My Life in Books, 2019

I saw the “My Life in Books” meme on several blogs at the beginning of the year. After I wrote my version, I went back and discovered I was supposed to fit the books into a series of prompts. I’m not a big one for prompts, so I’ll just stick with my own version (with all due respect to the prompters).

I was Born of Love (by Rita Baker) to a divinity student and a nursery school teacher.

Although my dad was fond of citing Divine Mysteries, there was no Incident of the Mysterious Priest (by Raymond Fenech) involving him.

My dad taught me about angels as a separate order of being but not Angels of Stockholm (by Neil Desmond).

As a child, I was fond of singing The Bear Went Over the Mountain (by William Kotzwinkle).

In high school, I wrote with a fountain pen, but it was not filled with Bright Pink Ink (by Laura Dinovis Berry).

When my family lived in Enosburg, my bedroom was connected to my brother’s through a heating duct, and the intermodulations (by Steve Carter) of his jazz records wafted into my room at night.

I first felt myself Redlined (by Richard W. Wise) when living in a run-down cinderblock duplex in East Ocean View.

After graduate school, I sought gainful employment in academe by addressing cover letters Dear Committee Members (by Julie Schumacher).

I can attest to the fact that higher education is No Ivory Tower (by Stephen Davenport).

Although I lived in the South for many years, I never made it to Queenie’s Place (by Toni Morgan).

When my husband and I moved back to New England, one of the first places we went was The White Mountain (by Dan Szczesny).

Leora’s Letters (by Joy Neal Kidney) taught me much I needed to know about patriotism and sacrifice.

My life has been one Changing Tide (by Lewis J. Beilman III) after another, as I Pivot (by Debbie Richard) from one phase to the next, longing for Peace (by Meryl P. Moorhouse).

I have devoted the better part of my career to Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and other Necessities (by John Warner).

I have met many silly people in my time, but none as silly as Count Arthur Strong in Through It All, I’ve Always Laughed (by Steve Delaney), even though his formative years were marred by living in Britain While the Bombs Fell (by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton).

Reading The Maid Narratives (by Katherine von Wormer, David W. Jackson III, Charletta Sudduth) inspired me to write a new short story, “Going Down South,” about a family trip to New Orleans in the early 1960s.


104 thoughts on “My Life in Books, 2019

  1. This a fun idea for a blog-post Liz! Being a logophile (a philologos), I imagine you to also be something of a voracious reader and selecting books must have proven a tricky task. I must admit that I’ve not heard of any of the above titles, although one or two strike me as interesting, in particular, Incident of the Mysterious Priest by Raymond Fenech (1)

    Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading your potted history. I’m encouraged to consider my own abridged history revealed through the books I’ve read at key stages in my life.

    Hoping you are safe and well Liz. Take care of one and all, and keep smiling behind the face-mask!


    (1) – This an interview with the author Raymond Fenech found whilst idly looking at the titles you’ve mentioned.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Dewin! Given the focus of your poetry and your wide-ranging interests, I think you’d like The Mysterious Priest.

      I’m keeping well. I hope you’re doing the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Liz, all’s well thus far. It has been suggested that the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.K will rise steeply during the next two to three weeks. As such we – family, friends, and our immediate community – are remaining socially responsible and doing our best to stay safe. These are unprecedented times, the likes of which i have never experienced before and hope never to experience again.

        Thank you for your reply. As a consequence of your recommendation, I might just invest in a copy of Fenech’s book to help ease me through any period of self-isolation.

        Good to hear you’re well. Take care,


        Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you Liz. We shall be fine.

            I’ve just ordered the book and will let you know my thoughts in due course. The Amazon book review you submitted last year finally persuaded me to buy it!

            Take care,


            Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a fun and well crafted exercise! If my reading and writing energies weren’t directed elsewhere, I’d love to participate. (This is going to simmer on the back-burner of my mind, I’m sure of it.) What a wonderful idea, prompt-free of course 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Liz.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Not quite as many books here on my shelves. My quilting spouse does books on tape, with her volume up, so she can hear over the needles purring from the sewing machine, I get to hear also while in my office. Jeff Shaara’s “The Frozen Hours” would be my most compelling read of the past year. “The Poisonwood Bible,” Barbara Kingsolver, was my latest eves dropping adventure into the Congo. I shall have a different feeling towards the cold and those Marines who fought in it in Korea, from Jeff Shaara’s book. My biggest takeaway from The Poisonwood Bible, the Driver Ants.
    Red Lined will be a go-to book for me. Miss living close to Boston, know the times of the early ’70s, especially being a young Trooper in CT.

    May you and yours Be Safe, my electronic friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca! I must have story in my DNA; I can’t get away from it. I’m working on a poem for an ekphrastic poetry challenge from a local writers’ association. I chose the painting, but I was having a hard time with description until I saw an old man whittling in a cottage that is out of the frame. Story!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Mary. I thought we’d killed the five-paragraph essay back in the ’80s. And then it rose from the grave in some kind of zombie apocalypse of stilted, pointless “themes.” Very distressing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lockdown is strange. The governor came on the news with the “shelter in place” order for NH, with a laundry list of exceptions for essential operations–liquor stores and gun dealers being among those considered “essential.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz! This is absolutely wonderful! I loved how you timelined your life through books tat you’ve read. You have a marvelously creative mind and such a good grasp of narrative. I would love to have had you as a teacher!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’ve done a great job Liz. Id too like to say that higher education is no ivory tower!!!
    How have you been. There’s worrisome news from all over. In India we are quarantined for three weeks. They are hoping it would help.
    Keep safe. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Sonia! I’ve been okay. It’s very strange. I have a remote job and the rest of the college went online two weeks ago. So the day to day really hasn’t changed much–expect for the situation in my state of NH getting worse by the day. The governor gave the stay-in-the-house order at the beginning of the week. It’s going to be for the foreseeable future. I hope you and your family are weathering the crisis.


  6. Delightful and creative. Each paragraph begs for an entire story! And this reminds me of how many books I’ve added to my reading list because you’ve reviewed them. Thanks for the smiles, Liz, which these days are crucially important.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Count Arthur Strong! A favourite of mine. I didn’t know about the book. I came across him on BBC Radio 4 many years ago. Loved the TV series, but still not as good as the radio in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How wonderful to meet another Count Arthur fan!! The book is definitely for fans. If someone unfamiliar with the character were to just pick up the book and read it, it would drive them completely around the bend with frustration.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Liz, even if I wrote about my life in books, I’m not sure about sharing it. Then all would know just how strange I really am. 🙂
    An early reader (age 3) I avoided children’s books and went straight to the adult section in the library. My world was too surreal and fiction grated on me. I wanted reality, I wanted facts.
    I would have moved into the library if that had been an option.
    It is an interesting concept and perhaps a valuable exercise for personal use and a future post perhaps. Thank you. Léa

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome, Lea. Thank you for reading and commenting. I’ve always gone straight to fiction to make sense of the world. If you decide to do your own “Life in Books,” I’d be very interested to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz, how kind you are. Funny you should mention that last bit. A blogging friend has been teasing me to write and is excited about an idea I’ve had. She is interested in contributing a chapter. Now she has really turned my head in that direction so now to figure how it will manifest?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fabulous idea to do it this way! I love that carousel image thing too, have never seen that before on a WP blog, did not know of that feature. Lovely books, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

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