Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday 9/14

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It's another Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) !!!
This week I (Ingrid) get to tell you all about the Top Ten Books I'm Dying to Read!

I have to say, this was such a fun list to make. I took a nice long look at my extensive Amazon wish list and made a smaller list of the books I'm most excited about, then pared it down to these ten. I put a lot of thought into this list. I wanted to focus on the ten that seemed the most interesting and also that best represent the kind of books I usually like to read.

1. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
This book is about Hemingway's time as a struggling artist in Paris in the 1920s. Last summer I spent three months living by myself in Paris. It was a different experience than I had expected, and very difficult. I spent a lot of time wandering around the city by myself, and by the end of that 3 months, I had established an emotional connection to so many of the little places I liked to visit. You could say I created my own "emotional landscape" associated with Paris. I'm interested to read about Hemingway's experience and see how it relates to my own. Also, I love Hemingway's style, so there you go.

2. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Once upon a time I wrote a paper on the french film "Plein Soleil," which is based on this novel. It is about a guy, Tom Ripley, who kills this other guy and steals his identity. It's freaking cool. The movie is absolutely stunning. I want to read the book because I loved this movie.

3. Hidden Wives by Claire Avery
I'm fascinated by polygamy. Most of the books I've read about polygamy have been memoirs that are quite biased (to be expected.) I've only read one other fiction book about polygamy and it was awesome. (Here's my review.) I've read a few reviews online of Hidden Wives (like this one) that said this book was great.

4. Crow Mercies by Penelope Scambly Schott
Recently I read this review at one of my favorite book blogs, So Many Books. The poem she includes in her review, "I Will Not Count The Years Or Even The Hours," was so beautiful to me. My favorite part:

I will live in that place that tumbles with stars
over the embracing roof of the dark

where I confuse your soft breathing
with wind brushing the Douglas firs.

I also like how in her review Stefanie describes that feeling of "poetry stomach." I'm anxious to read more poems by Schott and can't wait til this book comes out!

5. At Home: A Short Story of Private Life by Bill Bryson
In this forthcoming book, Bill Bryson explores why we live the way we do. Why do forks have four prongs? Why do we choose salt and pepper over other spices? What is the history of the bedroom? Can't wait to find out.

6. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Sappho (trans. by Anne Carson)
Sappho is fascinating to me because she is the only known female poet from ancient Greece. Her poetry is tender, introspective, and mostly about the events of her daily life. Most of her poetry was burned during the Byzantine empire. Only four complete poems and thousands of fragments have survived.

If you are my friend, stand up before me
and scatter the grace that's in your eyes

7. Black Elk Speaks by John Gneisenau Neihardt
This book contains the stories of Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux medicine man. I have to say, I wasn't as much interested in Native American spirituality and mythology until I married my husband, who is 100% Navajo. Since then I've been much more interested in Native culture and religion. (Love does crazy things, doesn't it?) I've heard incredible things about this book, which I is a sort of "spiritual memoir," touching on the significance of mythologies, ritual, and ceremony as part of one's spiritual development.

8. People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture by Terryl L. Givens
Being that I am an active member of the Mormon church and have been my whole life, you could say I'm an expert when it comes to contemporary Mormon culture. On the list of things I make fun of (which is quite extensive,) Mormon culture and its curious aspects is probably at the top of that list, though at the same time it is something I love very much. The reason I want to read this book is because it appears to provide an objective and thorough history and analysis of that culture that is so irritating but yet so endearing to me. (For more info on the Mormon (LDS) church visit www.mormon.org)

9. Le Plaisir du Texte by Roland Barthes
OK, big jump from number 8.

Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.

That's actually from A Lover's Discourse, but there is a little taste of Roland Barthes for you. Le Plaisir du Texte (or The Pleasure of the Text) expounds on ideas Barthes developed in his book S/Z, concerning texte lisible ("readerly") and texte scriptible ("writerly") texts. The way one interacts with these two kinds of texts is what this book is primarily concerned with. The overarching metaphor compares the reading of a text to the act of having sex. Whoa there. Crazy stuff. (Note: I've actually never read anything by Roland Barthes so correct me if I'm wrong here.)

10. Anne Sexton, A Biography by Diane Wood Middlebrook
I actually checked this book out of the library a couple years ago, but was too swamped with school work to finish it before I had renewed it too many times and finally just had to take it back. I love Anne Sexton's poetry and know she had a pretty crazy life, thus making this biography highly interesting to me. I read another great book by Diane Wood Middlebrook called Her Husband: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath--A Marriage that I loved. Can't wait to get back to this one, at some point.

If any of you have read any of these books, I would love to hear what you thought!