Over at the Literate Kitten blog people are reading short stories and talking about their favorites. (I like how you can read a short story while waiting in line someplace) You can read an entire anthology of short fiction while in line to enjoy some ride at Disneyland, and you can read a thick novel while in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Manhattan. I know this to be true because I have done all three. People can get fussy while waiting in line, but the line moves along like a dream when you are absorbed in a good story. You lose time somehow and you never get that feeling like you are wasting time, waiting, like the guy who is twitching and muttering. The person in line absorbed in a book is the little inlet of calm in a sea of stress.
Once when I had an accident and the paramedics were taking me from my house to the ambulance, I realized I might be bookless at the hospital while they were patching me up! I sent ambulance man #1 back into the house to grab a book (ANY book) and bring it to me. At that time there were about 400 books in my living room, and he returned quickly with a novel by Jack Kerouac. What a great guy.
Once I accidently checked my book bag at an airport, (and could not get it back or go to a newsstand for some paperbacks.) All I had in my handbag was Goethe's "Faust"-- It was a ten+ hour flight-- I memorized Goethe's "Faust" and tried reading it upsidedown for awhile, and then read my seatmate's paperback about Savvy Investing. I come from a very long line of readaholics.
My favorite books would have to include all reference books, travel guides and atlases. I have been addicted to these since early childhood. One of my favorites was a traveler's phrasebook that took care of a dozen different countries and languages. Then come the classics, women's studies & social sciences, mass market fiction, biographies, and the occasional sci fi, horror, or mystery.
The Big Golden Book of Poetry, (seen here with a few of my favorite things) was the first book I ever owned. When traveling as a kid, even as I got a bit older, it was the first book to go in the suitcase.
I guess I should stop with the reminiscences already and list a few current favorite books -- this is just my "Random List No.1" -- a true reader's dozen of books that could be dipped into or re-read anytime, anyplace.
1. The Poems of Baudelaire
2. Are You Somebody? by Nuala O'Faolain
3. Bronx Primitive by Kate Simon
4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
5. The Big Windows by Peader O'Donnell
6. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
7 .Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sara Wheeler
8. This Place on Third Avenue: The New York Stories of John McNulty
9. America's Women by Gail Collins
10. The Orchard by Adele Crockett Robertson
11. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
12. A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell
13. La Bete Humaine by Emile Zola
14. Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
Please share some of your favorites.