Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I have been sent this questionaire thing 3 times in as many days
I never do them but in this case - well these gals are pretty special
so here goes:

1. One book that changed your life?

Anne of Green Gables - I read it when I was about 8 and fell madly
in love with Anne and reading! I've never stopped.
(sometimes to the dismay of my husband)
Now I'd like to strangle Anne. Her freckled face smiles back at me from licence
plates and god know how many signs but never ever can I forget
her author Lucy Maude Montgomery for giving me the wonderful gift
of reading.

2. One book you have read more than once?

I have a long list but a favourite would be 'The English Patient'
I am mad about Michael Ondaatje - His poem The Cinnamon Peeler
is my most favourite poem of all times
Here is it: A treat
for those of you who know it
and for those of you who don't

THE CINNAMON PEELER by Michael Ondaatje
If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbor to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
-- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grasscutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume.

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in an act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife. Smell me.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Raft Buiding for Dummies maybe or Long Distance Swimming for Dummies
but then of course I'd also need, 'How to Fend off Sharks'

4. One book that made you cry?

Airs about the Ground by Mary Stewart. I can feel tears pricking
my eyes even now as I think about it. In a nutshell:
Someone steals one of the Lippizaner Stallions.
Years later in a far away pasture this old piebald horse (He has been dyed)
is seen dancing to circus music.
Finally he is returned to his stable where fresh bedding is waiting
and his name is still over the door.
Ooh and can I ever forget Black Beauty?!

5. One book that made you laugh?

almost anything by John Irving.. any of the Reginal Hill, Pascoe and Dalziel
detective series

6. One book you wish had been written?

Harry Potter - can you imagine my bank acct??

7. One book you wish had never been written?

none I guess.. hate stuff maybe

8. One book you are currently reading?

A new Swedish detective series I have found by Ake Edwardson

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

I have a list a mile long but sitting waiting is:
The Professor and the Madman - Simon Winchester
A Natural History of the Senses - Diane Ackerman
2 mysteries by Eliz George
and another by Robert Wilson -- (he will be 1st)


Blogger Roberta said...

Bravo Anna!

I've never read that poem before, I love it!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Shadowrite said...


I just came from Susan's blog and immediately came (ran) here to see what you had to say about your books.

And then I find Ondaatje's treat of a poem: how lovely!

I loved Anne of Green Gables too when I was young. I was always torn between her wanting to be her and Pippi Longstocking!

Loved reading this.


3:01 PM  
Blogger anna said...

isn't Susan's blog lovely! I only wish I was so smart.
as for Ondaatje's poem, it is wonderful isn't it
thanks gals for stopping by

3:42 PM  
Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Hi Anna,

Thank you very much for the compliment. I could really do with it today.

I clean forgot about Michael Ondaatje who was a Booker-prize winner & later bestselling author for The English Patient that was in turn, a box office hit when turned into a film.

What a delightful book meme Anna & your creative idea to house a poem in the middle of it.

It puzzles me again with an added fascination that each of us has waded in different oceans with all kinds of delicious books to change our lives. Then in times like now, we see that we were the only ones swimming in our oceans. The only ones each diving and plunging into and floating on our own memory-layered stories that may include poetry, drama & anything else...that constitutes a book.

But there wasn't anyone else where we played in the sea.

That each passionate book lover was given its own pool to paddle in.

And yet, we are drawn together as one in friendship and we marvel at another's collection wondering how it could have possibly differed from our own.

But it has in a marvellous magnifying way; and the books we continue to read will command their own oceans but the swimmer now knows its friend and neighbour just that little bit better.

One of the myriad gifts of life. The goose laid many golden eggs for us all.

So hello Jasmin, Roberta, Anna & everyone else. Pardon me. But my hands are damp from swimming.


7:11 PM  
Blogger Saaleha said...

that poem was stunning. I can see why it is your favourite.
the most striking thing for me about reading these memes (is that right?!) is that I realise how little I know about books, and authors. how miniscule my 'puddle' (to borrow from Susan). And it awakens this insatiable hunger to read, to learn, to grow.

And dear Anne, how I loved her. and Little Women, Louisa May Alcott. A firm favourite.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Saaleha said...

and the second pronunciation for my name was close. sa li ha

12:53 AM  
Blogger Bernita said...

I still re-read the "Anne" books, so there!
Did you not cry too when Walter died in "Rilla of Ingleside"?

4:33 AM  
Blogger Atyllah said...

Beautiful poem from Ondaatje, Anna. And I love your selection for the desert island. Sensible woman!

5:22 AM  
Blogger anna said...

Susan, it always amazes me how people that I've never met, I only see their names on my screen, can become so very dear to me. Kindred spirits, I guess. thank heavens for them.
Saaleha, my goodness I don't know how I could ever have forgotten Louisa May Alcott and Little Women! I used to sit in our attic and freeze - reading books trying to be Jo.
Bernita, it is so funny about Anne - such a huge influence on my life and then to wind up living on this tiny island with Anne stuff everywhere. (Don't tell anybody but I too re-read the anne books) And Walter in Rilla of Ingleside - my god I am crying as I type this!!! absolutely weeping!
another book I must dig out and revisit.

5:30 AM  
Blogger anna said...

Hey Atyllah the Hen - my god I am still laughing about this!
those Dummy books can come in handy- maybe there is a dummy book for blogs - I will buy it.
Heaven knows I need it

6:46 AM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Anna!

I've been enjoying reading everyone's memes and had to come here to look at yours once I saw that Susan had tagged you.

Saw Michael Ondaatje last night at a book launch - he is a gorgeous man! Thank you for sharing "The Cinnamon Peeler", I haven't heard that one before, it's lovely.

And finally, I have all Diane Ackerman's books, you've got good taste in reading! ;)

1:09 PM  
Blogger Rich McDonough said...

Raft Building for Dummies. I love it. Terrific responses, Anna.

1:13 PM  

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