The Bookshelf Meme

It’s been (literally) a month, and two entire blog pages, since I posted a “book review” – i.e. one of those random posts where I stick the cover of a book at the top, and then ramble off on various tangents, and sometimes get around to discussing what I thought of the actual book. But I am BWO – blogging without obligation – and sorry to say, I don’t feel obligated to complete books just so I can post new things on this blog.

Anyhow, today I happen to be in a meme-ing mood, and there is a great one by Eva from A Striped Armchair doing its rounds lately, so I’ve considered myself tagged. Brace yourselves for lengthy references to my favourite childhood books and books that are only slightly related to the question.

The book that’s been on your shelf the longest

I don’t know where to begin with this question. Although many of my old books are long gone from my shelves, those that are much too “loved” (i.e. damaged) to be given away still remain, and these are the books that I cherished most as a child. There’s Kipper’s Toybox, a scribbled-in (my sister did it) copy of Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes, a vintage illustrated Bible bought at a Christmas fair in which Moses has an orange tan, and Miriam is a blonde Julie Christie like figure.

Then there’s an extremely battered copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. I’d forgotten all about this book until I read Eva’s own response about those Scholastic book order forms. Ah, those bring back fond memories. They were dangerous slips of paper though – often, I would be drawn in by the sparkling promotional [plastic] necklaces, and “Pony Lover” sets which included glittery stationary and my own mini horse figure. When I was about six, there was one catalogue which promoted a richly illustrated copy of The Jungle Book – or so I thought. When it arrived, and I eagerly flicked through the book, I found not illustrations, but page after page of small prose. Nevertheless, I grew to love Mowgli and Bagheera and Baloo and even the cunning Shere Khan, over time. The copy I own is the Apple Classics edition; sadly I wasn’t able to find a picture on the net.

Ooh, and another of my oldest books is Fairyland Tales: A Bluebird Fairy Story Book, which is this wonderfully kitsch fairytale book from the 1970s that my mum’s friend once gave me. I used to own so many of them, but I presume they’ve all been given away to younger cousins and family friends (without my permission). My favourite was Dean’s Gift Book of Fairy Tales, 1967; I no longer own it, but I’ve been searching for another copy for years and years now. It must have been these vintage books that filled me with fauxtalgia for the 60s and 70s, because I’m a 90s child myself :)

A book that reminds you of something specific in your life

I think I wrote something similar a few weeks back for Booking Through Thursday, but I’m happy to talk about my various reading experiences, so here’s another:

The first time I read Mrs Dalloway was in April of this year, over a long weekend – three days of beautiful autumn weather. I live in the Southern Hemisphere, in case anyone’s wondering. The first day, a Saturday, was spent in the garden reading. On Sunday, I went on a picnic with my family and I delved into the minds of Clarissa Dalloway and Peter Walsh amidst crocuses, Japanese maples and the heady fragrance of crisp autumn air. Oh, and how could I forget the pale-blue skies? The next day, not completely unexpected, came the rain. Australian weather is so very temperamental. So Monday was spent inside, munching on macademia & white chocolate chip cookies – with warm honey milk tea, of course. It took me those three days to complete Mrs Dalloway, and everytime I re-read the book, I am taken back to that short but blissful holiday.

A book you acquired in some interesting way

A few days ago, I entered my very first giveaway, hosted by the generous Matthew of A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook and I won a copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. I suppose that’s not very interesting for those of you who regularly enter giveaways, but I love winning things, and it made me quite happy! (let’s just hope I never get hooked on gambling). Hm, I can’t really say I’ve acquired books in interesting ways, because most of mine have just been purchased from the bookstore, or from bazaars and fairs and things like that. Or given to me by family friends and relatives.

The most recent addition to your shelves

Last week I purchased four new books, which I blogged about here. Soon, I will be buying:

  • The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer – for the Really Old Classics challenge
  • War and Peace, Tolstoy – for the 9 in 2009 challenge
  • Elizabeth I: A Biography, Anne Somerset – because I want to

The book whose loss would traumatise you the most

How could I possibly choose one? I suppose it’s not an “if” question for me, though. Because I’ve been traumatised by books that I’ve lost. See above: Dean’s Gift Book of Fairy Tales. I lament the loss everytime I think of fairytales, which is surprisingly often. All of my books are paperbacks, so they are easily replaceable. I suppose the most traumatising losses would be my expensive art books. The ones filled with lush illustrations; the ones out of print and so very hard to find.

A book that’s been with you to the most places

My worn copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s survived seven moves, two decades and four countries.

A bonus book that you want to talk about that doesn’t fit into the other questions

Oh! Actually this book fits into the first question, but I have a copy of Michael Bond’s Paddington’s Favourite Stories, which I absolutely adored as a child. That’s all I really wanted to say.

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4 thoughts on “The Bookshelf Meme

  1. Ah, wow, the Ashton Scholastic book order forms at school! They were great. I’d forgotten about them. I still have the (very battered) copy of Michel Ende’s ‘The Neverending Story’ I got through them when the film came out some time in the early ’80s. There were always way more books to be had than my parents would pay for, though.

    1. I think everyone looks fondly back on those Scholastic forms.

      There were always way more books to be had than my parents would pay for, though.

      That’s exactly what I loved about them! Always too much to choose from. Better more than less as I see it :)

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