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Monday, December 06, 2010

Emma Thompson's Booklist

About a month ago, I did a post about the social networking book site, You Are What You Read. You Are What You Read asks participants for five books that "shaped your life."


This seems to be a theme! O The Oprah Magazine [MAG O] online has recently reprinted a November 2003 article, "Emma Thompson's Books That Made a Difference." In it, Thompson, the British actress who starred in films such as Love Actually [DVD LOV], Much Ado About Nothing [DVD MUC], Nanny McPhee [DVD NAN], and Sense and Sensibility [DVD SEN], lists seven books and her reasons for selecting them. An interesting mix of titles to be sure:


1. The Tale of Mr. Tod by Beatrix Potter [JP POT GREEN DOT].
Reading it as an adult is a great treat, but looking back, I see that it started me on all my childhood reading—C.S. Lewis, Alan Garner, Joan Aiken, the people I read with such compulsion.

2. The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [MYS DOY].
I used to get tonsillitis until I had my tonsils taken out. After which, of course, I got bronchitis. I'd lie in bed with cream of celery soup in a can and read these stories.
3. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.
Certainly, I was shocked and scared by Naked Lunch, but what it did was open my mind up.
4. Three Guineas by Viginia Woolf.
Reading the book gave me the feeling that higher education sometimes stifled questions, and that the best type of instruction makes you able to ask the right questions and to continue asking those questions for the rest of your life.
5. Season of Blood by Fergal Keane.
It's the response of a profoundly civilized man to one of the largest and least talked about genocides of the last century.
6. Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall by Spike Milligan.
I put this book in because it made me laugh till I was nearly sick.
7. The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox [F KNO].
This is the story of a man who finds an angel in his vineyard and who meets the angel every year on the same night for the rest of his life. It's about their discoveries over time, and in the end, it's a quite extraordinary portrait of a fallen angel.
So what books have made a difference in your life?

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