It’s the seasons to be thankful, and for this Thanksgiving day, here are some of the books to be grateful for. We’re sharing some of our favorites, and in the comment section, we’d love to read about yours.
Melissa, the LibraryCanary:
“My Aunt Jane’s Christmas presents were the best. They weren’t expensive or exotic or even particularly well-chosen. In fact, they were usually downright odd. Which is what my sister and I loved about them.
Every year, we’d wait for the box to arrive in the mail. We’d unpack the carefully wrapped, misshapen lumps inside, each with an accompanying note in Jane’s sprawling cursive. One year there was a long necklace made of Christmas lights, a turquoise leather bolero. A copy of Doctor Zhivago (for a niece age eight or nine.) A collection of her hand-written stories and memories.
But my favorite gift of all was a tiny pocket-sized edition of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus. I was nearly twelve and filling notebooks with poetry. I did not understand the strange poems in Rilke’s book, but I carried it around with me— talisman, lucky beach stone, map. The little book told me someone saw me as Poet, too. These poems of solitary descent into the unknown, the ‘underworld’ of self and mystery, have become touchstones for me as a working poet. I am grateful to my Aunt Jane for the gift of encouragement.”
Go on to PAGE 2 to find out what book theothercanary is grateful for….
I have to mention two books.
For the first, I recall my parents going on holiday once when I was little. During the course of their trip they visited my aunt and cousins. And they returned home with “Who’s a Pest?” by Crosby Bonsall – proclaiming it to be my cousin Conan’s favourite book, and he wanted me to enjoy it, too. This from a cousin at the other end of New Zealand, who I saw very rarely. That in itself was special. But, the book is a great little read, even given that I never fully understood it until I read with an adult’s sense of narrative recently (with the birth of my son). Sometimes I wonder how much of my own personality was influenced by that tale…
Second, I am grateful for stumbling upon “The Crow Road” by Iain Banks in my last year of high school (a long, long time ago). It was sitting on a special stand on the end of a shelf of the school library, and the striking black and white cover caught my eye. I borrowed it, read it, and found it extremely enjoyable. And that was my first real foray into the world of “adult” fiction (other than those books assigned by teachers). I remember suddenly feeling that I had not read enough books and that I must do something about it…
Those are both great book memories! I don’t remember what my first ‘adult’ fiction book was, but I remember that feeling as well, that there were so many books that just NEEDED to be read.
I’m late, I know! 😀
But I just wanted to humbly submit the one series that changed my life and outlook forever: Mercedes Lackey’s The Last Herald-Mage trilogy.
Why? Because it was the first time I could read about two male characters falling in love in a way that could be beautiful. And believe me, in my country where “intercourse against the order of nature” is a crime? It made me sit up and open my eyes. Sure, there were parts of the series that were melodramatic, but damn, it made me bawl my eyes out back in the day.
Pingback: Small Chirp: The Book as Artifact « thecanaryreview