Saturday, September 29, 2007

Book meme

Lisa tagged me, and since it's about books, I can't resist.

Total number of books?

Between hubby and me, somewhere over a thousand, would be my guess.

Last book read?

Lottery, by Patricia Wood.

Last book bought?

No Place Safe, which I got from Amazon yesterday. It is a page-turner!! Stay tuned for a chat with the author, Kim Reid, right here on Monday.

Five meaningful books?

This is a hard one. I'm going to surprise you with my first one and say: Valley of the Dolls. It, itself, wasn't so meaningful, but it represents all the trashy books I used to read in junior high when my family was falling apart and I needed a place to hide. My mother and her insurance office co-workers used to trade books by writers like Jacqueline Susann, Harold Robbins, and Sidney Sheldon. I'd read whatever she brought home. Most people had To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for their YA reading. I had The Other Side of Midnight. Thankfully, she moved on to Stephen King, and I spent 10th grade reading The Shining and The Stand, amongst others. I used to go to gym class and tell the girls his stories in the locker room.

Another YA shocker: Gone with the Wind. Weird, I know. Weird for a young black girl to be enamored of a book that puts such a false gloss on slavery. The happy singing slaves made me cringe, but I loved Scarlett. She was smart and strong in a world that didn't want its women smart and strong, and I related to that. And the ending used to make me weep for her. Now I'm with Rhett: if they take that long to love you back, the hell with 'em.

Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, by Bebe Moore Campbell. My role model.

A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson. When my mother was dying of breast cancer, we saw Williamson on Oprah, and my mother got all excited about this book and decided I could read it to her (cancer had spread to her brain, blinding her). I ordered the book from a little indie (this was before Amazon). It came in about a week later, but by that time, my mother had lost interest in most things attached to this world. I read the book myself after she died.

Waiting to Exhale, by Terry McMillan. It's the one that opened the door for writers like me. I remember buying it in hardcover soon after my mother's death, and wanting it because the protagonist starts out in Denver and works in PR. I live in Denver and worked in PR at the time! It was a match made in heaven.

Five people to tag:

Sassy Sistah
Tayari Jones
Iyan and Egusi Soup
Judy Merril Larsen
Jamie Ford

Hope y'all can play!


Ello said...

Won't it be great in a year when a meme like this goes around and your book is a last book purchased or a meaningful book? I'm sure it will! I can't wait to read it.

iyan and egusi soup: said...


i can't find the words for the story about your mom and a return to love...i do thank you for sharing it.

there is something about marianne williamson that inspires me, though i haven't read her works. it must be the "our deepest fear..." quote.

thank you for the tag. it'll be my first post after the hiatus. :)

Sassy Sistah said...

Love your answers, Carleen! I've loved most of those books too. I'm going to play tomorrow - I hope! I'm still soooo busy these days!

Sustenance Scout said...

Carleen, Thanks for sharing that memory of your mom...and for your lists of favorites.

I read a lot of "grown-up" books my big sister brought home, LOL! And some of them certainly were memorable. Stephen King was definitely a little beyond my years but I'm so glad I read him back then; what a storyteller.

Lisa said...

You're going to laugh, but I read The Valley of the Dolls too, along with that same era of paperbacks that included The Carpetbaggers, The Other Side of Midnight, The Happy Hooker, The Exorcist, The Godfather and Coffee, Tea or Me? Freshman year in history class a boy told me to read Carrie, by Stephen King and I was hooked for the next decade :)

Sassy Sistah said...

My answers are up.

Hey to Lisa...I read and liked all of those books too. Some of them may not have been "meaningful" but they were fun to read just the same. We gotta have some side dishes with the main course, you know!

Sherry Smyth said...

Carleen, most of the books you mentioned I've read and enjoyed. I read a lot of "mature subject matter" as a teen! It gave me the world as seen by adults. I'm loving the reasons you enjoyed "Gone With the Wind", you left the negative aspects of the book aside and focussed on the positive of a characters spirit and strength. I too was touched by your story of your mother and the Marianne Williamson book and I am glad that you decided to read the book even though your mother had lost interest. I look forward to reading your book.

Therese said...

Carleen, your early reading selections are very much like mine--almost all commercial fiction, which I suspect has a lot to do with why I'm now writing it...

I'm sorry about your mother; I lost mine to bladder cancer. Cancer SUCKS, how's that for literary?

Carleen Brice said...

I also read some of the "good stuff." I was in school, after all, but yes the reading I did at home was pretty commercial.

Therese, yes cancer does suck! Sorry to hear about your mom.

Carleen Brice said...

Ello, thanks for the vote of confidence!

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