Books, Books, and More Books

First I want to thank those of you who took the time to read some of my writing mentioned in Friday’s post; it reminds me again what a warm, fuzzy place the blogging world can be.

Now let’s keep the reading thing going and talk about one of my favorite things on this planet or any other: books. It’s been a while since I’ve done a meme, but when I saw this one on books at Chel’s Chasing Contentment, I felt some meme withdrawal and had to fill this one out.

Apparently books make me do strange things.

Speaking of which, remember you can always keep up with what I’m reading through the books link on the navigation bar above.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White1. One book that changed your life: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. This was the first book of any real length that I ever read, and I’ve been writing stories trying (in vain) to live up to E.B. White’s legacy ever since. I *so* wanted to be Fern and play with Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton, and the g-g-goose. Love. This. Book.

2. One book you’ve read more than once twice: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. A few Jane Austens as well, but Catherine and Heathcliff are my all-time favorites. A more recently published favorite that I’ve read a few times is Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: William Shakespeare Complete Works. How could I ever get bored?

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde4. One book that made you laugh: OK trying to think of an answer here was far too difficult, so I definitely need to read more funny books. Feel free to leave suggestions. Oh! The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Hilarious!

P.S. I wish I could answer Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs here since the book blurbs describe it as “screamingly funny!” and “funny as hell!” but I found it quite disturbing. I mean, it was good, but “funny” certainly isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. Anyone else have an opinion on this book?

5. One book that made you cry: Most recently, Resistance by Anita Shreve. This is the first Shreve book I’ve read, and wow. Grazie mille Qualcosa di Bello!

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss6. One book you wish you had written: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I love how she weaves together the stories of characters from different generations around the core of love—two of my favorite themes.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Now that’s not very nice. I’m no player/writer hater.

8. One book you’re currently reading: The Italian translation of Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. Judging from the Italian version, I’d say the English one would be pretty good too. Have I mentioned how much I loved The Alchemist (in Italian at least)?

Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light–and I can prove it as it’s been on my Amazon Wish List since it came out! I was raised Catholic, so Mother Teresa has always had a special place in my heart. This book is said to give greater insight into her as a person, including her fears and doubts, rather than treat her as simply a persona. Has anyone read this? Opinions?

Looking forward to your answers fellow booklovers!

26 Beans of Wisdom to “Books, Books, and More Books”
  1. 07.14.2008

    Christopher Moore is a wacky, demented sort of way.

    softdrink’s last blog post..More crap. But not more books.

    Will look him up thanks!

  2. I loved Charlotte’s Web as well.

    I thought Running with Scissors was too bizarre to be funny. I think a little dysfunction goes a long way. The movie was not good.

    I enjoyed your fashions posts that you linked to Friday (I have a Manhattan Portage messenger bag, from the original store…love it) and ranked both stories with 5 stars. Brava!

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Rome off the Tourist Track – A day trip to a Sperlonga, a medieval beach town.

    Thanks so much for the (literal) votes of confidence! I’m jealous of that messenger bag…I *love* messenger bags, and someday I’d like to have a “real” one too 😉

    As for Running with Scissors, yeah, I can’t imagine I’d even *want* to see the movie after reading the book. Talk about depressing 🙁

  3. 07.14.2008

    Oh I so loved the River Piedra book! That is by far my favorite Coelho book to date. 🙂

    Sandier Pastures’s last blog post..You can’t do it here, you can’t do it anywhere!

    I’m really loving it so far, Grace. I don’t know if I’ll end up liking it more than The Alchemist though…we’ll see….

  4. vanessa

    ohhhhh funny books, i love funny books! Have you read any Bill Bryson or David Sedaris? They are laugh out loud in places kinda books. Next time you visit you can take some with you. I also like sarcastic funny books, anything by Carl Hiassen is great.

    Hands down best book i ever read is ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel. Read it in the early 90’s, tucked away in the psycholgy section of a medical library and is about one man’s struggle through concentration camps. Can still pretty much rememeber every awful thing he wrote and his amazing struggle for survival against all odds.

    Books that should have never been written – anything about italy that is full of superlatives and hardly any content ie 2 pages to describe a sunset etc. Vomit inducing Isabella Duci anyone???

    One book i have never read and always think would be a good idea to is the bible. When i can get my hands on an english version that is….

    The Bible was actually my first answer to something I haven’t read; I scaled down to Mother T for the meme though 😉

    I read a bit of David Sedaris, none of the other two; will keep an eye out. “Night” sounds amazing…you don’t have a copy there do you? 😉

  5. Joanne at frutto della passione

    Yikes, this meme might just take me hours to do. I might have to force myself to write down the very first thing that comes to my mind to avoid over thinking it. I loved the Alchemist. I read it at a time where I had to make an important decision and I felt like every character in the book was speaking directly to me. That isn’t the first time that has happened and it freaks me out a little!

    Joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Another nameless cocktail

    Oh I *love* when that happens Joanne; I like to think of it as the universe giving me signals that I’m on the right path, that I’m where I’m supposed to be 🙂

  6. 07.14.2008


    I’m a big fan of Paulo Coelho! You will love this! He’s the first best-selling author to be distributing for free his works on his blog:

    Have a nice day!


    Aart Hilal’s last blog post..Why the bumblebee flies?

    Thank you Aart; I am already a subscriber 🙂

  7. The Mother Teresa book is on my list to read as well…I’ve read excerpts and they are very intriguing. Some of her letters and writings that reveal that she struggled with faith most of her life, but did the things she did because she knew them to be right…although she didn’t always “feel” that close to God.

    erin :: the olive notes’s last blog post..independence weekend

    I’ve seen some excerpts too…seems like a fascinating, comforting read.

  8. 07.14.2008

    Hey, I haven’t read any of these books! Oh, except for Charlotte’s Web. And some Shakespeare, but definitely not the complete works.

    I read some of the articles you posted on Friday as well. Very nice. One thing, though. You didn’t give information about where to buy Moose Antler Sunglasses. I suppose you want to be the only person with Moose Antler Sunglasses. Not cool, Michelle, NOT COOL.

    flurrious’s last blog post..Missing Judy Miller

    You know me too well….

  9. 07.14.2008

    You always have so many things to read and look at here, Michelle. I never know where to turn first.

    I just read a great new book “The People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks. Check it out.

    So what else is there to do with a rotten tomato?????

    Congrats on all of the articles.

    karen cole’s last blog post..FORGOT YOUR FERRAGAMMOS?-OR FOOTLOOSE IN ITALY

    Well obviously this won’t be useful to everyone, but our rotten tomatoes (few and far between!) go to our chickens 😉

  10. 07.14.2008

    I love this meme. I think I did it once before, but it’s been so long ago, I think I’m going to snag it again. My answers are bound to be different now, yes?

    I wanted to let you know, I gave you an award on my blog today. 🙂

    You can check it out here:

    DebR’s last blog post..Brill!

    Definitely give this one a go again, Deb…my answers would probably change weekly! And thanks for the award and more great blogs to visit 🙂

  11. 07.14.2008

    I hated Running With Scissors and couldn’t even finish it. Also could NOT get through Isabella Duci’s Bel Vino. I recently enjoyed “Loving Frank” about Frank Lloyd Wright-excellent story and well written.

    I haven’t read any Duci…you two aren’t selling me on either 😉 I’m glad I’m not alone on Running with Scissors, and I’m sure I would *love* Loving Frank…thanks for the recommendation!

  12. 07.14.2008

    I agree with you about “Running with Scissors”; it’s hard to believe that kids could/can be treated that way. Right now I’m reading Mississippi Sissy, which is compared to Augusten’s writing.

    Your first commenter is right about Christopher Moore…he’s great!

    Janet’s last blog post..98 years ago tonight…

    Ooh great tips Janet, thanks! Glad to have more back up on Running with Scissors. I seriously thought I was missing something major as I was reading it. I kept flipping to the front and seeing how hilarious critics found it…just don’t get that at all.

  13. 07.14.2008

    I’m just delighted that you liked my book meme and played along! And I’m totally embarrassed not to have read more of the books on your list. I’m going to add them to my BookMooch list right away (you do Bookmooch, don’t you? It’s fabulous!).

    Chel’s last blog post..Menu Plan Monday (a teensy bit early)

    I kid you not, Chel, I *just* heard about and signed up for Bookmooch yesterday. I haven’t done much with it yet, but I certainly plan to! If I had been thinking I would’ve mentioned it in the post…oh well….hopefully people are reading the comments!

  14. 07.14.2008

    Great list! I think I did this meme or a similar one before. It took me forever to write up!

    A couple of months ago, I listened to a great NPR interview with Joanne Harris. I didn’t read “Chocolat” but loved the movie. I actually gave the DVD to my mom for mother’s day.

    Anyway, the author recently wrote a sequel called “The Girl With No Shadow.” It sounds like a wonderful book too.

    Anali’s last blog post..You Scream, I Scream – The Roundup!

    Funny I haven’t read anything else by Joanne Harris and I know she has a few books out there; I’ll have to check it out–didn’t realize there was a *sequel*! Woohoo!

  15. Sue

    I’ve read many of the books on your list and loved several of them. I read a LOT and RESISTANCE is one of my all-time faves. Anita Shreve has been in my city several times for book signings. That is one of her early books and I brought my copy to get signed during one of her book tours for a more recently pubbed book. I told her how very much I loved it and why and she was surprised and happy. She said hardly anyone mentions that book to her. It was based loosely on the life of either one of her family member’s or her husband’s.

    The Alchemist – simply a wonderful novel! Absolutely love it. Three co-workers read it, hated it, and thought it was tiring. Funny how different books impact people.

    Mother Teresa is a personal hero of mine. I have been waffling back and forth as to whether to read the book you mentioned. Many of the letters, etc. in it she wanted to be destroyed. So, I have been trying to decide. 🙂

    Resistance took me a little while to get into, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. I’m *so* happy I stuck with it.

    I know what you mean about Mother Teresa’s letters; I’m not particularly happy about the letters being published over her protests, but they *are* out there, and then my curiosity just takes over….

    No one who has commented here has read it? Hmm….

  16. 07.14.2008

    I love the Eyre Affaire and Chocolat, too. I really enjoyed some of the earlier Stephanie Plum books, when they were more about her family, etc. Those are by Janet Evanovich – read the early numbers.

    I completely agree about Shakespeare, too.

    I wish Jasper Fforde’s later books were as funny.

    I enjoyed Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files.

    Running with Scissors was too much for me, too.

    I’m going to be doing a book post shortly – I’ve been reading several wonderful books recently.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..They Say It’s your Birthday…

    I love the early Evanovich/Plum books! Quite coincidentally, I think they’re the only ones anyone has sent me 🙂 I didn’t even try any of Fforde’s later books…I suppose that was a good non-decision….

    Thanks for the recommendation on Lisa Lutz; someone else has told me about her as well. Looking forward to your book post!

  17. Sandy

    I have not read Mother Teresa’s book, but I did see her in person. It was quite an experience!

    I can only imagine Sandy; she is certainly one of the most amazing people to have ever graced our planet.

  18. 07.14.2008

    Charlotte’s Web, along with The Secret Garden are the first two books I read on my own and I still love them!

    brilynn’s last blog post..Baby Eggplants Are Cute

    You know I’ve never read The Secret Garden?! Tragic, I know. Must remedy!

  19. 07.15.2008

    Loved Charlotte’s Web, as well as The Trumpet of the Swan (also by Elwin Brooks White) they are still staples of my library.

    I’ll have to get The Eyre Affair… that sounds good!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..In Thoughts Of You

    Haven’t read The Trumpet of the Swan either! I wish there was a children’s book store/library (in English) near here…..

  20. 07.15.2008

    You have a subscription to Netlibrary… I believe… it’s not a long read, but it’s a very good read.


    Scarlett & V.

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..In Thoughts Of You

    Hah, as I was typing that response I was wondering whether it was available on there…I’ll be on the lookout!

  21. 07.15.2008

    hi michelle,

    love paolo coelho too! my absolute faves are The Alchemist and Veronica Decides To Die. I read these two over and over through the years.

    re: funny authors, i really enjoy bill bryson and david sedaris. like you, i wasn’t too thrilled with Running with Scissors.

    thanks for sharing this meme, i’ll have to post mine in my blog soon!

    Odessa’s last blog post..a happy ending

  22. *Must* get “Veronica.” I’ve heard so many good things about it. Looking forward to your answers!

  • 07.15.2008

    BookMooch is my new favorite thing. You’ll have to Friend me. 🙂 We’ll swap books. I’m Chel in Florida.

    Chel’s last blog post..What do you do with your past?

    I’ve sent you a request 🙂

  • 07.16.2008

    Well, where to begin…CHarlotte’s Web is the only book besides Island of the Blue Dophins and Mr. Popper’s Penguins that I read over and over and over. I wish I had kept all those plays that I wrote as a child.
    Of course i have read all of Jasper FForde’s books. LOVED THEM! As I have read most or all of Augusten Burroughs books. I could not even think of watching that movie!
    I with Jen for I also I enjoyed Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files. I can’t wait until she writes another!

    You named a few authors that I have not read that I must add to my list. I think I will have to do this meme on my blog tomorrow!

    jmisgro’s last blog post..IzeaFest

    Can’t wait to see your answers! I’m wondering how other Burroughs’ books were….

  • 07.16.2008

    I’ve never read any Anita Shreve, though I think I have one of her books on my TBR pile, so you give me hope that it will be a good experience. 🙂

    I did a similar meme a couple of years ago….here are my answers:

    1. One book that changed your life?

    “The Blood of Others“, by Simone de Beauvoir. I read this my senior year in college, and I remember the feeling that I got from it…the idea that we are deeply responsible for our actions, because they can have truly profound effects upon others…great stuff. I remember while reading this book, I walked over to the movie theater near my house one rainy afternoon, and saw the movie “Glory“. Somehow black battalion in the Civil War, trying to take control of their own destiny, seemed even more poignant to me because of the book I was reading. (There was a film version of The Blood of Others, back in the mid-80s, but it pretty much stunk. Jodie Foster, but not her best work.)

    2. One book you have read more than once?

    I’ve read a lot of books more than once. I’m a re-reader. I’ve read “Gone With the Wind” and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books more times than I can count. (GWTW…Scarlett’s conflict, between what she has to do, and what she things she SHOULD do…it resonates with many, I think.) But for a grown up, serious book that I LOVE, I would answer “The Dead“, by James Joyce. (I know, it’s not a book, it’s a short story. So sue me.) It’s one of the most touching stories that I’ve ever read. I felt humbled by the experience. (They did a beautiful job with a movie version a while ago, too. If you’re a John Huston fan, I believe this was his last film.)

    Honorable Mention here would go to The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I love that book. The movie was good, but really, only after reading the book. I didn’t understand the motivations well enough from the movie without that background. Milan Kundera is amazing.

    3. One book you would want on a desert island?

    Probably Ulysses, by James Joyce. Why Ulysses? 2 reasons. 1. Because the time I tried to read it, I had to laugh at the phrase, “The sea, the sea, the snot green sea”; and, 2. Because stuck on a desert island is probably the only way I would ever get through it. It’s a literary laberynth.

    4. One book that made you cry?

    I’m not sure any book has actually made me physically cry. I cry at movies all of the time, and songs, and commercials. But books, I can’t think of any right now. However, some books have made me depressed and sick to my stomach, does that count? The Kite Runner and The Lovely Bones are two more recent examples that have really hit hard.

    5. One book that made you laugh?

    The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. You can enjoy it online, here. Sick humor at its best. The first time I found this book was in a bookstore in Philadelphia, and Ted and I were cracking up. That’s the bookstore where I first found Swami on Rye and Max Makes a Million, two books that I had to immediately buy for my as yet unborn child. I may not have even been pregnant yet, but I knew she had to have these books.

    6. One book you wish had been written?

    “How we ended poverty, hunger, war, and disease in the 20th century.”

    7. One book you wish had never been written?

    Sadly, most textbooks. Boy, they can suck the life out of even the most interesting subjects.

    8. One book you are currently reading?

    I’m reading Eat Cake, which was recommended to me by Cherry and La Luna, both bakers and eaters of yummy cakes. I’m not as big a cake fan as they are, and I’m not very far in, but so far, so good. I’m enjoying it.

    9. One book you have been meaning to read?

    I’ve been meaning to read Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens. My New Years Resolution last year was to read some of the classics of literature that I missed while I was in school. Along the way, I realized that I haven’t read any Dickens. That made me feel somewhat uneducated, so I looked around and picked one. It’s an interesting, though bleak, topic. Debters prisons in England in the 18th century. But 18th century novels are written in a different tempo, a different rythem than books today. You kind of have to get in a certain groove to really get into it, I think. At least, that’s true for me. Maybe I’ll reread “Pride and Predjudice” for practice.

    J’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday- Hawaii Edition

    Wow J…you definitely get the star for most complete answer in a comment! I *love* all of the suggestions you’ve given me here…and I can *always* recommend Pride & Prejudice, although I agree–there’s something very different about reading classic novels. I have to be in the right mindset or else it just doesn’t work for me. And FWIW, I’ve only read “Great Expectations,” and eh…..

  • 07.18.2008

    Loved Charlotte’s Web, Wuthering Heights, and The Alchemist. Chocolat is on my list to read since seeing and loving the movie,which also had a very toe twitching score.

    molly’s last blog post..Old Curmudgeon Incoming……

    Agreed Molly! Be prepared: the book is *very* different (MUCH better IMHO) 🙂

  • 08.08.2008

    Your blog makes me hungry.

    Funny book :: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer.

    Bête de Jour’s last blog post..Feedback Friday :: Swelling A Progress

    Thank you! And mangia!

    Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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