Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Book List Sorted

Yesterday was a good day for words...4000. I am hopeful for today as well as I am now in that rush to the end. All things are hopefully in place and the characters know where they are taking me - or at least I hope so.

The book list below has highlighted some good discussion again. Jess mentioned that she had read only two on my list. I suddenly realized that the early books were those that many Americans would have read but not necessarily on the reading list of people in the UK. I thought I would look at the age and time of and location for each of the choices......

Childhood in Boston
Make Way For The Ducklings
Tom Sawyer
Johnny Tremain
Uncle Tom's Cabin

High School
The Hobbit
Regency Buck

The Canterbury Tales
Pride and Prejudice

Move to England
Frenchman's Creek
Daughter of Lir

Life Overseas
Leo the African

Back to England
Any Human Heart
The Thirteenth Tale

By high school my reading was reaching out further. I suppose I could blame Georgette Heyer for my passion for English men :-) I spent a summer in studying in Ireland and that whetted my appetite for Irish history and pushed me past the first 200 pages of Trinity so that I could dwell in the rest. The Hobbit was thanks to my wonderful English teacher Miss Walsh.

My degree is in English Literature with an emphasis on Medieval period so a love of the Canterbury Tales is essential and I just love Chaucer's sense of humour and Austen just continues my loves of English men and romance.

After university i think I suffered from reader burnout. I don't really remember the books I read in that period after uni. It wasn't until I moved to the Uk that the books jump out from my memory. The most important of these being Frenchman's Creek. This is where my husband proposed and began my love affair with Cornwall.

When my children were very small I read very little. i was too damn tired and my attention span could only cope with magazines. My mother-in-law tried to keep me going with books of short stories!

Finally emerging from the state of perpetual exhaustion I was living over seas and was led to Leo the African. It showed my a different view of history that I could feel living in the Middle East at the time. The Alchemist was a richer read for me as well because I feel the sand and even taste it.

Then it brings me to the last two which were both read last year. It is the prose in The Thirteenth Tale that speaks to me. Her use of words and how they transported me is why that book is on my list. This reflects my writing life. I think about words all day long now! Any Human Heart open men's minds up for me and also that fact i had noticed in my own life. I may be in my forties and my body is showing it but my mind still thinks it's 28. That book clearly shows that progress through life and how we recognize the outward changes but our heart remains somehow unaware of age.

Now back to my words and the the lives of my characters.......I wonder what their favorite books are and why?


Therese said...

It's so interesting to consider books from this perspective... So much of what gets noticed/read/adored depends on where we are geographically and emotionally!

When my sons were small, I read things that didn't make me think too hard--legal thrillers, mostly, which is funny to me because I never read them nowadays.

When I began taking myself seriously as a writer, my tastes changed to reflect that.

Your musing about what your characters might read reminds me of studying FRANKENSTEIN--Shelley gives the characters reading lists, in essence, which fascinates me. I may do some of that in my new novel!

liz fenwick said...

Yes, we could start a new trend......character types by books they read???? Are you escapist reading SF or Romance? Are you a realist reading gritty crime? I could go on....

Phillipa said...

Liz - I suffered from reader burnout after uni too and I've never quite recovered my thirt for the classics. I've got a big reader burnout at the moment too and have started about seven novels and not finished them. I can only cope with poetry, magazines and short stories right now. LOVE the idea of what your characters might read. I think my last hero would only have read thrillers or mountaineering biographies and only if he was um..incapacitated. The current one might be into semi-literary stuff, travel and business biographies. What about yours?

liz fenwick said...

I'm happy to hear I wasn't the only one who suffered burnout after uni :-)

I have been wondering all day what my character would be reading......