Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Books for Bonding

I have been trying to get back into the writing groove, so here's a short list of books that have helped me bond with my friends. Not all of them are the type you'd expect, either. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. I first read this way back in sixth grade. I didn't own a copy so I borrowed Gobbie Salvana's. Everyone in our barkada read it. Over and over and over. Our barkada expanded, and not every new addition to the group read it, but those who owned copies read it, and watched it, and collected the dvds.

2. Frank Herbert's Dune. For the same reasons as in #1. It is also dear to me because it was one of the first topics that brought TDM and myself together (I was explaining why the Bene Gesserit sisterhood made such great secret agents and deserve their own movie).

3. Rhonda Byrne's The Secret. While there are a million other inspirational books on sale, this particular book got my Accountability Group together and helped put us in Abundance Thinking mode. Of course it's a daily challenge to maintain Abundance Thinking, but it's helped us deal with a fair amount of stress. I'd like to think I've learned how to manage my expectations so that I will either make better choices or learn to be more patient or create opportunities which did not previously exist. Any of these outcomes is something to be grateful for, because there's a great big value to these lessons learned.

4. Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams and The Poisonwood Bible. Almond and I don't always have the same taste in books, but I associate Animal Dreams with her. She introduced me to a wonderful writer, deeply in touch with her characters and settings. I have since picked up Kingsolver's other titles, notably The Poisonwood Bible, and have come away delighted with my choices. I associate The Poisonwood Bible with my friend Blanca Amado, who lent it to me when we were both living in Canberra. It was one of those books that she sent around to her friends by post, her way of having a library in the mail. I posted it to her in-laws in Sydney. If only Philpost were that reliable, I would be more generous with lending out my books the same way.

5. Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. I associate this book with Amy, because she lent me her copy in the early 90s. There is a scene in this book that I can't forget, where the heroine as a little girl crosses a dark bridge on her way home, and experiences an epiphany that she carries over into her adult life as a sculptress. Margaret Atwood is a highly regarded Canadian poet and novelist, and I have most of her books to date. I feel her sentences running through my head like cool water. If you enjoy short stories, Atwood rewrote the Bluebeard myth, in her book Bluebeard's Egg & Other Short Stories.

6. The Diary of Anais Nin, Vols. 1 & 2. When I was at the hospital, Reg noticed I brought the Vol. 2 with me to read while waiting. It turns out that Bear enjoyed reading Nin's Diary too! And we both watched the movie Henry and June prior to looking for the books. Imagine their amazement when I told them it was my mom who owned a copy of Delta of Venus. Reg was further surprised to learn that the UP Main Library had the other books I'd read, namely Children of the Albatross and House of Incest. If you do not enjoy Anais Nin's very literary erotica, you would enjoy her Diaries, because she was a unique product of her time. An excellent diarist. My Vol. 1 came from, the Vol. 2 was a previously owned book from

7. James Herriot's All Things Bright and Beautiful (series). If you love amusing stories about animals and how they loved to confound the local British veterinarian, these heartwarming tales are for you. I associate these books with my dad, because he used to howl with laughter at the end of each chapter. I would describe these as Reader's Digest-friendly tales. They're actually great for beach or airport reading.

There are more, but I am being called to dinner. To be continued.