Picking just 1 actually was painful - LCM

I am participating in a workshop next week that is part of an ongoing series at our library on undergraduate research. I won't bore you with the details (not that it's the least bit boring...actually it's kind of fascinating) but I did want to let you in on one of the assignments we had to do pre-workshop. We were each asked to pick a book (and take a pic :) that is 'meaningful' to us. When I first read this assignment, my mind immediately jumped to The Portrait of a Lady...for obvious reasons. It actually did change the course of my life (I was contemplating getting an MA in English...after reading this book, I knew I had to study lit., which led me to Rochester, which is where I met KJ and Chris, my 2 very best friends, which is where I live and have my life and job and home now). The book above is the exact one I read...edited by the leading authority on James, Leon Edel...tattered, beat up, highlighted and underlined to death...read 3 times. Again, an obvious choice.

But then...as I stared down the line at my other books, I realized picking one was just ...stupid. How could I ignore Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, possibly the single greatest piece of non-fiction, I've ever read. Or Charles Dickens Bleak House...probably my single greatest reading feat (2 days, 12 hours/day, non-stop reading, 800+ pages). Then there is my volume of Allen Ginsburg journals, purchased for me, by KJ. One of my treasures, not only because Ginsburg is a poetic hero of mine, not just because it was a gift from KJ but because she had it signed by the man himself (he passed away shortly after). And of course there is the newest edition to my group. The Sartorialist by Scott Schuman. Totally inspirational in ways I never imagined.

So I feel better now that I've narrowed it to 5. I throw the challenge out to you...I'd love to know those books that mean the most to you ... and why.


  1. oh i absolutely love this!!! and i know you know i do!!!

    absolutely fabulous...and boy is it hard to pick THE one book....Five is a bit better....OK.. I will have to take great though into this because I have too many favorites..but i can name a select few(god, it's more than 5 though!) that have the greatest sentimental value to me... will study this tonight and get back to you w. a photo of my top 5!

    i love this assignment! :)
    *can you tell i'm super duper excited?

  2. btw, i loved seeing allen ginsburg in person! that was truly a highlight for me!

    i'm so glad you like it still...i loved picking it out for you!

  3. totally forgot to comment on your books...!

    loved all your choices...i'm embarrassed to admit i haven't read into thin air , but i do recall you telling me about it and how wonderful it is. i have to put it on my list!

    oh bleak house! i love love love this novel and like you i feel it's an accomplishment in just finishing the darn thing! god, this book takes me back to my undergrad lit classes!

    the sartorialist! of course....love love this book too and i think we both know how inspiring it really is!

    and last but definitely not least....Portrait. This is also one of my all time favorite novels. and i will most definitely include this on my list.

    you know, this whole thing is kind of funny because when i was updating my stupid facebook profile, one of sections is on books...well, the very first book i mentioned was Portrait...and then I had to name my other fav authors....and then I just went down memory lane w. the whole thing....

    anyway, i just love this idea!

  4. Oh I knew you would love this KJ and I CANNOT WAIT to see your top 5.

    See you totally get it...with books, it's about so much more than words on the page. There is truly a personal story behind each story :) At one point I had like every book I own out yesterday...I drove Chris totally bonkers.

    I remember that I was out of town when Ginsburg was in Roch...remember he was at the old Village Green Bookstore. I was so so sad to have missed him...but you totally made up for it!

    Anxiously anticipating KJ!

  5. Thanks for commenting on each of my pics. In the end, I had to pick the ones I did because they just stood out for such different reasons. Into Thin Air completely changed my view of non-fiction. Krakauer's writing skill is unmatched and I would give my proverbial right arm to have 1/100th of this talent.

    'Portrait'...well its a cliche to say something 'changed' you life but this book can make as strong a claim to that in my life as pretty much anything.

    I could so go on with the stories these books conjure up for me...'Bleak House'...I had one of the greatest prof. for the class that I read that book in...endless endless stories.