We are the stories we tell

Although I’ve stumbled on SmallWorld Reads, a great blog, a few times now, today is the first time I really investigated her Life Books Challenge.

SmallWorld Reads: Life Books Challenge

Who doesn’t have a list of favorite books? Chances are, those books are favorites because they tell a universal truth, and, most likely, because they say something about you. [Washy note: Isn’t that lovely? and True?!]

Part I: Choose Your Life Books
What are the books that, in some aspect, define you? Think about who you are in terms of spirituality, love, economics, values, worldview–the list could go on and on…. Give us your life in books.


My Part I:

gosh this is tough…

1) Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White – friendship, love, children’s writing.

2) Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Beverly Cleary. I read this book literally five billion times (give or take a few) – again great children’s writing about family, getting through the hard times whatever those are in your (8-year-old?) mind.

3) Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gillman. oh, the creeping, creeping, creeping…. disturbing classic text on mental health, feminism, history without ever being preachy.

4) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee! Need I say more? Okay, it’s about justice, love and life? and written beautifully.

5) O Henry stories – I love the surprise twists! Morality play? maybe but still

6) Gosh, anything by Mark Twain, but I’m partial to some of the lesser knowns: Puddinhead Wilson, his short stories (Adam and Eve).

7) East of Eden – John Steinbeck. Good and evil and good vs. evil. Wow.

8) Grendel (and anything else by) John Gardner. Okay, admittedly, he’s a local hero (taught at my alma mater, died tragically) but wow, this is poetry and ache and love and beloging…

9) Freakonomics (or Fast Food Nation or Paradox of Choice) okay these are by different authors but share being classic examples of journalism at its finest – teaching without preaching, boiling down to plain english.

10) I’m at 10 already? I was hoping to keep to 10. Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl (or anything else by Dahl). See the trends? I love children/young adult literature and I love the lesser known works of great writers. This story is so touching about a boy and his dad, is well written, clever, contains humor and mystery and tenderness… what’s not to love?

Hmm, I think I have to consider this my start. I want to include some creative nonfiction (any Best Essays of… [Insert year] or issue of Creative Nonfiction) would do or … Eat, Pray, Love which I’m finally reading now or Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius….

I would LOVE to hear your favorites. Join SmallWorld’s challenge or, if not, just tell me in the comments. I’ll be back with more sooon…..

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  1. SmallWorld Reads said,

    Wrote on August 26, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    Thanks for playing! What a great list! The Yellow Wallpaper—wow! That’s a story that is hard to forget. Interesting about Gardner. I read Grendel in college but I don’t think I understood anything. I think I need to go back and read it now!!

  2. washwords said,

    Wrote on August 26, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

    Thank you, SmallWorld – great idea! Feel free to use “my” book for your part ii.

    I’ve selected “A tree grows in Brooklyn” and “The Jungle,” BTW – will post more on that soon…

  3. ImitationAngel said,

    Wrote on August 26, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

    Very nice challenge. Also a very nice set of books you chose. I think I may have to try this.

    ImitationAngels last post: Web Hosting

  4. washwords said,

    Wrote on August 27, 2008 @ 10:27 am

    ha ha ha. random. but i just noticed by number 8 ) turned into cool-shades smiley above. heh.

  5. carol said,

    Wrote on August 28, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

    I feel unliterary. On my list of favorites would be almost anything written by Agatha Christie and Knowing God by J. I. Packer.

    carols last post: Parenting Teens: The Dark Knight

  6. Honey Mommy said,

    Wrote on August 29, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

    Wow. What a great idea!

    I am a librarian, so it is really hard for me to pick just 10 books. I may have to think about this one for a while!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Honey Mommys last post: Bobbleheads Ate My Money

  7. Mom said,

    Wrote on August 30, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

    Mine (not in order)Not fair for 10 since I am older have read so many more books!
    A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe
    Any of the Shoe Books by Noel Stratefield
    Middlesex by Jeff Eugenides
    The Hours by Michael Cunnignham
    The God of Small Things Arundhai Roy
    Charlotte’s Web E.B. White
    Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lingred
    The Known World Edward Jones
    Possession A.S. Byatt
    The Wild Swans by Jung Chang

  8. washwords said,

    Wrote on August 30, 2008 @ 11:37 pm

    good ones mom! I forgot a few of these – The God of Small Things is TOTALLY one of my favorites. oooh and pippi! you should do the challenge, too.

    And I still haven’t read Posession!

  9. Colleen said,

    Wrote on September 16, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

    Just wanted to say the I’m reading The Yellow Wallpaper thanks to your post. Sounds like a good one. I’ve heard of it but never read it.

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