When I saw the book challenge going around on Facebook for more than three days without reaching me, I got worried. I think the challenges you are asked to do say a lot about you because they reflect what kind of circles you move in given that all of this works with the snowball principle. So I was reassured to see the ice bucket never reached me but nervous that even after a few days no one had thought of me as this really cultured bibliophile. Luckily, two friends then tagged me. (Thank you, Andreea and Bozhda for saving my reputation!)
On Facebook, you are not allowed to explain why you choose these books and you can only tag people that are on Facebook. That is why I decided to make a blog post out of it so I could tag my mom. Dearest mama, consider yourself challenged.
I was identified in a literary challenge by my friend s Andreea and Bozhidar, to which I will be most pleased to respond.
The challenge: in your FB profile, list 10 books which somehow you carry within you in your everyday life. You can only take a few minutes and without thinking too much about it. You don’t have to list the “right” books nor the grand literary oeuvres but the ones which somehow “touched” you. Once you finish, name 10 people who are to continue the challenge.
- Annemarie Selinko: Desirée
The story of Napoléon’s first fiancée who later became the adopted Queen of Sweden. One of the few things I asked my mom to send me to the US from Germany. This book unites everything I love: History, royal families and Sweden. When I read it in 6th grade and asked my history teacher afterwards if the story was true and she said it was, I decided I was going to become a historian.
- Kirsten Boie: Man darf mit dem Glück nicht drängelig sein (You must not rush happiness)
I believe Kirsten Boie to be the greatest German author for children. This book reflects so many feelings children of divorced parents have. Also, they are on a lovely holiday in Sweden.
- Thomas Mann: Die Buddenbrooks. Verfall einer Familie (Buddenbrooks)
I read part of this part and listened to the rest as an audio book as I was cleaning in a hospital one summer. To me, it has always been a soap opera on a very high level. I still frequently think about it and I went to Lübeck only to see the house where the story takes place.
- P.L. Travers: Mary Poppins
I remember being almost obsessed with this book and also the movie. I even bought an umbrella that resembled Mary Poppins’.
- Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess
“Whatever comes cannot alter one thing” is a quote that has been etched into my brain forever.
- Astrid Lindgren: Ferien auf Saltkrokan (Seacrow Island)
Possibly the most wonderful Astrid Lindgren book. It gave me a glimt of the island summers I never had as a kid and when I got to live the archipelago life, I felt like I was in my favorite children’s book.
- Meg Cabot: The Princess Diaries
I knew this book by heart as a teenager and it significantly improved my American.
- Arthur Miller: The Crucible
Introduced to The Crucible by my English teacher in US high school, I was deeply impressed with this work and decided to write a large paper on it. “I saw Elizabeth Proctor with the devil!” and “I kept a cold house, John” are quotes that pop up in my head every now and then and never leave me.
- Berte Bratt: Bleib bei uns, Beate (Stay with us, Beate)
This book, a 1950s chick flick, has been circulating in our family. My mom read it as a teenager, my aunts read it. Then I read it, numerous times, and loved all of it. Completely detached from modern times, Beate offered security and coziness.
10. Vilhelm Moberg: Utvandrarna (The Emigrants)
A Swedish classic I only discovered last year. I don’t cease to marvel at the mastery of Moberg who manages to describe the feelings of an emigrant so precisely and to capture one’s heart with the story of two ordinary farmers.