Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Bookshelf Meme

Jo-Jo at Jo-Jo Loves to Read! tagged me for this meme. Visit Jo-Jo’s blog to read her answers to the Bookshelf Meme.

The rules are:

  • Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
  • Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
  • If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
  • Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
And now tell me about...

The book that’s been on your shelves the longest:

I’m not sure that A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban is really the book that’s been on my shelves the longest, as I still own a few books that I’ve had since childhood, but it’s definitely my favourite of the bunch. So much so that I named my first cat after Frances’s sneaky friend Thelma! (Not that my Thelma is sneaky, just that she looked more like a Thelma than a Frances to me). Here’s a picture of my Thelma:

A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):

My friend suncloud9 (who guest posted a review on my blog) lent me her dog-chewed copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, a book I absolutely loved. (If you haven’t read it yet, get yourself a copy now!) For some reason, her dog occasionally chews on her books (just the corner in this case, so the book was still very readable.) I later came across a nearly brand-new copy at Value Village for only $3.99, which made me very happy. (I’d be very upset if either of my cats took to chewing my books!)

A book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but when I was in grade 8 I walked out of my high school library with a book I hadn’t checked out (in my defence it wasn’t premeditated—I did it without thinking) and I never returned it. This was obviously in the days before unchecked books would set off alarm bells if you tried to walk away with them! The book in question was The Journals of Sylvia Plath, which I actually couldn’t get through at the time (I got stuck about halfway through). When I did finally read the book in its entirety several years later, it sparked a bit of an obsession with Sylvia Plath. For a while, I collected nearly all the books I could find that were written about her (as well as those she’d written, obviously). I bought The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath when the book was first published, but still haven’t gotten around to reading it!

A book that’s been with you to the most places:

In 1993, I travelled around Europe for nearly two months with a friend after we’d graduated from university and for some reason I only brought one book with me, Changing Heaven by Jane Urqhart. We were on a fairly tight budget (OK, a really tight budget), plus we didn’t want to carry too much, so I read this book extra slowly to make it last the entire trip. (I did eventually pick up another book in a second-hand bookshop in Dublin, but it wasn’t very good and I don’t even remember what it was called.) (Note that the book pictured here has a different cover than the one I own, which I unfortunately couldn’t find on the Internet.)

The most recent addition to your shelves:

The latest addition to my bookshelves is Safe Haven: The Possibility of Sanctuary in an Unsafe World by Larry Gaudet, which was given to me by my friend Helen. Helen read a bit from this book at our last writer’s meeting and it sounds quite interesting.

A bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions:

A few times now I’ve come across a book that I was really drawn to, even though I knew nothing about the author and had never heard of the book before—something about the book seemed to be calling me and I was sure I was going to love it. One such book was Ancestors by Robyn Davidson. I remember spotting it in a second-hand bookstore and knowing I had to take it home with me. I was right—I loved it. The shame of it now is that I can barely remember it, although I suppose the advantage is that it means I can enjoy it all over again!

Now it’s my turn to tag some folks (apologies if you’ve already been tagged):


  1. cute cat pic :-) i'm impressed with your bookshelf! :-)

  2. so nice to see 'a bargain for frances' again. our library has another one ("a baby sister for frances" or some suchlike) but it's not as good a story; ... i still always think of you though when i see it here on the shelves.

  3. What interesting books you shared--It really takes a while to figure out what books you want to include in that post, doesn't it? I hope to read The Time Traveler's Wife and Sylvia Plath sometime this year.

  4. This is a fun one! Thanks for the tag, I'm working on mine. I'm glad to see you enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife - it's one of my favourites.

  5. I so want to read The Time Traveller's Wife. I've heard nothing but good about it!

  6. What a good variety of books - some I haven't heard of that sound very interesting. I used to have adog that chewed books if I left them lying on the floor - most annoying when he chewed a library book. Thanks for the tag - I'll have to think about my answer.

  7. Great meme!

    See, told you I'd miss someone! You should be on that list too! So now you are. Um, the Top Commentors thingy is a blogger widget plug-in that you can import.

    Here is the site

  8. Hi! Thanks for letting me know where to find your Bookshelf meme post! I really love reading them ... each one is so different and unique and I love the stories behind the books. Makes you realize how important books are in our lives!

    And "The Time Traverler's Wife" is one of my all-time favorite books. I just thought it was brilliantly written and such a great concept perfectly executed! Thanks for sharing : )

  9. Thanks, Marie!

    Brogan, I actually bought a bunch more of the Frances books (OK, all six in the series), but this one is definitely my favourite!

    I agree, Jo-Jo, it took me quite a long time to do this meme (and then format it properly!), but it was lots of fun!

    Myckyee, I'm looking forward to reading your post! The Time Traveler's Wife was probably the best book I read in 2007.

    I highly recommend it, Shana!

    I'm looking forward to reading your post too, BooksPlease. I'm glad my cats don't chew on my books (although one of them likes to chew on plastic bags, Christmas bows and occasionally the shower curtain!).

    Yay, thanks so much, Ladytink! (I hope you didn't feel you had to add me to your list just because I commented on your post!) I tried that widget and it didn't work on my blog. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. :(

    Thanks, Jenners. If I had a scanner, I would have loved to scan some of the dedications in the old books I own. This has been one of my favourite memes, so far! It is really fun to hear the stories behind people's books.

  10. Thanks for the tag. It may take me a couple of weeks but I will get to it.
    I loved The Time Traveler's Wife too, and really want to read it again sometime.
    And I still haven't read anything by Jane Urquhart although her name has been on my radar for quite some time.

  11. Well it took me quite a while to do this but it was most enjoyable - here's the link to my answers.

  12. You're welcome, Tanabata, and no worries about taking a while (it certainly took me a while to do this meme!). I would actually recommend you try one of Jane Urqhart's more recent books first (I loved Away and a friend of mine highly recommends A Map of Glass) rather than Change of Heaven. At least, I tried to reread it recently and didn't like it nearly as much as I had the first time around.

    I thought this meme was fun to do but time-consuming as well, Margaret! I'll pop over and check your post out shortly.

  13. I checked out the original post for this, and some other people's answers, and liked the "book whose loss would traumatize you the most" question:...
    In my case well 'traumatize' is too strong, but I actually did lose the book. It was one that I'd kept for if I one day had kids... and when she was two? three? my daughter tore it to shreds. It was called 'The Lunchbox' I think or 'What's for Lunch' and was in the shape of a lunchbox. I can't find a replacement anywhere, probably long since out of print.

  14. Huh, I don't remember seeing that question -- it's a good one. I'm sorry that your book got shredded! I'm not sure what book I would be traumatized by losing. It would have to be something irreplaceable, like the bibles that used to belong to various ancestors...