An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Book Me Dano

I have been hit up with questions about books and me. So even though they are not really much to do with PNG Life, I will have an attempt at answering anyway. I could stretch the thin line and say that seeing as they are one of the only major forms of entertainment that I have had for the last year and a half, it sort of fits with this blogs theme. So here ya go anyway ...

Total Books Owned:
Owned ... hmm a tricky one to start with. Are books ever really owned? They just come into your possession and will leave it at some point, to be passed on to family members or friends (being philosophical you could of course take this thought further and say nothing you have is really yours, which of course is one way to look at the world and not such a bad one I think). Some books I do keep though and would be upset to part with - there is my high school library copy of The Lord of the Rings (again, should this really be mine), which even though it is missing some of the prologue I would be pissed if I lost it, I even brought it up here, though have yet to re-read.

Total number of books ever owned or currently owned? No idea for the former, for the latter somewhere between 100 and 200.

Last Book I Bought:
I bought? Racking my brain. Ummm ... there was the 50toea copy of Animal Farm that I picked up at a second hand clothes store. I guess that counts.

Last Book(s) I Read:
Currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Before that was the Harry Potter latest which my sister pleasantly surprised me by pre-ordering on Amazon and it turning up in my pigeon hole unexpected (I like the HP novels, they are good escapist fantasy and remind me of books I will mention later). Before HP was The Rotters Club by Jonathon Coe and before that was the Animal Farm second hander.

Books I Like To Read:
I like to read Travel books, something in the vein of Theroux. I admire someone who can make a living out of writing about places he/she has been to. Pick me, I want to have that job.

As to books I would like to read well there would be War and Peace on the list. I view this one as a challenge not unlike trekking Kokoda, but with a lot less sweating. I got halfway through part 1 last year before putting it down and not bothering to return to it. Once you stop it is easy to get confused with who is who again - too many different princes and counts who go by other names. The library has a copy which I will return to before I leave. Aside from that there is the other Russian classic recently acquired, The Gulag Archipelago. And other than that, people around me are talking about the Life of Pi, I will borrow that at some stage.

Then there are also more classics that I feel I should read, not necessarily would like to read. In this category goes Patrick White's Voss which I waded through last year. I read it because I felt that with him being the only Australian to win the Nobel Lit prize, I should at least make an attempt to see why. After reading I can see why, a brilliantly crafted book, which takes brilliance to fully appreciate. I will have to have a crack at some of his others later.

Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
Mean a lot? OK I am going to skip over the books I have read in adulthood because I really am hard pressed to think of any that bring back treasured memories. Instead I will get back to where it all starts - the formative years.

The first book I remember that really hit home was The Magic Faraway Tree. It was read to me and my classmates in Kindergarten in bits and pieces over a number of weeks or months, I can't remember exactly now, but I remember it kept me absolutely enthralled. Which was not unlike the other book(s) that struck a chord at that age, the Narnia series. The Lewis tales were the first major books I remember reading by myself, and what good ones to start with. Magical Narnia filled with Azlan and the rest - I should read them again. I think Harry Potter is no doubt having the same effect on kids today as Narnia had on me when I was a young whipper-snapper.

After the Lion, the Witch and et al, I was enraptured by The Hobbit, ensnared by The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and then enchanted by, of course, The Lord of the Rings, which I polished off three times before I was 14. During high school a couple of books made impressions, firstly we were made to read Of Mice and Men and that really struck a chord. Besides that I read off my own bat what has turned out to be one of my favourite novels, Catch-22. Ahhh the beautiful irony, such a brilliant book.

OK so enough book talk and personal insights, it is time to pass the baton onto Larissa, Islandbaby and Nicole.