarding school in England at age 11 – where I too, met a Jane who’s British parents lived in various African counties and sent her to boarding school at age 6! We’re still friends and she came to visit me last year. Anyway, I was so certain that I would be relegated to a life of servitude that I devised a plan to write a secret message under the postage stamp affixed to letters I wrote home. My best friend was tasked with steaming off the stamps to learn my true state of mind and living conditions.

    I’m going to endeavor to read as much of your list as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was very resourceful of you, Lily! I always wanted to go to boarding school. Or sleep-away camp. And I read A Little Princess like fourteen times.


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