The Bookshelf Meme — taken from A Striped Armchair:
1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.
The book that’s been on your shelves the longest:
This honor would probably have to go the hardcover editions of Where’s Waldo? my sister and I received as children, many of them from our grandparents. I know we’ve had them since I was probably around eight years old and have read through them many, many times — especially when my cousin Ciara finally became old enough to read and enjoy them, too! I know I have several other children’s books and Bernstein Bears books that have been hanging around since before I was literate.
A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):
Wow! This could be a massive list stretching on forever. A few: I read Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones on summer vacation a few years ago, and every time I see the cover peeking out on my bookshelf I think about curling up at our beach house, listening to the rain pounding the roof as we all hunkered down from off the beach. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway takes me right back to my British literature class from my junior year of college, plunking me down in those hard-backed chairs in that cold classroom with an equally cold professor. I adored the book, though. I poured through Pam Houston’s Sight Hound the summer I interned for a daily newspaper in D.C., looking forward to climbing aboard the commuter bus so I could pick up where I left off. When I started crying toward the end of the novel, I was crying for a lot of reasons that summer — and not all of them had to do with the passing of a pet. Some of them did, though. Sight Hound is totally warped now — my sister accidentally dropped it in the Atlantic Ocean! It’s okay, though; I think it has more character this way. And I once dropped one of her books in the ocean, so that’s fair enough.
A book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):
After going through a really rough break-up, my mom left a copy of How to Survive the Loss of a Love on my bed. It’s one of the most powerful, moving books I’ve ever read — and not at all like a “self-help” manual, though that’s really what it is. It’s full of beautiful, practical poetry by Peter McWilliams that, at the time, just shored up my breaking heart. I thought it was fate she chose it for me, and I think about the passages in it often!
The most recent addition to your shelves:
Just this morning I came into work to find a copy of Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore on my desk. It was a Book Mooch from a few weeks ago, and I’m really excited to read it! I’ve gotten into political fiction lately. Especially the chick lit variety. (See: Party Favors)
The book whose loss would tramatize you the most:
Probably my signed copy of Belong To Me. I worship Marisa de los Santos! I’m also very partial to my copies of the Twilight Saga (my sister might say obsessively) and my poetry books from college. There are quite a few from my creative writing program I would feel totally jolted over losing!
A book that’s been with you to the most places:
Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father travelled around England and most of Italy with me, so that one probably wins the honor! My copies of New Moon and Eclipse travelled through Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, though. And Jane Eyre spent a good deal of time with me in California. But President-elect Obama wins for making it to a foreign country!
A bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions:
I feel like I don’t ever discuss Jonathan Safran Foer’s outstanding books as much as I should! Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one of the first novels I remember reading with a hand pressed to my heart, afraid that if I moved too much while immersed in that story my body would shatter. It’s terribly moving. Everything Is Illuminated also helped me distinguish, in my own mind, what separates a competent writer from a great writer. That book changed my life!
If you’re interested in this meme, consider yourself officially tagged by me!