Monday, February 14, 2005

In her latest column, Maureen Dowd writes about a man who gave his wife 26 books--a title for every letter--that would help her understand who he is as a person. That made me wonder what books I would choose to include in such an alphabetical, self-revealing list. I'll give it a shot here:

A--American Primitive by Mary Oliver and Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
B--Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban and Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
C--Cruddy by Lynda Barry
D--The Dead and the Living by Sharon Olds
E--Earth House Hold by Gary Snyder and Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta
F--The Funny Thing by Wanda Ga'ag
G--The Golden Book Library (a collection of children's book anthologies) and The Girl with the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
H--The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
I--In the Language of Love by Diane Schoemperlen
J--Just Only John by Jack Kent
K--Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
L--Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
M--My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki
N--A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
0--The Oblivion Ha-Ha by James Tate
P--Poemcrazy by Susan Wooldridge
Q--The Quality of Life Report by Meghan Daum
R--Reality Sandwiches by Allen Ginsberg
S--Sonnets to Orpheus by Ranier Maria Rilke and Sula by Toni Morrison
T--Tracks by Louise Erdrich
U--Unless by Carol Shields
V--Voice Lessons by Nancy Mairs
W--Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin and Walden by Henry David Thoreau
X--Generation X by Douglas Coupland (a bit of a cheat, but I couldn't think of any titles that started with X)
Y--Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
Z--The Zoom Book (I don't know if this is the title for sure, but it was the book from the PBS Show Zoom in the 70s. I spent hours pouring through it.)

This isn't an exhaustive list of the books that are meaningful to me by any stretch, and some on here are more meaningful than others, but all of them have had an impact. It was fun to make the list--if any of you are up to the challenge, I'd love to see your own lists!


Dominique said...

Oh, Gayle! I couldn't resist! Here's what I came up with!

A--Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
B--Brilliant Windows by Larry Kramer
C--The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty
D--The Darkness Around Us is Deep by William Stafford and Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper by Nicholas Baker
E--Expecting Adam by Martha Beck
F--A Full Life in a Small Place by Janice Emily Bowers (I love her appreciation for place) and Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates
G--The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison
H--How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
I--I Loved You All by Paula Sharp
J--James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
K--King Lear by William Shakespeare
L--Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg
M--Mint Snowball by Naomi Shihab Nye
N--Neverending Story by Michael Ende
O--Owl by William Service (the size of a beer can, the personality of a bank president!)
P--Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver and Problem From Hell by Samantha Power
Q--Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris
R--The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and Rumors of Peace by Ella Leffland
S--The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
T--They Went Whistling by Barbara Holland
U--The Universe is a Green Dragon by Brian Swimme
V--The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron (anything by Julia Cameron) and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
W--Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and We Were the Mulvaney’s by Joyce Carol Oates
X--X-Men (all those marvel comics super heroes are wonderful!)
Y--Year of Wonders by Gwendolyn Brooks
Z--The Zimmerman Telegram by Barbara Tuchman (it’s on my reading list. does that count?)

Dominique said...

whoops! that's double fold by nicholson baker!

gayle said...

Yay! Thanks so much for posting this, Dominique! Wonderful choices--James and the Giant Peach and Mint Snowball and Prodigal Summer are all favorites of mine, too.

And yes, reading lists definitely count! I think To-Be-Read stacks can say a lot about who we are.

Thanks again!


Dominique said...

thanks, Gayle! I've also spotted one more oopsy I've got to fix... Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (not Gwendolyn! gosh!). That's what I get for depending on my memory so much!