1. One book that Changed Your Life---
There's two actually; a.) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. When I was in grade eight, I dropped whatever installment of the Fear Street Saga I was indugled in and opened this puppy. It remains the most influential of my life. I devoured it: the themes, the wisdom, the interspersed poetry, Hugo's turn of phrase, the characters most of all. 1800 pages later, I was sure that there had to be another book just as powerful and captivating. Forsaking RL Stine for the rest of my life, I associated Les Miserables ( thus splendour ) with the 19th Century. I read Austen and Dickens and Hardy and Twain and Doyle from that point onward. The Brontes and Hawthorne and Thackeray. My love for the Victorians was born at 14 thanks to Hugo and a convict who snatches candlesticks from a well-meaning bishop. It's the sole reason I went into Lit at University, won the grade eight English award and scored the highest mark in English in high school, not to mention my love and fervour for the English programme at the University of Toronto ( where I just finished a five year specialist degree in the self same period ). So, I am the geeky bookworm born a century-to-late because of Hugo.
b.) The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
I maintain this is the first work of female emancipations literature to come out of Canada. A prudish, self-conscious minister's daughter in a small, judgmental and suppressive town, this book showed me a heroine who was brave enough to be everything I was not. I read it in the last semester of high school. Listlessly, chin-in-hand, burrowed in University applications and ready to take, like Valancy our title character, the biggest plunge in my life. It set a surge of lightning through me---presented a character and life I related to. Once finished, I immediately spun back to page one and started all over again. I now know it by heart and wrote my senior thesis on LM Montgomery ( primarily the Blue Castle ) as the purest example of a life vicariously lived through fiction.
2.) one book you wish that you had written:
As a little duck, I idolized Sherlock Holmes ( who am I kidding, I still do ). I pretended I was the Master and connecting the proverbial dots I saw murder and mayhem everywhere in miniscule Orillia. One re-read mid-canon on a stormy winter's night, I admitted I would have loved Doyle's brilliance. I could never stay one step ahead of Holmes. Sick of lagging behind, I felt had I written Sherlock Holmes I would have the ultimate in first-hand knowledge. I would never need to worry about solving a mystery again.
The green eyes of envy also flash brightly when I appreciate the glory of a well-turned YA novel. Mostly because it is the genre I wish to personally dabble my creative mind in. " I wish I had been onto that!" sighs my brain: "That" usually encapsulates Anthony Horowitz, Catherine Webb for the wonderful " Horatio Lyle", Avi, Hilary McKay, Gordon Korman, Eleanor Updale.....sooo sooo many.
3. One book you wish had never been written:
Need you ask? The Bloody Da Vinci Code!! It has been sponging the brain cells out of many unsuspecting readers since March 2002. Hate the pulpy prose, hate the italics, hate the hyperbole, the hype... it's trash in the purest form. A bad Patterson spin-off someone misread as a piece of art. No thought, nor creed no literary spin is worthy of its atrocious acclaim. Drop this purile Blockbuster and read a real book. Or, atleast, admit it is two beach towels on the wrong side of Robert Ludlum and abashedly hide it in a book cover.
4.) One book that you'd want on a desert island:
"Villette" by Charlotte Bronte ( it is my panic-attack, calm-down book ). " A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" by Mark Twain.... any Twain for that matter, "Prince and the Pauper" is a favourite, " anything by Martha Grimes
5.) One book that made you cry:
" I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith, "Night" by Elie Wiesel. I'm a friggin' sap. I cried when Lord Peter got trapped in the bell tower in Sayers' " The Nine Tailors.", "On Beulah Height" by Reginald Hill ( when Rosie Pascoe is in the hospital with meningitis... it killed me! killed me ! )
6.) One book that made you laugh:
I have my perennial favourites: Mark Twain, W.O. Mitchell's "According to Jake and the Kid", Gordon Korman, Martha Grimes ( there are brilliant moments in the Stargazey, the Blue Last and the Grave Maurice.... I loove her !! ) and the Blooding of Jack Absolute by CC Humphreys. I have to gasp for air when I read this. My sides split. Ate is too funny; quoting his " infernal Hamlet."
7.) One book that you're currently reading:
the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
"A Song I Knew by Heart" by Brett Lott
"Lighthousekeeping" by Jeannette Winterson
8.) One book that you've been meaning to read:
The Wreckage by Michael Crummey
Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro