I read an interview with Meryl Streep once– I think maybe it was a Bob Greene column?– in which she said all her movies were secretly home movies. She’d watch a scene from Kramer v. Kramer and remember what her kid was up to that week, or who she’d been hanging out with, and all the things that were going on when the scene was filmed.
My book lists are like that for me. I’ll look at So You Want to Be a Wizard and remember how excited KP was to hear I was reading it, and how she visited Portland later in the year and presented me with the sequels after one of her many trips to Powell’s Books. And how Sanguinity and I went up to Olympia to dogsit for Sara and crew, and they had a copy on their shelves, so I was reading it in the backyard while Sang designated the dogs Horrible Thing One…
and Horrible Thing Two…
and gave them stern looks…
…that didn’t fool them one bit.
Or how I read Gone Crazy in Alabama in Wyoming, decompressing on a sunny morning at my friend Jenny’s house after she left for work.
Some books have webs of people associated with them– I decided to read The Martian because every single member of the Maki family liked it, and then my co-worker lent me a copy from the first meeting of her new book club, and then I gave a copy to my father-in-law that he binge-read even though he hardly ever reads fiction.
Then there are all the online discussions like the one about The Hired Girl, and audiobooks whose performances and the setting I heard them in are inextricable from the text. (Tiny Pretty Things while striding home in the dark amidst headlights and big trees and rain!)
It’s impossible to know all that’s coded into anyone’s book list but my own, but I still like reading other people’s. Here’s hoping for rich secret home movies for us all in 2016.
Remember how I was rereading all the Ramona books to get ready for a fic exchange? [edited to add: oh wait, you don’t, because it was a secret!] Now all the stories are up!
And I feel so so lucky, because the story I got is wonderful, and is about Nsibidi in Nnedi Okorafor’s Zahrah the Windseeker. Tall, bold Nsibidi who is friends with the idiok. Here it is.
The story I wrote about Mr. and Mrs. Quimby is here.
I’m still reading through many of the others. This is one I liked a lot, a Code Name Verity fic.
And speaking of fanfic, I just finished Wishing for Tomorrow, Hilary McKay’s sequel to A Little Princess. I was really a Secret Garden and Lost Prince person myself, but I like Hilary McKay, especially her dialogue and one-line deadpan events, and this was a fine Hilary McKay book.
My reading life’s been good lately.