What’s Your #ThisBook?

If you go to http://thisbook.com/, you can read all about The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction newest project, meant to highlight the books written by women that have impacted our lives. The website lists the choices of nineteen notable women, and it is quite interesting to see who picked which book and why. You are encouraged to nominate your choice using the #ThisBook hashtag on Twitter. The top 20 will be revealed in July.

I’ve been thinking about this for several days now, and I consider myself fortunate that I couldn’t make a quick decision. That means I’ve read a number of wonderful books from female authors over the years that have had a great influence on my life.

There is Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking—the coolest girl of my childhood. There is Jane Austen’s Persuasion, my comfort read and go-to book when I need something reliably great. There is Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, the book that introduced me to magical realism and South American literature. There is Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking, which kindled my interest in Asian history. There is Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, because I had never read anything like it.

My final choice surprised me a little bit. I have to go with Enid Blyton’s Hanni und Nanni – Alle Abenteuer (I can’t find an English edition; it’s the complete St. Clare’s series). It might not be highbrow literature, but I have wonderful memories of reading—and re-reading—all about the Sullivan twins. But here’s why I ultimately decided to pick this book: When I was 11 years old (I think), my parents gave me the hardcover edition of the complete series for Christmas. I finished reading the book by the end of January. At 2,832 pages, no book has been a match since. The Three Musketeers? 786 pages. Don Quixote? 940 pages. Kristin Lavransdatter? 1,168 pages. The Count of Monte Cristo? 1,276 pages (my favorite from this list). War and Peace? 1,392 pages.

 

Nope, after that Blyton tome, there is no book whose size could scare me off! What a difference that has made in my life…

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What’s your #ThisBook?

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10 comments

  1. I’ll just pick three off the top of my head — Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, with its perfect blend of passion and intelligence; Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, for its musical, magical playing with narrative; The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin, fiction with the impact of myth.

  2. That’s a great list. I want to read the House of Spirits, it will be my second book by Isabel Allende. Also I’m planning on reading Nights at the Circus for the Angela Carter Week. I hope it will leave the same impression on me as it did on you.

    • Nights at the Circus continues to be my favorite Angela Carter book. I’m looking forward to your review in June. And I hope you’ll enjoy The House of the Spirits. It was made into an excellent movie, too. It’s one of the rare times when I liked the movie as much as the book.

  3. Wow, that is a long book! But I’m sure if you really loved it, you didn’t feel the length at all. I’ve read both Anna Karenina and the Count of Monte Cristo, but I felt the length of AK the most. I’m slowly working on War and Peace right now and trying not to think about how long it is, so I can just enjoy it.

    • I think part of why I have such fond memories of that book is that I could just sit back and read for hours on end. Now I am glad if I can squeeze in a full hour. 🙂 I hope you like War and Peace. There are parts where the book feels long…

  4. I love this idea, but there are so many, I would have to think about it for a LONG time. I liked reading your thought process on how you came up with yours!

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