Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Books to stick around

I found a meme thing at Jenny La Fleur's LiveJournal, and rather liked the idea, so in the end I sat down and made my own quick list of books that are important for me, without much thinking, per instructions... The comments I added after the not much thinking part, when the list was already complete.

I cheat a bit at Nr. 1, 3 and 4 - at 1 because a) I saw it in Jenny's list, so it immediately jumped on mine and now I cannot say whether it's because of her or because of me, and b) I haven't read the whole yet, and am not likely to manage so soon, but that's one more reason for it to be on the list... At 3 and 4 because they're more books than one, but they're inseparable in my mind.

1. The Bible
2. Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz - the longest poem I've ever read, I think (unless that's Kalevala, but then I'm not sure if I've read the whole of Kalevala), and the most enjoyable one for me, more and more so with every subsequent reading
3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I've read it so many times that I do not know how many
4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - especially the first part of The Two Towers, and all the landscapes and so on
5. Poslední tajemství Jana T. ("The Last Secret of Jan T.") by Jaroslav Velínský - A take on Jaroslav Foglar's Stínadla books (Warning: this Wikipedia article is not very sensible to read, but it's the best explanation I can give you). I'm reading it now, so that's why it's so high on the list. But it must be on it, because I keep re-borrowing it from the local library every now and then, just like I do with Pan Tadeusz. It's thrilling, mysterious, funny, kind, and more Foglar-like than Foglar himself.
6. Pidgeon Post by Arthur Ransome - I love all of his books, but this one has a special place in my heart, although I'm not quite sure why. (Naturally it's the one I still don't own, phew. Maybe that's the reason.)
7. Moominvalley in Novemeber by Tove Jansson - Again, I love all the moomin books, but this one has a very special place in my heart, because it features Toft, the first book character I ever really related to, thinking I'd act exactly the same.
8. Bless the Beasts and Children by Glendon Swarthout - Not even translated to Czech yet as far as I know; one day, I would love to do that.
9. Kulhavý poutník ("Hobbling Pilgrim") by Josef Čapek - I read this on the recommendation of my Literature teacher in grammar school. Funny thing is, I do not even remember what exactly it's about - just that it's rather philosophical, and nicely so - but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The kind of reading experience you never forget, because it's so new and exciting. Naturally, I'd like to re-read it.
10. Dva haranti ("Two Brats") by Fringilla - A hillarious old Czech book about two children and the adults in their lives. I expect that one day the three sisters of us will fight over who gets to keep this book...
11. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis - Every time I read this book, I read it in a day. It's mesmerizing.
12. Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien - among other things, for the Finnish names in it. Karhu, Paksu, Valkotukka!
13. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis - It helped me realise one or two things about the behaviour of people around me, and more than one or two about mine. Priceless.
14. The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross - If you're at least a bit interested in history, if you'd like to read a good historical novel, if I'm to include at least one book by a Fenno-Ugric author... this one it is.
15. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - Guess who my favourite writer is?

Certain things are missing from the list. Like, there's not one book by Neil Gaiman, even though he must be one of my favourite writers now, just behind Lewis and Tolkien. I think the reason for that is, I really enjoy his way of writing, but his books are a recent discovery for me, so they do not have that lasting effect yet.

Then there's Mika Waltari's Secret of the Kingdom, which surely could have been there instead of The Czar's Madman, and if I didn't write this list on a day when I had mentioned Jaan Kross' novel to my mom (in connection to all those changes that happened during Napoleonic wars and Regency), it might have been there.

And then there's also Romance pro křídlovku ("A Romance for Flugelhorn") by František Hrubín, which is the second poem ever I really, thoroughly enjoyed. I'm not much into poetry, you know, but now and then there's something that wouldn't work in anything else but poetry, and this is one of those things, even when it's written in free verse. Actually, because it's written in free verse.

And lots of other books... but then this post would gradually become longer than Pan Tadeusz, and that one took me two months to read the first time I read it, so I'll stop here.

No comments:

Post a Comment