Triple Choice Tuesday: Still Life With Books

Triple-Choice-TuesdayWelcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.

Today’s guest is Violet from Still Life With Books, who lives on the coast, near Perth, in Western Australia.

Violet says she has always been passionate about books and reading, and is interested in books as objects and cultural artefacts in their own right. “I’m also interested in book design, and am a sucker for a great cover,” she says.

Violet has professional qualifications in the counselling field, but at present she is working on some web design projects. She’s also a volunteer adult literacy tutor and enjoys helping other people discover the magic of reading and writing.

Without further ado, here’s Violet’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:

 

Anna-Karenina A favourite book: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I first read Rosemary Edmonds’ translation of Anna Karenina in my teens, and although I have tried the other translations, I still prefer Edmonds’ lyrical transposition.

I love Anna Karenina because it is such a perfect and complete novel. I never tire of reading it and always seem to approach the narrative from a different perspective.

As a teenager I was swept away by Anna’s passion to live, rather than merely to exist. Then I became more interested in Kitty and Levin’s courtship and marriage, and in recent years I have focused more on Levin’s spiritual crisis. I find that as I grow older the book seems to grow with me.

I love the fact that so many people have read and adored this one book, and our reading of it links us all together in some small way.

 

Writing-and-Difference A book that changed my world: Writing and Difference by Jacques Derrida

As an English Lit. major I was force-fed a steady diet of literary theory, which was not my favourite thing. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t been expected to gallop through the works of so many theorists. I’m not sure why Derrida’s ideas jumped out and grabbed me, but discovering him really was like a ray of light shining through the clouds. Suddenly, a whole lot of things fell into place, not just in my studies, although I did discover a new way to read texts, but also in my way of thinking and being in the world.

I discovered Derrida around the time I began practising Zen Buddhism, and his ideas and Buddhist philosophy seemed a neat fit, somehow. Derrida was such a prolific writer that I don’t think I will ever read all of his books, but Writing and Difference has a special place in my heart.

 

A-Rage-To-Live A book that deserves a wider audience: A Rage to Live by Mary S. Lovell

This is a dual biography of Richard and Isabel Burton, and is beautifully written and well-researched.

Richard Burton was one of the most famous, and infamous, men of the Victorian era. He was a soldier, an explorer, a writer, a translator, an ethnologist, a spy and a diplomat. He was fluent in thirty languages, and such an intrepid adventurer that he once continued to fight off attackers with a spear piercing his face, from cheek to cheek. He bore the terrible scars of that particular incident for the rest of his life.

Isabel fell passionately in love with him and waited faithfully for many years until they were able to marry. Burton was something of an iconoclast and the British government didn’t quite know what to do with him, so he was given diplomatic postings in far-off places, which suited them both.

I expect this book received a great deal of attention when it was published, in 1998, but it is so wonderful that I hope more readers will give it a try.

Thanks, Violet, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!

I’ve not read any of them, but I’m partial to the Burtons’ biography, having once watched a film about Burton’s attempt to find the source of the Nile accompanied by John Hanning Speke. He sounds like a very intriguing man…

What do you think of Violet’s choices? Have you read any of these books?

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7 thoughts on “Triple Choice Tuesday: Still Life With Books

  1. I read the same edition of Anna Karenina and loved it. It certainly changed my view of reading Russian literature in translation as I had always struggled until them (especially The Brothers Karamazov). I’ll be checking out Derrida’s book as I don’t think I’ve read anything by him and feel I must educate myself more:)

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  2. Violet, I love your choice of the biography of the Burtons. I read it not long after it came out, having read about Richard Burton in the past. He is truly a rare character.

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  3. I have never finished Anna Karenina which really annoys me as I read it with Polly (of Novel Insights) one Christmas as a mini challenge just between the two of us, she finished it and loved it – I struggled with all the season changing description bits and gave up, shame on me.

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  4. I really must get back to the wrong translation of War and Peace. I loved Anna K when I read it a few years ago now. Maybe one day I will reread it in Violet’s favourite translation!

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  5. I read Karenina when I was quite young (too young probably) and I liked it a lot; probably sympathised greatly with Anna’s desire to exist as Violet says. Now that I am much older and more experienced (though not wiser) in matters of love I might re-read this book to see if my experience of it changes significantly.

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