Fat Books & Thin Women


30 Day Book Meme, Day 2
August 2, 2011, 3:08 pm
Filed under: 30 Day Book Meme | Tags: , , , , ,

A book you’ve read (at least) three times:

I’m a fan of rereading, but with a few exceptions (Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor, Lolita, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Pnin – real broad list, I know) there are few books I’ve read three times that I didn’t read for the first time when I was a kid. I can’t write about children’s literature without writing about Roald Dahl, who is so clearly the master – is it even possible to form an argument that he isn’t? One of my favorites from him is The BFG, which I love so much that I’m currently reading the Albanian translation to brush up on such vital terms as “bone cruncher” and “child chewer.”

Dahl is so creative in his use of English, and especially here, given a character whose grasp of the language is so often unintentionally hilarious. Something about the way the BFG speaks makes me feel protective of him and his mix of frustration and shame when Sophie points out his errors. I still remember the ten-year-old’s total and complete rage I felt when I overheard a group of kids mocking the book one day; the giant is such a guileless character that it’s hard to not want to protect him.

So many children’s books, when you reread them as an adult, fall apart. The writing turns out to be stiff, the dialogue wooden, the jokes funny only to a ten-year-old’s ear, the plot stripped of its former urgency. The BFG is remarkable, then, for not failing in any of these ways, and for revealing itself to be just as welcoming to the adult as to the child. Dahl never needs to make a set of jokes and asides directed at parents, because his whole world here is so clever, so welcoming, and so perfectly imagined that it can capture any age of reader, not just the kids it’s marketed at.

30 Day Book Meme:
Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

Day 03 – Your favorite series

Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series

Day 05 – A book that makes you happy

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

Day 07 – Most underrated book

Day 08 – Most overrated book

Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Day 10 – Favorite classic book

Day 11 – A book you hated

Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore

Day 13 – Your favorite writer

Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer

Day 15 – Favorite male character

Day 16 – Favorite female character

Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you

Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie

Day 20 – Favorite romance book

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood

Day 22 – Favorite book you own

Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

Day 28 – Favorite title

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

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19 Comments

Most people I know that have read Nabokov have read Lolita. You have read Pnin three times? I applause!

Comment by Benoît Lelièvre

i am very well read…when it comes to that one author.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Dahl was by far my favorite author as a child. James and the Giant Peach was always my favorite.

Comment by Brenna

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I think I read BFG, but I remember Charlie and James (and their respective adventures) much better. And how could I forget Matilda?! I found a copy of Matilda that somebody had left at the curb for trash pick-up while jogging one day, and I ran it the whole way home! :]

I love this meme by the way! Maybe I’ll do it too….

Comment by Jennifer Maurer

Dude, now I want to reread ALL of dahl’s books…it’s been so long since I’ve read Matilda or James & the Giant Peach. I can’t believe someone left that book out with their trash…makes so happy that you took it on your run.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Dahl is brilliant, and this is one of the best. Alas, I read this one as an adult so it doesn’t stick with me like the others. I can tell you all about Danny, Champion of the World and no one’s read that one! (It was in a 4-pack I got as a kid). I’m partial to James and the Giant Peach. Dahl’s short stories for adults are also pretty amazing.

Comment by curlygeek04

I’m so glad you mentioned Danny! I reread it a few months ago and you’re write, it’s amazing and more people should read it. What I love about Danny is that the magic is in the relationship between Danny and his father, not in details of the world like witches or giants or the ability to move objects with your mind. I don’t think I read Danny as a kid…last time I read it was the second time, I think, but when I get home I need to either find my old copy or buy a new one so I can read about poacher’s bottom again.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

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Nice post, Ellen! I actually got into Dahl quite late when I read his short stories for older readers. I loved them. I have still not read much of his books for children. I have seen the movie version of ‘Mathilda’ and loved it. I will look for ‘BFG’.

Comment by Vishy

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