Posted by: Corri van de Stege | September 30, 2007


I’ve been tagged by Caroline – a book meme.
Forced to reveal the books I love best – but how can I?  I love too many books, yes I really do.  I’ve never been able to provide an answer when people ask me what my favourite piece of music is, or what my favourite painter/painting is, or…. Etc.  But hey, here we go

Books I possess:
I don’t know how many, they’re everywhere, the house is full of books, they’re in workrooms, in sitting rooms, telly room, offices, and recently also in the kitchen where we had two lovely locally made wooden bookshelves placed.   They’re filling up at a frightful pace. 
The sad thing is I’ve lost so many books on the way, moving from country to country and back again.   Not lost really, I was simply unable to take them all.  First I left all my Dutch books back in Holland, then I built up a huge collection in England, including stacks of philosophy books when I did my undergraduate course in London.  They all came with me when I moved to Iran.  However, then the rot set in, it was impossible to move them all over to Holland and so loads of them were sold, given away, to people left behind, eager to get their hands on this wonderful collection of books that you could not get in Iran, not that easily.  Then after solid years of rebuilding the collection I moved to England, and once more had to leave some behind.  And finally when I last moved in England again I decided that it was impossible to take all the shelves full that had again accumulated.
So we are thinking about building a new garage and refurbish the current one, attached to the house, as a library.  We’re thinking….

Last book(s) read:
I reread two books, almost concurrently:

Atonement – Ian McEwan: for its depiction of the characters and the slowly evolving plot of lives ruined through the actions of a young girl with too much imagination.  It is very threatening in its slow and unstoppable progress.

Any Human Heart  – William Boyd:  this is a vast book, across a whole century and again the author is able to move the reader along with the character who is so human and whose life has twists and turns that are not his choice but that come at him, as they do to all of us.

Last book(s) bought:

The Power Book – Jeanette Winterson.  I haven’t read this one yet and notice that Caroline has put it down as one of her favourites.   So must be a good choice.

Gate of the Sun – Elias Khoury.  I am fascinated by books that describe characters and events across the world.  This is about Lebanon as evoked by a doctor who is looking after a dying Palestinian freedom fighter.

We’re going on a Bear Hunt –  Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury:  FOR GRANDDAUGHER, don’t tell her yet, I WILL BE VISITING SHORTLY… I always buy her books, lots of books.

And now for my five favourites:
A health warning: these five are only valid for today, for this blog – I will probably have loads more, different ones, next time someone asks.

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenin:  Will have to be first on the list, given to me as a present on my 23rd and I read and reread it several times, utterly taken by the story of a woman driven by her own character to an almost inevitable fatal conclusion, her suicide.  Moreover I am a sucker for questioning life (Bruce Chatwin’s ‘What am I doing here’ was on my bedside table for a long time…) and so this book must be the one of the greatest drama I’ve ever read. 

Margaret Atwood – Oryx and Crake – and many others  (I’m cheating, as everyone else seems to do…).  I’m a great fan of Margaret Atwood and the first one I read by her was Cat’s Eye, followed by Alias Grace, the Blind Assassin and Lady Oracle.  I choose Oryx and Crake because of Atwood’s ability to make this futuristic surreal world totally believable and I wanted to know what happened to each and every one.

John le Carre – The Mission Song.  I actually like all le Carre’s books, I think because they tell stories almost in an unassuming way.  I’d simply like to nominate le Carre as one of my favourite authors (is that allowed??)

Caroline Smailes – In Search of Adam.  Of course I have to include this one, not because I want to do a favour, but because I simply could not put it down when I read it – I was indeed greatly affected by the story and the style in which it was written.   I wish I’d written it!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half of a Yellow Sun.  She writes with passion, using eyes and ears of a number of her characters in the book to tell us the story of what happened in Biafra/Nigeria.  She writes with a fluency that is enviable and I could not put it down.

As I said, I find it really really hard to chose – there are so many good books and so many good writers!

I must tag five people now, here we go:

Ario,  Kate, Matt, Jose and Abinette if she reads this.


  1. I love this tag. So fascinating. I’m longing to read Half a Yellow sun and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenin. They’re both on my wish list (which means Christmas and birthday will be easy for others this year!). We’re going on a Bear Hunt is fab! Our current favourites are Dear Zoo, The Gruffalo and The Snail and The Whale.
    And as to ISoA … thank you. I’m reading it at the moment, which is a very very strange experience.

  2. Caroline – must get more of the hunting series – you’ve convinced me and granddaughter will love you too. x
    You mean to say you don’t read a bit of ISoA every day? 🙂 I’ve promised myself I will reread, will let you know of any typo’s as requested! Cannot say when though.
    Am in Glasgow hotel room and could not resist a peak away from the e-mails to deal with…
    Lovely to see you here so quickly x

  3. Thanks for the tag. I did this one last year but since reading is an ongoing project, the answer will be different.

    I need to get my act together! 🙂

  4. I have to have the typos to her in the next couple of days, so please please don’t worry. I have found quite a few, which is rather puzzling considering all the edits and proofs it had!

  5. […] Book Meme Posted by Matthew under Books , Literature , Meme , Personal , Reading   Seachanges from 51Stories tagged me for this book meme. I remembered doing this one several months ago but […]

  6. Thanks for the tag.

  7. Thanks for the tag, I will do it as soon as I get back from holiday 🙂

  8. Matt: your list is great, have left a comment…
    Jose: glad you’re joining the fun! 🙂
    Ario: don’t let it spoil your holiday….:)
    Caroline: glad you’ve got it in hand: it will take me ages to get round to it. Surprising that you find so many, I seem to remember coming across one or two, but could not tell you where they are.

  9. What a great list, just love the comments. I am rereading some Jeanette Winterson again and just can’t emulate that amazing synthesis of prose, characters and word structure, despite trying hard. Well at least not yet – must keep persisting which is what all enjoyable writing is about and blueberries are the only fruit!

  10. Thanks for tagging me. I’m going to give it a go today. It’s always so difficult, though, to isolate five favourites!

  11. Abbinette – glad you’re out there!

    Kate – impossible, I agree, hence two more blogs with completely different books!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: