Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Death by Bookshelf Part 3 of 3

In my last post I lamented how my love of reading has potentially become a crutch excuse allowing me to hide from the world rather than going out and being social and fearless. Thing is, I am an Introvert. There is nothing wrong with enjoying my own company and that of a book over the mindless chatter that comes from most social interactions, and that is even if you are socializing in a place where you can hear each other talk. Hate pubs. Never been to a club and intend to keep things that way. 

So really, that entire last post means almost nothing since I really shouldn't care what society says I should do or not do or be like. When I finish it (since non-fiction books, even chosen by me are not my first choice for enjoyment), I will be doing a post on Susan Cain's, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Cannot Stop Talking (link). Brilliant. It's the first non-fiction, semi-self-help book that has not been foisted on my by someone thinking said recommendation will make me a better person. I sigh. Dramatically. 

Anyway, what this post is all about is celebrating being buried under a whole list of books which have influenced me for various reasons and in various ways. Some are books that I return to year after year, even if the book was one I read at the age of 10 while others I have been happy to only read once. It's also mostly a post in which I get to be more self-centered than I already am being with this blog and shout to this corner my lists of favourite/influential books. (As if the universe didn't already have enough of these...*cough* GoodReads *cough*).
The Baklava. Consumed once Per Year.

In case you cannot quite read it, the books that have sat on my list of yearly reading (anywhere from 10 years to 5 years are as follows (top left to right): "The Silmarillion" by JRR Tolkien, "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Gabaldon, "Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine, "Mossflower" by Brian Jacques, "The Golden Book of Faerie" Omnibus by O.R. Melling, "Crown Duel" by Sherwood Smith, "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman, "The Hich Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams, "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy by JRR Tolkien. I could expostulate on each for a whole post so instead, as I get around to reading each one again this year, I'll do an appreciation post then. Currently I've been a bit wrapped in piano practice and reading new things but there is alway room for these special friends. Oh, and I should mention, these are Baklava books because I find cream digusting and I consume other favourites like cinnamon on a ridiculous daily (or twice daily) basis, I eat chocolate rather regularly, peanut butter as much as cinnamon and even carrot cake happens on more than just my birthday. Baklava, however, being an anomaly, I had never heard of, let alone tasted until travelling to Greece, is something so mythological in its divine honey-cinnamon flavour that it usually only happens once. Plus, it was hard to find, though I did learn how to make it two weeks ago. I may post up the recipe and the ensuing results later this week.  

Now, for the rest of the lot, the "influential" ones. Not that the above Baklava Books aren't influential. Far from it. After all, some of them I have been reading once a year for the past ten...If that isn't influential then I might relocate my corner to Mariana's Trench.

Oxidant to Outrageous Bits of Influence

Again, since there are definitely some missing/hard to read titles, the books are as follows (top left to right): "Swordpoint" by Ellen Kushner, "Symphony" by Jude Morgan, "The Birds" by Aristophanes, "The Histories" by Herodotus, "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman, "The Old English Baron" by Clara Reeve, "Agatha H. and the Airship City" by Kaja and Phil Foglio, "The Odd Women" by George Gissing, "The Iliad" attributed to Homer, "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke, "The Fox" by Sherwood Smith, "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde, "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch, "Going Postal" and "Thief of Time" by Terry Pratchett, "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman, "His Majesty's Dragon" by Naomi Novik, "Lysistrata and Other Plays" by Aristophanes, "Society at Cranford" by Elizabeth Gaskell, "Complete Works" by Tennyson, "Bleak House" by Charles Dicken, "On Fortune's Wheel" by Cynthia Voight and "Jude the Obsure" by Thomas Hardy. 

Frankly, this list could go on and on with books that I do not happen to have sitting on my bookshelf or somewhere in storage but for now, these are those which I am identifying as having influenced me in some way. A number of these I adore and have read more than once, a number I have read once and either spent a lot of time with them because of a university paper, or, just because I was off camping. Regardless, each of these books, some better than others, have taught me something, made me think or inspired me to try something. That is why I said this list could go on forever and it would probably be phyically impossible to collect together all the books I have ever read that have influenced me (and I mean this in a profound sense, otherwise you could argue everything I have ever read has influenced me, which it probably has). 

Either way, there you have a bit inside my Bookworm life. What can you deduce about my personality from these collections? 
I am me and thus not the most realiable to deduce my own spirit but I will attempt a summary in a sentence:

I am a dreamer who sees reality in the fantatical and strives to live it. 


I am an old spirit who contemplates things more often than actually living them. 


I am an adventurer who lives the paths few have bothered to explore. 

Not sure which is more accurate but I am terrible at summaries so there you have three different perspectives on the same sets of books and a shadow individual. Instead I urge you to check out your own collections. Maybe try this exercise. Group your books together in piles of those you could/do re-read, those which influenced you and maybe go further than I did and seperate them into different piles of influence (ie: influenced your writing style, your genre tastes, your subject knowledge, life lessons etc).

The road goes ever on and on, for this one. 

My tidy bookshelf that used to be double stacked and piled but is suffering inadequacy due to the house potentially going on the market. (The less favoured minions are suffocating in cardboard darkness next to the Christmas decoration boxes).

EDIT: Apologies to all who hoped I would get into the dangers of reading too much and the value of moderation. Frankly, as I have done these past three posts I have realized so long as I enjoy what I do, who is society to say how I spend my time? Yes, I do need to practice getting out in public and facing fears of speaking in front of unknown persons, but all in all, what I read, how I read, when, where and why I read, are all up to me. Much like those people who choose to be vegan, paleo or drink a glass of red wine with dinner. 

(Tidy aside from "The Hobbit: Creatures and Characters" and Vikram Seth's "An Equal Music..oops).

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