Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Books! Glorious Books!

Still Life With Three Books
Vincent van Gogh
Painting, Oil on panel (oval)
Paris: March - April, 1887
Van Gogh Museum
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe

Willow at Life at Willow Manor has a wonderful meme going on at the moment, and she has invited anyone to join in.

Okay!

List the following:

(a) Fiction book
(b) Autobiography
(c) Non-fiction book
(d) A fourth book of your choice from any genre.

Explain why the books are essential reads in no more than 30 words.

Here is my list.

(a) "Youngblood Hawke" by Herman Wouk. It's a fictionalized account of the life of Thomas Wolfe, who was one of my favorite authors, and who wrote one of my favorite books, "Look Homeward Angel". Oddly enough, "Look Homeward Angel" was loosely based on Thomas Wolfe's own life.

(b) "Einstein, His Life and Universe" by Walter Isaacson. I have always been fascinated with Einstein as a person, and the book shows his human side. We all think of Einstein as the most brilliant man who ever lived, but he was really quite a lady's man, and the book publishes some of his love letters, which are very sweet.

(c) "The Outline of History" by H.G. Wells. Even though he was famous for his science fiction books, he wrote a history book that was wonderfully interesting. He wrote about evolution, religion and philosophy with the same beliefs and opinions that I have. He would have been an interesting person to know. "When I wrote the Outline of History I slowly gained the conviction which crystallized itself later on into a positive idea, that the great Roman Empire was ruined not only from outside by the storming barbarians; but also by the internal financial difficulties, by the indebtedness of all social classes, and by the heavy burden of taxation, until, under these financial burdens, the whole scaffolding of imperialism broke down." ... H.G. Wells

(d) This last category is difficult because I think I have read thousands of books, and each of them is a favorite of mine, in its own way. But I have a particular fondness for a book that belonged to my father called "A Treasury of Laughter". I used to read it for hours when I was a little girl, I still have the book, and it can still make me laugh.

In my enthusiasm, I think I went way over 30 words. Now I will probably wake up at 3:00 in the morning and want to change my list, or at least add to it.

Okay ... now it's your turn.

19 comments:

Leslie: said...

First of all, I thought you hated memes! LOL

But I know this is one you couldn't pass up, being the avid reader you are.

And I'm up as I couldn't get right to sleep and this is way too in depth for my sleepy eyes right now.

I'll work on it tomorrow and let you know about my choices.

This is one decent meme - worth doing, for sure! Love your choices. I knew before I got to it that you'd choose that book on Einstein...maybe you'll let me borrow it???

Firefly said...

I know you hate memes, but this isn't really one, is it?

I just don't get any time these day for reading. The kids are at that age that they require lots of attention and by the time they are in bed we still need to clean up, do dishes and everything else. Most of my reading at the moment is the outdoor and travel magazines I get every month and off cause blogs.

(a) Fiction book - I read "Circles in the forest" by Daleen Matthee not too long ago. It plays off in the Knysna forest in the Southern Cape in the late 1800's and although not a true story it is set in a time with very well researched facts. Another one of her books set in the forest which I enjoyed was "Towerbos" (Magic forest).
(b) Autobiography - A Majotity of two (ok so this is a blog, but it is still reading ;-) and very much an autobiography)
(c) Non-fiction book - My Weg and Getaway outdoor and travel magazines. (I know I'm cheating now, but at least I'm reading)
(d) A fourth book of your choice from any genre - I enjoy Terry Pratchett's DiscWorld books, although I haven't had a chance to get and read the last two.

That will do for now. Cheery bye.

KathyB. said...

What interesting reading Jo ! And I love to read. Tolkein is my choice over all, and I also have read everything I have found written by P.D. James, Agatha Christie, Stephen Lawhead. As you might be able to tell, I read a lot of mysteries and fantasy, mainly because I read for pure enjoyment, I don't want to take in current or old sad situations..I just want to get away! My type of vacation I guess !

And then as Firefly said, Blogs ! I have learned a lot from and been entertained by blogs ! Thanks Jo!

Russell said...

You are truly a well rounded person! Having read so many books is great!

I am always amazed when I see people on TV or hear them on the radio talking about the latest book they have written or some book they are writing. Seems like everyone is writing a book!!

I always wonder who will READ all those books that are being written?!! In this age of computers and power points and techno this or that, the art of sitting quietly and reading seems to have been lost by so many people.

I want to ask these people who are writing all these books what books they have READ in the past year!!

One of my favorite interview questions was always "tell me the last three nonfiction books you have read this year." You can guess the response - heh!! A blank look and the person wanting to say "but I was all set to tell you why I am most like an oak tree!" Heh!!

After an awkward silence I would then ask "well, okay, what are the last three books of any kind you have read in the past year?" Again I usually was met with silence...

So, to hear you are so well read is remarkable and something for which I have tons and tons of respect!!

Take care.

willow said...

Interesting choices, Jo! And I had no idea you hated memes, so I am very honored that you played along. Obviously, this one was right up your bookish alley! ;^)

"A Treasury of Laughter" made me smile.

Deb said...

Wait! You do not like meme's. In fact, you are a blog free meme, silly! LOL....

Charles Gramlich said...

It's fascinating how often I've just not read the books that others deem indispensable. Man I better read faster.

willow said...

Oh, Johanna, and you are my favorite new blog, too!! So classy, intelligent and fun. Are you sure you can't stay around?

You will definitely be missed in the bloggyhood. Please reconsider!!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Enjoy your break from blogging. I may do the same very soon. I had the sister of an inmate comment on my blog, trying to stir up some controversy (August post). I need my job, therefore, I'm thinking about what to do.

VioletSky said...

I love to hear what other people are reading - you can be so surprised sometimes by their interests and choices, or you can just find great new books you never knew.

And I have been learning quite a bit from your blog.

Understand about needing to get away from the computer. Hope you come back re-energized.

Adventure girl wanna be said...

Well have fun doing your other things. I wish you would close your blog but just blog when ever the mood hit you even if that was only once a month. I have my blogs set up so I would know when you posted??? But it's your life, do what is right for you;) Much love!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

This is really a comment for the blog ahead of this one. (Top).

Josie,

You did what? :)

KathyB. said...

Enjoy your blog free time, and if you don't return ( boo-hoo) you will not be forgotten! But I totally understand.
p.s. I will be sending your sheepy's off next week !

Firefly said...

*the "Home Alone" scream with me holding my hands to the side of my face* Nooooooooooooooooooooo.................. *sniff* I will really miss your blog. I like to visit and comment on all the blogs I follow, but if I don't have time and can only go to one, this was it. I will miss you and all the information you post here on your blog. It feels like I have gotten to know you in the last couple of months. Thanks for an awesome time and learning experience on your blog. But I get the feed and will see when you come back. In the mean time your are very welcome to come and visit my blog and see more about South Africa. You are always welcome there.
Mooi loop (Afrikaans for Go well)

Russell said...

The referee is throwing his flag!! Foul! Violation!! Repeat first down (or whatever they say...!)

After reviewing the instant replay and confering with the official up in the booth, the ruling on the field is REVERSED!

You are hereby ordered to turn your blog back on!! Heh!

Johanna, come back, okay??! The blogging world is empty without you in it!!

Waiting in Iowa....

Hilary said...

Ah Jo, take the time you need away. If blogging feels like hard work, it can't be much fun. Come back when it feels like fun again. We'll all be waiting. :)

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Edward Yablonsky said...

"The Outline of History" by H.G. Wells. Even though he was famous for his science fiction books, he wrote a history book that was wonderfully interesting. He wrote about evolution, religion and philosophy with the same beliefs and opinions that I have. He would have been an interesting person to know. "When I wrote the Outline of History I slowly gained the conviction which crystallized itself later on into a positive idea, that the great Roman Empire was ruined not only from outside by the storming barbarians; but also by the internal financial difficulties, by the indebtedness of all social classes, and by the heavy burden of taxation, until, under these financial burdens, the whole scaffolding of imperialism broke down." ... H.G. Wells


I have always enjoyed Wells the visionary and he is so even when writing history. He was a futurist eben when writing of the past such as the history of Rome. All empires receive a death knell and the imperialism of a wicked dream collapses under the burden of taxation and financial greed. Do not expect tears from any thinking person as this scenario unfolds.

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