Thursday, August 09, 2007

I would like to get completely off-topic for a change (I won't do this often at all).

I am a Disney-addict, as you all know, but I have another addiction that I must confess: books. I never ever stop reading and am quite eclectic in my choices. I am sharing this with you, because the addiction is so strong that the first thing I usually do when I visit the house of friends is to spend a lot of time in front of their bookshelves to understand what they are currently reading and what they've read, in the hope of knowing them better and of discovering a few books that I had never thought of and that might sparkle my interest (I am rarely disappointed and always have at least a hundred un-read books on my shelves even though I usually devour with pleasure two or three per week).

All this to say that I do not have access to your bookshelves, but that I would like you to share with me - through the comments feature on this post - the books that were the most important in your lives, for whatever reasons (style, subject, particular scenes, author,...)

Here are mine (listed in no particular order). Do note that some were read in my teens, others in my twenties and others way more recently. They all have something in common though: I felt either more happiness or more awareness after having read them, to a degree that was way above the one I had experienced with the other books I discovered throughout the years. They are some of the key books of my life.


- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- Ana Terra by Erico Verissimo
- To Kill a Moking Bird by Harper Lee
- Magister Ludi by Herman Hesse
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Le Lion (The Lion) by Joseph Kessel
- Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene
- Memoires d'une Jeune Fille Rangee (Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter) by Simone de Beauvoir
- War and Peace by Leon Tolstoi
- Magellan by Stefan Zweig
- Le Comte de Monte Christo (The Count of Monte Cristo) by Alexandre Dumas
- Letters to Olga by Vaclav Havel
- L'Or (Gold) by Blaise Cendrars


Unknown said...

Ok, D...

The Westinghouse Game
The Ender Series (Orson Scott Card)
The Alvin Maker Series (Orson Scott Card)
Beach Music (Pat Conroy)
Harry Potter
To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)
Timeline (Michael Crichton)
Doomsday Book (Connie Willis)

Here is the link to my Library Thing account:

It mostly lists the Disney-related and Star Wars books that I own.

I am sure that I have forgotten more books than most people have read!

DisneyDave said...

Besides my interest in Walt Disney, my other interest is military history, specifically World War II history.

I was a frequent contributor to Primedia's World War II magazine before the publication was sold to the Weider History Group. Besides reading about military history, I have also conducted interviews with probably close to four dozen WW II veterans from all branches of the service.

So, it follows that my interest is mainly non-fiction, and besides Disney, WW II is the predominant theme.

Here's my list of recent reads:

1) 33 Months as a POW by General Albert P. Clark. Tells of his time at Stalag Luft III, the German-run POW camp constructed to hold captured Allied airmen.

2) The Longest Winter by Alex Kershaw. The life and death struggle of Lieutenant Lyle Bouck and his platoon as soldiers and then prisoners captured during the Battle of the Bulge.

3) Uncommon Valor, Common Virtue by Hal Buell. The story of Joe Rosenthal and his photo of the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima.

4) Holding Juno by Mark Zuehlke. The second of his three books detailing Canada's heroic actions on Juno Beach on D-Day.

5) Dresden by Frederick Taylor. The tragic story of the senseless destruction of Dresden by successive Allied bomber strikes on February 13th and 14th, 1945.

6) Training For Bloody Omaha by Richard Hathaway. I was able to interview Mr. Hathaway shortly before his death. He was the Assault Section Leader, 1st Assault Section, 1st Platoon, A Company, 5th Ranger Battalion. His memoir documents Ranger training pre-June 6th, 1945 and the actions of his unit from their landing at Omaha Beach until June 9th, 1944.

7) Reflections of Courage on D-Day by Charles "Ace" Parker. Mr. Parker was 1st Lieutenant and A Company Commander, 5th Ranger Battalion. An extraordinary tale of the assault at Omaha, the bloody battle for Irsch-Zerf and the closing days of the war in Europe.

8) A Stranger to Myself by Willy Peter Reese. A young German is drafted into the German Army to serve on the Russian Front. The story is told through letters and a diary discovered by one of his family members decades after his disappearance and presumed death in Russia. This book touched me deeply. Mr. Reese had an extraordinary way with words - his descriptions of his environment, his comrades, the suffering and the war in general are the most poetic and touching I have ever read.

Besides the two or three books my wife and I read to our children every night before bedtime, the above books represent my most recent reads.

Didier Ghez said...

George: I am also a big Scott Card fan (fan of his non-mormon fiction that is) and am awaiting impatiently the last Alvin Maker installment. I was also addicted to Harry Potter. What is The Westinghouse Game? I can't seem to find that one anywhere.

David: Thanks for this. My father was / is the WWII specialist in the family. I might however pick up at some point in the future the last book in your list.

Jennifer said...

A few of mine right off the top of my head (most of which I haven't read in many years, but have really stuck with me):

Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown.

The Beebo Brinker series, by Ann Bannon.

Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein.

Volunteer Slavery, by Jill Nelson.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by CS Lewis.

The Dialectic of Sex, by Shulasmith Firestone.

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (various authors but mostly Legs McNeil)

Unknown said...


It is the Westing Game. 1979 Newberry award winner by Ellen Raskin. It is one of the first books that I remember reading and really enjoying.

I must've been thinking about appliances!

Didier Ghez said...

Jennifer: I have definitely added Volunteer Slavery on my wish list.

George: I this I will enjoy the Westing Game too.

Thanks to both of you!