Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Roadtrip Wednesday #65: Groundhog Day

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival" where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing or reading related question and answer it on our blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. Check it out here: YA Highway

This Week's Topic
In the movie Groundhog Day Bill Murray has to relive the same day over and over. What books would you pick to read over and over for the rest of your life?

I haven't seen the movie in a looooong time, but I remember liking it. Weird kid that I was, I laughed quite a bit at the scenes where Bill Murray keeps killing himself and waking up the next morning.

The idea of reading only a small collection of books for the rest of my life is a little terrifying. Even answering this challenge is scary, because I have a completely illogical fear that someone will hold me to my answers. Ahhhhhh!!!!

Here they are, in no particular order:

Book One:
The Martian Chronicles

I love all of Bradbury's work, so choosing just one is difficult. He's one of the writers who made me want to write with his endless imagination, and love of nostalgia, horror, impossible things, beautiful worlds, and people who veer from despicable to intensely hopeful. Why Martian Chronicles? Because, as a portrait of a slowly changing world, it's endlessly readable. Also, it's one of the first books that got me into science fiction.

Book Two:
Jane Eyre

I love this book. I read it for the first time as a young KidSarah and found Jane instantly relatable. I still hold that she's one of the best written heroines of all time. Charlotte Bronte's writing is lush and beautiful without seeming overly cluttered. She's a master of description and tone. Plus, secrets, mysteries and moral quandaries! Dark, gothic English mansions! Dangerous, sexy Rochester!

Book Three:
The Prophet

If you're wondering why I would choose this book, read the following quotes:

"You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But, let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let winds of the heavens dance between you."

"Life is indeed darkness save where there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love."

"You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?"

Book Four:
The Creative Habit

Sure, Twyla Tharp is a choreographer, but this book is essential reading for any artist. Absolutely brilliant and will revolutionize the way that you work. Tharp is an extremely intelligent woman and her body of work speaks for itself. It's also comprehensive enough that you can read it over and over again, getting something new every time.

Book Five:
The 101 Dalmatians

Back before Disney turned it into a franchise, there was this beautiful little book. This is my comfort novel. I'm not always obsessed with books about animals, but this one is so honest, gentle and loving. The dogs' adventures take on a whole new meaning in the hands of Dodie Smith. Most people look at me like I'm crazy if I tell them that I love this book. Trust me. Read it. It's a wonderful thing.

Okay, I'm getting tired. But, I can't give up! Here's the rest of my list:

6. Lord of the Rings Trilogy - There's so much in there. How can you not? The most epic of all epic fantasies, yet it takes time to sit with each of its characters and infuse them with personalities. So creative! So influential. One of the most hopeful books ever.

7. Never Let Me Go - For pure beauty of prose.

8. The Bible - Whether or not you choose to subscribe to the message within, you can't argue with the fact that this is one of the most influential books ever. Plus, lots of stories!

9. The Beekeeper's Apprentice and accompanying series - Gotta squeeze some mystery in there, and these are my favorites of all time. Even more than the original Sherlock stories? Tricky to say, but they sure are enjoyable reads. Plus, they span a wide range of countries, environments and topics. I love the strong, female main character.

10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - My favorite of Mark Twain's book. Funny, smart, strange, interesting, and sad. Love it.

11. Chronicles of Narnia - Despite the movies trying to mess with my affection for these books, I'll still include them. Eventually the memory of the films will retreat, but I'll still have Lewis's creative and refreshing stories. I can't tell you how many times as a kid I wished Aslan would invite me to Narnia!

12. The Brothers Karamazov - Because it has everything a good book could ever imagine having.

This list could be extremely different if you asked me on a different day. If you made it through all of that, congrats!

Currently Listening:
Pack Up - Eliza Doolittle


  1. wow--that's a lot of books! i haven't read any of these books (embarassingly enough), but those quotes by khalil gibran are stunning!

  2. Aleeza - I got into Khalil Gibran a long time ago. His writing is heart-breakingly beautiful. I highly recommend!

    See, I'm already feeling like there's a disappointing lack of Shirley Jackson, Henry James, Madeline L'Engle, and Connie Willis in this list.

  3. Cheater. Just kidding. :)

    Of the ones with photos, I've only read Jane Eyre. You reminded me how much I love Chronicles of Narnia. I could read that over and over and over...

  4. I love Ray Bradbury too, though if I had to pick just one book I'd probably go for a collection of his short stories.

  5. Wow, what a list! Ray Bradbury is a master, without a doubt. He was one of the first to stir my imagination, too.

  6. Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre. I could read that a million times and I will never get bored. I've already read it at least twenty times.

  7. Excellent books. I love The Lord of the Rings, but must say I hadn't thought of The Brothers Karamazov and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, which are both wonderful as well. Good list!

  8. this is a great list.
    I recently came across Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. It is incredibly lovely and delightful.

  9. I love Ray Bradbury! The October Country is one of my favorite short story collections, and Dandelion Wine made me cry because it reminded me so much of my childhood.

  10. Tracy - I'm a book cheat!

    Alison - Thanks! And, thanks for the follow.

    Jennifer - It was difficult to decide. I did think about doing a short story collection instead. Bradbury was definitely a master of the form.

    Tricia - Glad to hear it! Have you read his work on writing? Super inspirational.

    Lydia - I'm with you! I don't know how many times I've read it, but I suspect there will be many more.

    Ben - Thank you! I guess I'm a classics junkie.

    KO - I keep meaning to read that book! My sister made me watch the movie a while ago and I really enjoyed it.

    Heather - Great books! I also love Something Wicked This Way Comes.

  11. I totally agree with you on Jane Eyre! Jane and Rochester are some of my favourite characters of all time :-)