Welcome 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 Thomas from My Porch.
Thomas lives in Washington DC with his husband John and their “insanely cute” dog Lucy. In addition to his family, Thomas says he lives for books, travel, food and classical music. His blog, which began in 2006, is testament to those interests, covering all things cultural but with a special focus on literature.
Without further ado, here’s Thomas’ Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
I am glad this category is worded in such a way that implies that there is more than one favorite book. Otherwise, which of us would feel comfortable choosing just one? From my list of favorites, the one that jumps out at me is On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. Not normally a huge McEwan fan, I found this to be a spectacular book. Some complain that nothing happens in the book or that the two characters need to pull themselves together, etc. But I think it is such a sublime, tragically beautiful story. A cautionary tale of what can happen to any of our relationships if we fail to communicate meaningfully.
Many books have moved me or imparted wisdom and they have collectively helped turn me into who I am, but I had a really tough time finding an answer to this one. But then it struck me, there is a literary mantra that has guided my life since I was 16. In Hamlet, Polonius says to his son, Laertes: “This above all: to thine own self be true…” That answer might sound a little precious or facile but when I was struggling with all kinds of issues in high school, coming across that line was a life saver. So many people wanted me to be something I wasn’t (like straight) that I would say or do just about anything to fit in. That is, until the Bard saved me from all that. Staying true to who I am has been the best advice, literary or otherwise, I have ever taken.
Although many of May Sarton’s books are still in print, and she has been getting some attention in the blogosphere in recent months, I don’t think enough readers even know about Sarton let alone have read her. Her work captures old school New England in a way that is homespun but never sweet. It is ultimately life-affirming and can be cozy, but often has a dark undercurrent of loneliness, sickness, or old age. She wrote more than 50 books, including novels, memoirs, journals and volumes of poetry. For novels try out The Magnificent Spinster or As We Are Now. For her journals, Plant Dreaming Deep and The House By the Sea are wonderful.
Thanks, Thomas, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I’ve read On Chesil Beach, and quite liked it, but wished it was longer! I’ve also read Hamlet and been fortunate enough to visit Helsingor, in Denmark, where the Bard set the play (my photographs are here). But I’ve not heard of May Sarton before and am staggered at how prolific she was. Her page on the Fantastic Fiction website is quite astounding! I must investigate her work soonish…
What do you think of Thomas’s choices? Have you read any of these books?