Simon Tagged Me: Ten Random Books

Simon over at Stuck In A Book tagged me on a meme to randomly choose 10 books from my collection and then blog about them. These were his rules:

1.) Go to your bookshelves…

2.) Close your eyes. If you’re feeling really committed, blindfold yourself.
3.) Select ten books at random. Use more than one bookcase, if you have them, or piles by the bed, or… basically, wherever you keep books.
4.) Use these books to tell us about yourself – where and when you got them, who got them for you, what the book says about you, etc. etc…..
5.) Have fun! Be imaginative. Doesn’t matter if you’ve read them or not – be creative. It might not seem easy to start off with, and the links might be a little tenuous, but I think this is a fun way to do this sort of meme.
6.) Feel free to cheat a bit, if you need to…

So here we go:

A Folio Society Edition of Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate with illustrations by Ronald Pym. I bought it a few years ago at a used bookstore but I haven’t read it yet. Being an Anglophile, it just seemed like something I shouldn’t pass up.
I love Anita Brookner. I have read all but two of the 23 novels she has written since 1981 when she published her first fiction. They are all rather depressing tales of lonely people just waiting to die. That is a gross oversimplification of what Brookner covers in her novels, but is accurate nonetheless. I love, love, love these books. I like some better than others, but in the end, if you have read one you have kind of read them all.
I love planes. Got this on a bargain table at Borders just before Christmas.
This is my well thumbed copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. I am not much of a poetry person but I love Whitman’s work. I really got to know it when I was getting my Masters in American Studies at the University of Hawaii in 1997. I have had some transcendent moments reading this book.
Love Trollope, but sometimes one needs a little help remembering who’s who.
One of the best Canadian novels you have never heard of. Set in dust-bowl era Skaskatchewan the rather quiet, uneventful outward action of the story belies the earth-shifting inner drama that takes place. This is the kind of book that Persephone or some other small press whould really reissue. I am not even sure it is still in print. My dear friend (and Canadian) Ron recommended this to me about 15 years ago. It still remains one of my all time favorite books.
The life of a used bookseller in Melbourne, Australia. Purchased on our trip to Australia back in 2007. Lots of fun for those who like books about books and bookselling.
This is Murdoch’s first novel, and the first Murdoch I ever read. Remains one of my favorites. This particular edition is the US First Edition that my husband gave to me on our third date. He had been travelling for work, was in a used book store, remembered that I was a fan of Murdoch and bought it for me. You might say literature sealed the deal. We have been together ever since.
Bought this in the gift shop at Sissinghurst I think. I haven’t read it yet. It appeals to the Urban Planner in me (which was Master’s degree number 2) and to the Anglophile of course.
The story of a char woman who saves up her money so she can go to Paris and buy a Christian Dior gown. A fantastically heart-warming and funny story, the title in the US is Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris.

19 thoughts on “Simon Tagged Me: Ten Random Books

  1. Paperback Reader January 19, 2010 / 4:08 pm

    Oh dear, you have been across the world and back again and completed this whilst I still haven't :s.

    Loved reading your answers, Tony, and most intrigued by those books that I don't yet know. Perhaps you could email Persephone to suggest As For Me and My House?

    I recently read Flowers for Mrs Harris with a review forthcoming.

    Glad to have you back!


  2. StuckInABook January 19, 2010 / 4:13 pm

    Thanks for joining in – Claire, don't worry, no time limit on this one :)


  3. StuckInABook January 19, 2010 / 4:14 pm

    Oh, and that Anthony Marshall looks irresistible…


  4. Paperback Reader January 19, 2010 / 4:18 pm

    Thomas, apologies for calling you Tony! My head isn't with it.

    Simon, it should be up some time this week :).


  5. Rachel (Book Snob) January 19, 2010 / 5:00 pm

    What wonderful books you have chosen! I have just added loads to my amazon wish list – thank you!


  6. Darlene January 19, 2010 / 8:09 pm

    Your Folio Society edition is gorgeous! I hope more people take on this meme as I love reading the stories behind book purchases, thanks Thomas.


  7. ~Tessa~Scoffs January 19, 2010 / 8:47 pm

    loved your books. I have the same Walt Whitman (though possibly less thumbed).


  8. agoodstoppingpoint January 19, 2010 / 10:04 pm

    Oh wow, I saw a TV adaptation of Mrs. 'arris goes to Paris when I was a kid. I didn't realize it was a book. I haven't thought of that movie in ages.

    – Christy


  9. Amanda January 19, 2010 / 10:22 pm

    This looks wonderful! When I recover from the wedding I will have to steal this idea.


  10. claire January 19, 2010 / 10:45 pm

    Love your list, Thomas. Love Whitman.. I plan to read him again this year.. hopefully get through the whole book. My favourite part about your post has been seeing the covers, of course. :)


  11. Thomas at My Porch January 20, 2010 / 12:33 am

    Paperback: I was actually procrastinating unpacking so the speed with which I joined the meme wasn't really virtuous.

    Simon: Thanks for starting the meme. I've never seen the Marshall book outside of Australia so it might be hard to find. (And it cost $30 Australian–which I think is a lot for a paperback.)

    Rachel: Which ones piqued your interest?

    Darlene: It was fun to do it wasn't it.

    Tessa: I also have a 1913 edition that I bought about 20 years ago. But I only look at that one. I don't want it to end up looking like this paperback.

    Christy: The only adaptation I know of has Angela Lansbury as Mrs. 'Arris, which keeps me from wanting to see it.

    Amanda: When is the big day?

    Claire: I just like to dip in every so often. I haven't read large chunks of it since I studied back in 1997.


  12. bookheaper January 20, 2010 / 4:55 am

    A fascinating and lovely list, especially the covers. You MUST read Nancy Mitford (and The Pursuit of Love), two of the funniest books ever written.
    Strange to say but me and my better half once had to teach Flowers for Mrs Harris in the Sudan to Sudanese school kids as it was a set English book. One of my co-teachers was nicknamed 'Mrs Harris' because she was small with a big, shady (v. necessary in the heat) hat.


  13. Thomas at My Porch January 20, 2010 / 8:35 am

    Bookheaper: I love Mrs 'Arris, but what in the world could Sudanese students have thought of the story?


  14. AnswerGirl January 20, 2010 / 7:13 pm

    I had not heard the story about the Iris Murdoch novel — how perfect! And I love that Mrs. Harris book.


  15. Melwyk January 20, 2010 / 10:47 pm

    I have the same copy of Leaves of Grass as well, from my university days. I haven't read As For Me and My House since high school, when I absolutely hated it — maybe I should try reading it as an adult and see what I think of it now. It's a staple of the New Canadian Library line, but I don't know if that imprint is readily available in the US.


  16. skirmishofwit January 21, 2010 / 4:40 am

    Such an interesting list! Love in a Cold Climate is one of my very favourite books – I can't wait to hear your impressions once you do read it. I also have the Folio edition which is lovely. As For Me and My House sounds fascinating (especially as I was born in Saskatchewan!). I'll have to track down a copy.


  17. Thomas at My Porch January 21, 2010 / 8:23 pm

    AnswerGirl: He is a prince isn't he.

    Melwyk: I can totally understand not liking it in high school. It is such a quiet book I don't know why you would even try to get young adults to read it.

    Skirmish: I am not sure what I am waiting for on the Mitford. I have had it for a few years. And yes, you should track down As For Me and My House.


  18. claire January 23, 2010 / 1:18 am

    Thomas, I had also only just dipped in Leaves of Grass, and like you say, had transcendent moments. My goal this year is to read through it (the original shorter version though). Forgot to say I am in love with that Brookner cover you have there.


  19. Thomas at My Porch January 23, 2010 / 6:06 am

    Claire: Well, I have pretty much read it cover to cover, but these days just dip in.

    I know, isn't the Brookner a wonderful painting. So many of her US editions from the 1980s and 1990s are not good at all.


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