Bookface book challenge: “Ten books that have stayed with you in some way.” I’ve extended the challenge to lots of books ‘that have stayed with me in some way’ plus useless cliff-note-style biographical notes. Here are my Aberystwyth university years.
*The Bible – Old Testament – I had to re-read this for my English Lit. Honours – coming from a Catholic country I hadn’t paid much attention to it. When I did, I was really rather taken aback.
* Complete Poems by ee cummings – In the first year of my English Lit. Degree ee cummings was on a handout I received; we didn’t study cummings though. So, I went to the library and found a mahoosive book—The Complete Poems of ee cummings—and read it in the corner near the window while the rain belted down outside for hours and hours. And I thought the world was a mystery again, because I didn’t know poems like these existed; I was so happy to find them. These poems changed me. I’d love a copy of this book. Hint. Hint.
* The Lover by Marguerite Duras – I was, as per usual, wasting time reading non-prescribed texts on my English Lit. Degree and had to go to the National Library in Aberystwyth to read this one. I opened this book and did not move off my seat before I finished it. One of the most engrossing reads of my life. She sure does know how to spin a yarn. Excellent. Cadence abounds.
*Surfacing by Margaret Atwood – This was on my first year uni reading list. I read it very close to the exams. Running around like a looper that finals month, with twenty books under my arm in one go, having spent SO MUCH of first year just reading whatever I wanted to. I could have flunked out. Honestly. Right before the Literary Theory exam I read this book and my mind was blown. I had to then re-read The Awakening by Kate Chopin the morning of my exam, and I think The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman … just so I could formulate a rather scrambled together answer should feminism come up. It did. I got to stay in uni. The rest of my uni years, I read the books on the booklists first. Such a distractible kitten; me.
*Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote – Very different from the film. She’s a prostitute. He’s a gigolo. Perfect prose.
*No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre – I worked on a production of this play. Not for the faint-hearted. Existentialism – you may have to live it; but I love it.
*Look Back in Anger by John Osborne – I assistant directed this play in uni. Great for me because it was on my finals, and I knew it by heart. A seminal work of theatre and writing. Do read it, or at the very least watch it. It’s visceral and I advise a light lunch beforehand.
*Virginia Woolf and James Joyce – I had read pretty much all of Woolf before I started uni. Joyce not so much. We did some of Dubliners in Secondary School and that boring teacher but me off Joyce by going on and on about how difficult he was. Much the same as uni professors put me off Proust. I don’t find it a remarkable teaching method to tell (berate) students (with) how much above their intellect something is. Exhale. I admit to coming to Joyce late. But when I got to him, I came.
*Eden by Eugene O’Brien – One of the best plays ever written – fact. Read it. Even better. See it.