Friday, 2 January 2009

Eva's Bookshelf Meme

Mariel tagged me for this meme. I loved it, although it took me a while to write it. Hope you enjoy reading it:)

The Rules
1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…

the book that’s been on your shelves the longest:
In my house in Italy I still keep most of my childhood books in my room. They remind me of the first time I discovered the wonders of stories. First read to me so many times I'm sure my parents were nauseated by them, and then read by me even more times. I will never know which was was the first but I'm choosing the oldest and maybe the favourite, La Bambina dai Capelli d'Argento (the silver-haired child) by Modì. It's an old copy, probably impossible to find now, battered and falling apart, that belonged to my father when he was a child. Recently I've noticed, surprised, how I seem to love dramatic stories. But I shouldn't be surprised, because I've always been! This is a tear-jerker, melodramatic story of a child who is vexed by her evil step-mother and
one day runs away with another guy who's in the circus. They travel with the circus happily till something happens (maybe the step-mother looks for her and they have to leave the caravans) and the two of them are forced to hide in a hollow tree in the midst of a snow torment. They end up dying there, and haunting the place. Jesus! Very pathetic. But I absolutely adored it and asked my parents to read it over and over and over and OVER again. I wished I could find a picture of the cover, but there's no trace of it on the web. One day maybe I'll scan it, when I'm back home.

A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):
There's so many! Every book reminds me of a place, or maybe a person, or a time. How can I choose just one?
Ok, since I have to, I just thought about Isabel Allende and The House of the Spirits. This book reminds me of a whole phase of my life (at 15-16years-old) when, after I read it, I started reading Allende's books one after the other. I read Eva Luna first, but The House of the Spirits made me fall in love head over heels for Allende's writing. I remember lying on my bed during a cold winter in Sicily and be completely immersed in the book. I passed it on to my father (or did he read it first?I'm not sure anymore) and we both raved about it. It was cool because I felt I shared something with him that was special, that was only between me and him. Unfortunately, since this meme is also about the physicality of the book, I must say I don't own the original copy anymore, because it was somehow...destroyed, by our fiercest dog. She loved chewing on stuff (mostly hands of unknown visitors, ehmm ehmm) and when the book was left outside once, she literally shredded it to pieces. I was secretly devastated, but I was bought a new copy soon. I wished I could show you a picture of the destroyed book which was carefully put back together. This is the cover anyway:

I love Feltrinelli editions. This is their paperbacks series, and they will always be among my favourite books. I love the smell, the paper, the texture of the covers. They also publish nice trade paperbacks, that are more expensive, but I don't like them. They don't feel the same. Probably because the economic editions are forever linked, for me, to Allende and the spell that she put on me with her words.

a book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):
The Bloodstone Bird by Inbali Iserles.

It was sent to me by the author herself, signed and everything! I was delighted. She had told me she wanted to send it to me, but it was still a surprise when I received it. This is one the best thing that has happened to me since I started blogging. Getting to know the author of a book I loved and then keeping in touch and even meet for a long and dense chat about a lot of stuff bookish and non bookish. So yes, receiving this book was very special. She also sent me the US version of The Tygrine Cat, when it came out. It's a lovely hardback and I plan to re-read it just to make this edition more mine:)

the most recent addition to your shelves:
The very last is a book in Italian that hasn't been translated called Tana per la bambina con i capelli a ombrellone by Monica Viola. It's actually a very interesting book not only because it's an interesting read, but also because it was published originally on the web, through an Italian publishing project that gathers a group of editors who choose books to edit and then publish them for free on their website, Vibrisselibri. I knew about Tana because a friend of mine did the editing for it. I downloaded it but never brought myself to read it. I should have printed it but I was lazy. Then it was picked up by one of the major publishing houses in Italy and given a different cover and an existence on paper.

I don't know which one I like more. The first, on the left, has more sense, it tells more about the book. The second, on the right, is very attractive and I would have probably bought it in a bookshop if I didn't know about it previously. It's eye-catching. What do you think? Anyway, the most interesting thing about it, is that is published with a "copyleft" philosophy. Instead of stating that it's forbidden to reproduce it, it says that anyone can reproduce parts of it, or the whole book, and anyone can publish it on the web, provided it's not for commercial purposes. It also states that the author doesn't claim royalties for libraries loans. I didn't know authors could claim royalties for that.

a book that’s been with you to the most places:
I don't have a book in particular. I don't bring books with me unless I'm reading them or I'm going to read them. After that they belong to the bookshelf. So all the books on my tbr pile at the moment here have travelled with me in all my house-movings in the last couple of years! Still too many to mention:P

a bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions:
again there's so many more special book to talk about. But I'llkeep it to just one. It's the first book I got signed. By my (then) favourite author, Dacia Maraini.
I was so excited my heart was pounding. She was sitting down, surrounded by eager fans, and she looked up at me and smiled the sweetest smile, and her eyes twinkled and I wanted to faint. I didn't even think I could have told her something. I just got the book signed and retreated. I was 17, maybe. The book was La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa translated into The Silent Duchess and it still is one of my most treasured books. This is was Amazon says about her and the book:

Dacia Maraini is something of a national treasure in Italy. The author of more than 50 books, a director of stage and screen, and an outspoken feminist, Maraini has never been afraid of controversy. The Silent Duchess won prestigious awards in Italy upon its publication there in 1990, and has since been translated into 14 languages. It tells the story of Marianna Ucria, an 18th-century noblewoman who is both deaf and mute following a mysterious childhood trauma. Though outwardly Marianna's life follows the same trajectory as most women's of her class and time--an arranged marriage and endless childbearing--her inner life is quite unique. Within the silent world she occupies, Marianna pursues a vigorous life of the mind; in fact, silence becomes a weapon she wields to defend her deepest, truest self against society's suppression of women's creativity and will. From the first, horrifying images of a child's hanging, through Marianna's forced marriage to her elderly uncle, and finally to her recollection of the trauma that scarred her, The Silent Duchess takes the reader on a remarkable journey through the mores and manners of 18th-century Sicily and into the mind of its enigmatic, courageous heroine.

There! This was long! Now I should tag 3-5 people. Please forgive me if you've been tagged already. If you were, I suggest you pass the tag on to different people, so that my tag doesn't get lost:)


Alessandra said...

I'm going to do this! And I'd like to check out Tana per la bambina coi capelli a ombrellone, you've made me curious :)

Nymeth said...

That's so cool about you and Inbali Iserles! I can't wait to read her book :D

I really enjoyed reading your answers!

Lenore said...

The book that has probably been with me the most places is my Spanish dictionary!

mariel said...

Great answers Valentina! I've actually never read Isabel Allende, but her books always jump out at me. Another one on the list!

Trish said...

Lets see, The House of the Spirits reminds me of my college roommate. She studied Spanish and loved Allende. I love this meme and your answers--it really shows how special books are to us and how they are apart of our lives. I'm going to have to star it and come back, but I'll do it hopefully sooner rather than later.