Friday, July 6, 2007

It's Fahrenheit 451 --which book are you?

My first question to those of you who love books is this: which book are you? Say someone burns all of the books, including My Pet Goat, and we are faced with a famous situation. Each of us must memorize your favorite book. For the rest of your life you will painstakingly memorize and then BE this book. This book will exist through you. But your life will be devoted to muttering and remembering every word written between the covers. And also, this book must be important enough for you to die for it. For if during the memorization process this book is discovered in your possession you will be confined in a place known as LITMO. And although we are told over and over how great those confined there have it, people commit what their keepers call "hanging gestures." -- Louise

10 comments:

St Paul reader said...

Nabokov's Dozen, a collection of thirteen short stories. "Spring in Fialta" and "That in Aleppo Once" are beautiful, haunting stories of memory and loss.

Leslie said...

Mine would have to be Barry Lopez's River Notes all for the first and last essays...I actually had a summer 20 years ago when I could only bring one book with me for 2 months in Labrador. I brought River Notes and scrawled a few of Robert Penn Warren's poems into the flyleaf. They're still there, preserved like a stem of cottongrass from the meadows.

Granger said...

Atwood's Oryx and Crake for me.

BirchBark Books said...

Granger, who would you be in Oryx and Crake?

Mark Anthony Rolo said...

okay, so i've had this personal fantasy, um, starting with this huge crush i've had on Louise for years...so, the fantasy goes, i'm on this island, right, and i have a choice between Louise, herself or her wonderful, wonderful novel, Love Medicine...i can't keep both on the island, so i tell the gorgeous, classy author to take a swim while i cuddle up with Love Medicine...i am inside her deepest memory ;)

Mark Anthony Rolo said...

okay, so i've had this personal fantasy, um, starting with this huge crush i've had on Louise for years...so, the fantasy goes, i'm on this island, right, and i have a choice between Louise, herself or her wonderful, wonderful novel, Love Medicine...i can't keep both on the island, so i tell the gorgeous, classy author to take a swim while i cuddle up with Love Medicine...i am inside her deepest memory ;)

Mark Anthony Rolo

darklake said...

I honestly could not memorize a book--In the 1970's, I killed too many brain cells in front of stages with my Bic lighter flaming as I yelled "Free Bird" and inhaled whatever was passed my way. So could I do a poem? The Red Wheelbarrow? The lyrics to "Stairway to Heaven" or "Born to Run" or any Ramones song? And though I love Oryx and Crake, no one should wish to be in that book.

Bookin'inBrooklyn said...

"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott. Not because it's the greatest book ever - but it's because a book that so many have loved so dearly, despite the dismal pairing of Amy and Laurie at the end (sorry if that's a spoiler for anyone). Besides, I always wanted to "be" Jo. Right?

Or maybe, along the same maybe vein, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. I remember skipping archery or swimming or some other healthy activity at summer camp in Maine to devote myself to it - having borrowed it from another camper when my own stock of books ran out. Lucky day. How else would I have learned the bizzarely satisfying experience of reading a book that broke my heart? Oh sure, it migh have been some other book, some other camp, some other day, but it happened to be THAT book. So I sobbed like a baby into my coarse gray bunkbed blanket, finally toddling to the con (bathroom) to blow my nose again and again and wash my blotchy face with plenty of cold water before anyone would catch me at it. Oh bizarre bookish bliss.

(Now that I live in Brooklyn, however, let me tell you - the tree that grows in Brooklyn that's supposed to be such a poetic metaphor for struggling against all odds to persevere -the ailanthus -is a real stink weed. )

Angela said...

Two books came to mind immediately when I read Fahrenheit 451 and considered this question for myself. Both of them are books that had a profound influence on me as a young reader, but probably also as a human. First was Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time. The other is C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I'm not sure I'd want to live in a world where no one remembered stories of the kind of love that makes those books so powerful. And I would not want the only record of them to be the film versions....

Lane said...

I'd have to say the obscure and frighteningly long "Kirsten Lavransdatter" an epic novel of mideaval Scandinavia. My other pick would be "Middlemarch," but that is more well known and therefore have more of a chance to be picked by someone else. I read KL the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college and it was the first epic novel I read (not counting Tolkien, but that was broken into several books). I loved the book, I loved the main character, Kirsten, and her determination to lead her own life despite the strictures of her society. And I loved that it was written before that sentiment was at all popular.