Book lists are important – Christina Carlson

Christina Carlson 

Book lists are important. When I was in grad school, we would exchange lists of our top five favorite books on first dates; if the lists didn’t pass muster, there was no second date. [Symbol] The books we love give insight into who we are, so I think it’s a useful exercise in self-knowing to identify our favorite books and what they might say about us. These are mine:

  1. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte. Gave hope of finding true love to bookish girls everywhere. Basis for my first published article, as well as a high school paper that earned an A+ despite the fact that I used “their/there/they’re” incorrectly throughout. (Thank you Ms. Longo!)
  1. To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf. My favorite of all her novels—a work of true beauty. It was also my first introduction to modernism, so I felt it upped my game as an English major. And, it helped me earn a distinction on my PhD comps. (Thank you, Dr. Steiner!)
  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Another stunningly beautiful novel. My first introduction to magic realism—mind officially blown. Stood at a bus stop in the cold reading rather than wait the five minutes it took to walk home because the ending was just that compelling and I had to finish it. (Thank you Mr. Ostrowski!)
  1. The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon. This is a bit of an outlier on my list. Truthfully, I don’t remember much beyond the fact that I thought it was the cleverest things I’d ever read, hands down, and that it reminded me a little of Gatsby on acid. I won’t read it again because I’m afraid I won’t like it the second time! (Thank you Dr. Hala!)
  1. Possession, AS Byatt. The softer side of post-modernism—this is what a Booker Prize winner looks like. Knew about it in college but actually read it on a graduation cruise. It was worth the wait. (Thank you Dr. Kolmar, and Princess Cruise Lines for keeping it in your library!)

So what do you think—any surprises? Questions? I think this blog is interactive, so let me know…