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Welcome back to 5 Books with…, our semi-regular feature exploring the literary habits of our editors, writers, and commenters. As a bookish and clever gang, we love hearing what you’re reading and maybe more importantly, what you’re recommending. 

This segment is with @freckle, a long time commenter, writer, and part of the Persephone moderating team.  If you haven’t seen her around, I’m gonna guess that you’re new here. You should totally make her acquaintance.

1. Which book would you give to a potential significant other?

Moonwalking with Einstein by Josha Foer Book Cover Art

Can it be a SO without the potential? If so: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. This because of several reasons: Him forgetting everything (how late are we supposed to be there, where’s my phone, do we still have bread?), his huge (professional) interest in how the brain works and to surprise him with the fact that ANYTHING can be turned into a competition (like remembering). Sometimes he’s very naive on that subject.

If it has to be a potential SO: How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by Christopher Boucher. Because it’s weird and wonderful and amazing. A PSO will have to be able to show s/he can put his ideas and emotions into words (very attractive), might show a love for the possibilities of the imagination while at the same time recognizing that a father’s love shouldn’t be viewed as lesser than a mother’s one. It’s family, the extraordinary and freedom of thought all in one.

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2. Which book would you give to a high school senior?

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James Book Cover Art

The Book of Night Women

by Marlon James. I guess a high school senior is used to getting motivational or How To stuff, but I would rather underline (or add, if it’s necessary) what a senior has learned in its time at school. The post-racial society doesn’t exist. Slavery wasn’t that long ago. This book is tough, but I rather throw away someone’s pink coloured glasses when they’re still susceptible to different views.

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3. Which book would you give to your political representatives?

An image of Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran Foer Book Cover Art

A toss up between Brave New World and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I’ll go with the second one because I hope to inspire to good things, not worse things. Before the economical crisis there were big plans for environment, animals and the food of human beings. Now they only talk about money, silently slip ideas about mega stables past the people and shrug when someone brings the environment up. And hey, shouldn’t our leaders be an example? I’m all for more politicians admitting that they’re flexitarian or vegetarian, it might help.

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4. Which book would you give to a former teacher?

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Book Cover Art

The Picture of Dorian Gray, to my teacher English. Not only because I feel so URGH about Catcher in the Rye, but because I believe people will like this better. Because the hint of magic but without making it fantasy. Because at first glance it’s clear, but there are enough layers to ask questions about (oh comprehensive reading, how I loved you). Because Oscar Wilde has a fascinating story that could well be linked to History classes and to show “those youths” that heterosexuality isn’t a new thing. And Mr. Bouma is the right guy to show the 360 on all of these aspects.

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5. Which book would you give to your best friend?

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman Book Cover Art

Shit. Because I know she already read The Hobbit, I’m going to go with Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman. She’s slowly making her way into the fantasy genre, but I want her to know that there’s such a thing as contemporary fantasy as well. It could well be that because it was such a new experience for me, or the amazing radioplay, but I continue to have fond memories of the world building and characters. She can learn that the exotic can be nearby (underneath our feet) and the unlikely hero trope can be done in a fun way.

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