Okay, I’ve loved Booking Through Thursday since I first found out about it a couple of years ago. It’s a weekly question about reading or books that serves as a great writing prompt for blog posts. Problem is, I always forget to do it. This year I’d really like to get used to the idea, though, and so I give you my first Booking Through Thursday prompt. Yes, I know it’s Saturday night. Give me a break.
What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?
I have to admit, the thickest book I’ve ever read all the way through is probably Gone With the Wind. Mercy, even Middlemarch isn’t as long, and Middlemarch is 800+ pages. And if you’re curious, yes I read that one, too. All. The. Way.
Like many a girl before me, and probably (hopefully) many to come, I had a deep infatuation with Gone With the Wind when I was younger. It started with the movie. I’d seen it once when I was very small, but all I really remembered from it were the (amazing!) dresses and the fire. Oh, and Clark Gable. Because… he’s Clark Gable. *blushes*
When I was eleven or twelve I watched it on TV—on the WB, to be exact, back when the network still existed alone—and fell utterly in love with it. My mom would sigh and tell me how Vivian Leigh wasn’t her Scarlett O’Hara (I had to get it from somewhere, you know?) but I didn’t mind. I watched enthralled from the twins (Frank and Fred? Oh dear… someone will call me out on that if it’s wrong) fawning over Scarlett, through her dancing in mourning clothes and the Atlanta Fire (which nothing has ever compared to cinematically since, if you ask moi) to her declaration of Tomorrow being another day.
This was right before they digitally remastered the film and made all the colors brighter. I think I got that double VHS copy for Christmas that year.
And so, I read the book. Oh, that book. I remember bits of it so vividly. Rhett leaving her on the bridge… Scarlett beating her horse so that it got her to Tara, the thick, thick mist in her dream that was so much more oppressive than they were in the movie. Also, all of the extra husbands and kids that didn’t make it into the film version.
I would think about how Margaret Mitchell used the manuscript as a stabler for her kitchen table for years, something that appalled me as an already-aspiring author. How Clark Gable was afraid he couldn’t pull it off because he was a comedian. How he was actually who she pictured as Rhett Butler, which was completely amazing to me. I read the book twice, but I’d like to read it again someday… I wonder how different I’d take to it now that I’m all growed up and whatnot.
Other thick books I have read at least most of:
Middlemarch by George Eliot — As mentioned. I loved this book. It’s long and dry in some parts, yeah, but definitely a classic for a reason. You know how Jane Austen said that Anne Elliot from Persuasion was “almost too good” for her? That’s the feeling I get from Middlemarch, except in this case Dorothea is really, honestly, VERY good in every single way. Kind, pious, generous, etc. Somehow she’s not unrealistic, though. And she’s not immune to romance, either.
The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists — I completely loved this book. I can’t say I’ve read every single entry, because it was for a class and I got behind a bit, but it has writing from so many amazing, brilliant and diverse people. I highly, highly recommend it.
The Norton Anthology of Poetry — I read through the first half of this (I think I actually read every poem) for a class. I wish I could have taken the second half of the class, but it was at the same time as another class I wanted to take more. I don’t know where my NAP (as I called it affectionately—though in all honesty, the content rarely made me sleepy) is at the moment, and that thought saddens me greatly, because it’s such a pretty book. I’d like to take it out and read it slowly.
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson — This… was also for a class. Are we seeing a pattern here? I re-read it just over a year ago, though, because that class officially made me a Dickinson lover for life. Every time I read an Emily Dickinson poem, I want to read a hundred more of them. She is that good.
A seriously thick book I want to read, which is sitting on my shelf just waiting? Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I’ve heard it described as a Harry Potter* for adults, complete with seriously awesome footnote** content, something Thursday Next novels have made me a complete geek for.
What’s the thickest book you’ve read?
*I suppose a couple of the HP books are long too, eh?
**I completely forgot this word for a good five minutes. Had to resort to Google to figure it out. Then had to head-desk.