The books in the masthead are a selection of books that I (or we) own, and that I chose to set up for the photo because I think that they show what kind of a reader I am and have been and what books I like and have liked. I chose a few that can be filed under the Absolutes label (I've only just started that one, so it's pretty empty so far), a few that I like but never blogged about, and a few that I have blogged about. I also wanted to pick some according to looks - for example, I love the edition of Jane Eyre I have here. My husband got it for me in Scarborough. I picked it over the Penguin edition, even though I love that one too.
From the bottom left, going up:
Selma Lagerlöf: Kejsaren av Portugallien (The Emperor of Portugalia)
Selma Lagerlöf is, in my opinion, one of the best. She is such a fantastic story-teller. I can remember approaching her books thinking they'd be stodgy and old-fashioned, but no, the reader is just swept along. She wouldn't get the Nobel Prize now, I'd bet, she's rather too accessible, but I think she deserves it. This is one of her best novels, it's beautiful and completely devastatingly sad. This is a lovely edition too.
Jane Austen: Shorter Works
I love love love Jane Austen, and have written nothing of any significance about her so far (which means as of 6 March 2011). In September 2009 splurged on a a few gorgeous Austen books from The Folio Society, and I meant to write about a huge post about them because they're so pretty, and I never have. But I included one now in the masthead anyway, for starters. Not that it shows up very well!
Trails to Treasure
This is an American school textbook, that somehow found its way into our home when we were kids. It's very wholesome and 1950s, with tales of Johnny Appleseed and decent American children. Pretty much all white, of course. I read it a million times.
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Fellowship of the Ring
I took just one from the trilogy, the one that has a torn cover. Shows how often it's been read and loved. This is one of the Absolutes, I just haven't written about it yet. I adore The Lord of the Rings. And I adore my edition. I got it for Christmas one year, my mother must have spent a fortune on it - it was so much harder to find English books back then, and books in general were dearer.
Tage Danielsson: Bokpaket
A collection of the works of Tage Danielsson, one of Sweden's best humourists ever. He died much too soon.
Nick Hornby: The Complete Polysyllabic Spree
This one I've blogged about. I think it's funny and inspiring, and yes, I want to write about books the way Nick Horny does. So effortlessly.
Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited
I read this many years ago, but can't remember liking it. I included it here because I think I have to give it another go, and I thought I might suggest it for the book club. So it shows future reading, y'see.
Standing up, left to right:
Ursula K Leguin: The Left Hand of Darkness
'Nuff said, really, wrote about it not once, but twice. I love this.
George Mikes: How To Be An Alien
A humour classic, I love owning this!
Laurie R King: With Child
I am not the most active member by any means of the Laurie King community, but I really enjoy her books and characters. I cherish my prize dearly! This isn't it, but this is one I like. Also, the cover wasn't so cracked, so you can tell which one it is.
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
God I love this novel. One of the Absolutes, haven't written about it yet.
E.C. Bentley: Trent's Last Case
I chased this old edition down on Ebay together with the Folio Society Jane Austens, and never wrote about it. It's a lovely old edition, with illustrations even! So I wanted to scan them and stuff. I'll do it some time. Meanwhile ...
Second pile from the right, from the bottom:
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Read about it here.
Samuel R Delany: Babel-17
Read about it here.
Ngaio Marsh: Overture to Death
Admittedly, it's hard to see what that black strip there is. So just trust me. Had to include one of Ngaio's, of course!
Douglas Adams: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
This confirms I'm a nerd, yes. I have them all.
Roddy Doyle: The Barrytown Trilogy
I like Roddy Doyle, he introduced me to Ireland that wasn't dollied up to be ideal and perfect, the way I was told it was and couldn't reconcile with reality. This collection was a gift from my husband.
Sara Paretsky: Blacklist
I absolutely had to include a Paretsky, since I own one or two. Oddly, I never wrote about it properly, might have to re-read so I can do so!
Sofi Oksanen: Stalins Kossor (Stalin's Cows)
I wouldn't have read this if it hadn't been for the book club, and I love it. Included to show what the club means to me.
Toni Morrison: Beloved
One that doesn't leave your head once you've read it.
Ray Bradbury: The Silver Locusts
I saw this while choosing books for the photo "shoot" and decided I had to have a Bradbury in there. When I blogged about The Machineries of Joy I hadn't spotted this on the shelf and had forgotten we had it. I'd rather have written about this one.
A.A. Milne: When We Were Very Young
I read this several times as a child. And I have no other reason for including it here. Maybe I don't need one? It's a lovely little edition though.
Pile on the right, from the bottom up:
Jeanette Winterson: Art and Lies
This was the first Winterson I found now so I put it there only for that reason. Had I been more calculating I'd have looked harder for Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Winterson is somehow always magical.
Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
No pile of Bani-books would be complete without at least one Dahl. This one was frankly chosen mostly for the retro font on the spine though than any sense of favouritism.
Enid Blyton: Claudine at St Clare's
I read so much Enid Blyton as a child. So much. I've decided to tag books as Absolutes and not authors, or Enid would be one.
Annie Proulx: Fine Just The Way It Is
This is the short story collection my husband bought for me, and the only Proulx I own. But oh, I really like her. I credit her also with helping me jump into trying out new and more demanding reading there in 2009, when I found her first.
Ellis Peters: The Leper of St Giles
Another Absolute author. Brother Cadfael is one of my favourite detectives. The gentleness of Ellis Peters' world has been such a comfort to me as a child and even now as an adult. Despite all the horrors of the world, God's green earth is beautiful and bountiful, and there are many good people on it. I own several of her books, this one was picked at random, I don't think it's a favourite.
Alexander McCall Smith: The Full Cupboard of Life
Again, 'nuff said really. The amount I've waffled on about this writer, it's embarrassing. He's lying next to Ellis Peters by chance, but now that I see it I think it's very eloquent. They both write with fundamental faith in the goodness of humanity, and I've been comforted by this many times.
Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart
I chose this because I liked it, because I think it's an important book, because I want to read more books like this, because I think books like this should be read more often and included in anthologies and the like. Never blogged about it apparently, so I must have read it before 2005 sometime.
Harry Kemelman: Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home
This one demonstrates how great detective fiction is for teaching you stuff. I'd wager that most of what I know about Judaism comes from Kemelman's novels. They're entertaining, American and not nearly widely spread enough. Meanwhile, people read Camilla Läckberg. Argh. Anyway, never blogged about Harry's, I had this phase before I started the blog - but undoubtedly he's one of the reasons why the blog exists!
Bill Bryson: In A Sunburned Country
Bill Bryson is one of the funniest writers I know. It's a great shame his books aren't available in Swedish to any great extent, or I'd insist on him for the book club. His humour has definitely saved me from being too blue on more than one occasion.
Cormac McCarthy: The Road
One of the most powerful books ever. Included because it symbolises my husband's great taste in literature and the power of the book club, which made me finally read it.
Dorothy Sayers: Gaudy Night
I love Dorothy Sayers and had to include one, so chose the best one I own. I read a review online by chance that didn't like this at all and didn't like Harriet Vane. Sacrilege! So to make a point, here it is.
Josephine Tey: The Singing Sands
Josephine Tey was one of those finds when I started scouring the library shelves. I was flabbergasted at how much I liked it and so upset that she isn't universally praised. Why do authors with so much charm and style fall out of fashion? This is a lovely book. I read it before I started the blog and must've brought this copy home from some second-hand stall years later but never written about it. I may do so sometime.
Junot Díaz: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Look up and read under Sofi Oksanen. Same thing.