Ok, ok, the topic is supposed to be “Favorite Bookmarks,” but I always end up using a grocery receipt or a piece torn off a pizza coupon flier or something like that. I own bookmarks, but they are never handy (no matter how many places I stash them) when I need one. It says more than I should say about my housekeeping standards that junk mail and cash register tapes are at the ready.
For the record, this is my favorite of all my bookmarks. My parents gave me this silver Winston Churchill bookmark. (This is someone else’s photo of theirs). Mine lives in his daughter’s biography of Lady/Mrs. Churchill.
Books About Books and Books About Reading Books
That a great American writer (one of my favorite authors) had a mother who read, and a mother who liked some of the same books my mother liked–and that she recommended them to him, as my mother did to me is just way too cool. Gone With the Wind, of course, yes flaws and all, is in here–it is his favorite novel and mine, too, though I am descendant of men in blue, not gray. So are important moments in his reading and writing life. That he included talk of The Great Santini–my favorite of his books, made it even more enjoyable.
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Queen Elizabeth II had an education typical of very upper-class girls of her day. That is to say–not much of one. Well, except for the lessons in British Constitutional History with a celebrated history master at Eton, that is. She and her sister Princess Margaret are said to regret this. Both saw to it that their own children received a far more conventional type of education–boarding school, exams, and in the case of Charles and Edward, University degrees. This little book imagines the Queen rectifying this lack of education by reading books from a bookmobile parked outside the Palace to serve all levels of staff. The problem lies in staff not sure they want Her Majesty more literate!
An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
My mother gave me this delightful book and thereby started a lifelong love of epistolary novels–stories told in “episodic” form thru letters, diaries, e-mails, or, today even in Tweets. Surprisingly, the movie is great, too. I learned of all kinds of books in here that would never have reached my ears. Sadly, I did not share Helene’s love of such antiquities, but her own books delighted me.
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
When a parent is dying we have to find comfort somewhere. Will and his dying mother make a book club for two. It sustains them. I didn’t always enjoy this book, I’ll be honest. The choice of books in their “book club,” though was superb. Marjorie Morningstar, a favorite since my teenage self read it, is in here. So is Josephine Tey’s Brat Farrar, Suite Francaise, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist as well as a few books I did not like or did not finish. No matter, it is Will’s story–and his mother’s, so it is about their books.
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
I’m a competitive reader. I love to check books off lists of “should/must-read” books. I track all of this in Goodreads on different “shelves” within my account. As to this book, I’ve never actually seen it! It is the mother of all reading challenges, reading lists and similar. I read from it by looking at the lists online and in the Boxall’s 1001 Books group in Goodreads. I’ve found some excellent reads this was–Muriel Spark’s Driver’s Seat is one that comes immediately to mind from it.
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall
I use a video clip describing How to Read A Book as part of a frequently given Student Success Skills workshop. Too many people never get beyond decoding words and getting the surface meaning of the words. They do not know how to dig deeper. They do not have the breadth and depth of vocabulary to appreciate the beauty of well-written prose. This is not an easy read. I do not assign it. I just use it to give the idea of what reading can be. This book IS tremendous and I get something new out of it any time I’ve picked it up. It is not a list of books, but a discussion of how to train your mind to read–fully, immersively READ.
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren
A Book About the Joy of Falling Fully into the World of a Book
My daughter and I lost ourselves into the world of this book many years ago now. We listened to it during several weeks when we were in the car an awful lot together. We both remember it fondly. As we are very, very, different people this speaks volumes for the quality of the writing–of the story-craft of this book.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
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