Wednesday, February 29, 2012

what's on my bookshelf wednesday {8}

Week 8:  Last dining room bookshelf

That bookshelf on the right holds a bunch of Vonnegut, Steinbeck, Bradbury, Twain, and some other random fiction.  Maybe I haven't told you this before, but Mark Twain was kind of a big deal (to put it mildly) at my college.  He did a bunch of writing in the Elmira, NY region, where his wife's family was from, and his octagonal writing studio is housed on-campus.  We spent a lot of time learning to appreciate all things Clemens during our years as undergrads, so I kind of have to choose at least one Twain work to feature from this shelf.

- I guess I have to go with the obvious--Huck Finn.  As sick of Twain as I may have felt after a couple of semesters of having him shoved down my throat at every turn, there is just no denying that the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a brilliantly written classic.  The humor is so deftly woven into some pretty darn serious subject matter, and Twain really gets to show off his power of allusion throughout the whole book.  It's great.  If you haven't read it, you should. 
- My second choice this week is Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.  I love that frickin' book, and I was absolutely in love with the movie as a child.  I used to try to create my own southern belle style dresses by layering every skirt I owned on top of each other and then twirling in front of the television screen along with Scarlett and Melanie.  The VHS copy of the movie we owned was taped from TV, so I also associate all these nostalgic feelings with various Campbell's Soup and Toys'R'Us commercials that ran in between segments of the film.  The copy of Gone With the Wind that sits on our bookshelf is old and yellowing, a keepsake taken from Mike's grandmother's expansive library when she passed away several years ago.  If you haven't read it, let me assure that there is absolutely nothing embarrassing about reading it and getting swoony and angry and devastated all at once.  Do it.

Are any of you Mark Twain fans?  Any Elmira alums out there who have been able to appreciate Mr. Clemens even after all those years of forced reading? 


  1. Forget your questions about Twain, I'd much rather discuss my deep and abiding love for Gone with the Wind! Dear heaven above, I adore that book. I can't even count the number of times I've read it. Or seen it. And cried every single time.

    Also, nice blog makeover!

  2. This is one of my favorite shelves in the house because it holds the Steinbeck and the Vonnegut.

    John Steinbeck is absolutely my favorite American author. East of Eden, Cannery Row, Grapes of Wrath...the man is brilliant. And if non-fiction's your thing, check out Travels with Charley, which is just a travel log of driving across the entire country with only a truck and a dog, while avoiding every major highway. Good stuff.

    Vonnegut was my favorite author as a teenager, and while I've grown out of him just slightly, I still love the guy. The little Easter eggs he leaves his dedicated readers are great connectors between novels (much like Stephen King). The sayings that get stuck in your head forever, like "so it goes". And he's one of the only authors I know of that I can cite the first and last lines of his most famous book off the top of my head (Slaughter-house Five: First line, "Billy Pilgrim became unstuck in time"; last line, "And the bird said 'Poo-too-weet'").

  3. I have to second Joie's comment--hate Mark Twain, but LOVE LOVE LOVE Gone with the Wind. I used to watch the movie with my grandmother, so like you, I have lots of warm memories of the movie and I so enjoyed the book. Such a classic!!