Here's this week's RevGalBlogPals questionnaire:
What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why?
[Casting down eyes in shame] Truth be told, I haven't read a book cover to cover in the last six months -- and this is coming from a former book-a-week reader -- so I don't have a lot of inventory to review. But I can tell you that I'm greatly enjoying Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, her account of her family's experiment in eating only locally grown foods for an entire year. That wish resonates with us in our household, even though like the Kingsolver clan our geography makes this difficult. I was also taken with Kingsolver's personal custom of planting asparagus in the yard of every home she'd lived in as an adult, leaving a kind of culinary legacy for future homedwellers. I love stories like this. I was reminded of an audio essay on public radio several years ago where the essayist spoke of his Ukrainian grandmother faithfully planting fruit pits from her household garbage in her back yard (much to the bemusement of her adult children), so that others coming after her could enjoy the free gift of fresh fruit right outside the door. I also thought back with fondness to the postage-stamp back yard of a squalid duplex my friends and I lived in during our college days, a once architecturally fashion-forward building slowly deteriorating into ruin, where a determined row of hostas nonetheless poked up through the spent soil and paint chips next to the back door year after year and provided cheery mid-summer blooms.
What is one of your favorite childhood books?
Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking-Glass, hands down. As a child I had a well-worn copy, with all the wonderful Sir John Tenniel illustrations, that I cherished to the point of total destruction. (I also gave my mother a fright that I'm sure added some white hairs to her head, when she caught me chewing on some unknown natural substance outside and I told her that I was eating a mushroom to make myself grow bigger or smaller. Turned out it was one of those woody and evidently harmless shelf fungi that grow on old stumps.) When I grew up I discovered The Annotated Alice, which made me appreciate these books even more.
Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell!
It's hard to say. I like the Gospel of John despite the "I am he as you are me as you are we and we are all together" Godtalk and that fingers-on-chalkboard language regarding "the Jews" that pastors and Bible study leaders never seem to adequately explain to laypeople. I also appreciate the Gospel of Mark's short-sharp-shocked delivery, and am intrigued by the sudden ending.
What is one book you could read again and again?
When I was a kid I'd read books dozens of times. (Maybe because I had access to fewer books.) I don't do that as much anymore. One perennial favorite of mine, though, are Mark Twain's nonfiction; the intelligence and wit still hold up.
Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?
Shameless promotional plug -- Bread and Wine, a Lenten anthology featuring some of the most eloquent writers, old and new, of Christendom, that the RevGalBlogPals will be discussing this coming Lenten season. You can read it every year and come away with new insight and inspiration.
BONUS POINTS: If I were to write my own book, I'd like it to be a book of humorous essays...something I've had a little experience writing in the past. And as far as jacket endorsements...oh, Bill Bryson would be nice...David and Amy Sedaris...Merrill Markoe. (I somehow can't fit Katherine Norris, Garrison Keillor and Kelly Fryer into this literary scenario, but who knows.)