Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

ten books

Well. Michele at Scholar's Blog says World Book Day is coming up soon in the UK, and that they want to know what ten books you couldn't live without. That's a tough one, but I'll give it a shot. This list is a mix of personal and professional books--professionally, I also can't live without M.H. Abrams' Glossary of Literary Terms, or the Norton Anthology of English Literature (or, currently, the Broadview Anthology of British Literature, take your pick), or the lovely MLA Approaches to Teaching Children's Literature. This semester I can't live without some Anne Lamott and Stephen King on writing, or without Tennyson. But this more mixed list would hold me through a sabbatical as well as a teaching year, I think.

(Also seen at: The Miss Rumphious Effect and Big A, Little A, so far.)

Persuasion, Jane Austen (but if I could have all six Austen novels bound together, I'd take them all)
A good study Bible.
The Book of Common Prayer (especially the one I have, which also has a hymnal in it)
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
Middlemarch, George Eliot
Grimm's Fairy Tales
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
Gilead, Marilynn Robinson
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

Even as I get ready to push "publish" I wonder, would I rather have Great Expectations than Jane Eyre? Adam Bede rather than Middlemarch? Could I recite the Sendak book and save that spot for Dickens? Where's Charlotte's Web, which I have called--more than once--a perfect novel? Pullman made the list because he inspired my current research project, but would I really rather read Pratchett? I'm not taking this to be the only books I'd ever have, just the ones I most need, for whatever reason. But enough. I'd probably do it differently tomorrow, but this is today's list and it's done.

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