books that mean a lot (reprise)

this is a facebook thingie that i participated in earlier.

Books that Mean a Lot

The Rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me because I’m interested in seeing what books my friends chose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the note.)


– 1984, George Orwell

The first book that I close-read. The first charge of electricity to my brain which turned on my sense of justice and produced the first inklings of a political consciousness.


-Illuminations, Walter Benjamin

I haven’t read every article in this volume. I keep re-reading the ones I already read. I must have read The Storyteller for about a hundred times. If I could take only one book with me, this would be it.

-The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin

“I’ll make  my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my own homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.”


-A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.


Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it. There were stories in the newspapers, of course, corpses in the ditches or the woods, bludgeoned to death or mutilated, interfered with as they used to say, but they were about other women, and the men who did such things were other men. None of them were the men we knew. The newspaper stories were like dreams to us, bad dreams dreamt by others. How awful, we would say, and they were, but they were awful without being believable. They were too melodramatic, they had a dimension that was not the dimension of our lives. We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories. ”


The Passion, Jeanette Winterson

“Trust me. I’m telling you stories.”

“I see a little boy watching his reflection in a copper pot he’s polished. His father comes in and laughs and offers him his shaving mirror instead.

But in the shaving mirror the boy can only see one face. In the pot, he can see all the distortions of his face. He sees many possible faces and so he sees what he might become.”

“I’m telling you stories. Trust me.”


Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lorde

Kills me from the first sentence of Acknowledgements on:

“May I live conscious of my debt to all the people that make life possible.”


-Loving in the War Years, Cherrie L. Moraga

One of my most re-read volumes. Full of underlinings, coffee stains, bookmarks, this sister traveled a long way with me.

“Silence is like starvation… When we are not physically starving we have the luxury to realize psychic and emotional starvation. It is from this starvation that other starvations can be recognized…”


-Angry Women, Andrea Juno

I lost this babe to the Bosphorous once. I made myself believe this was a sign that we were saturated with one another. But I missed her and got another copy this year. She comes to work with me now.


-The First Man, Albert Camus

This is his last manuscript, unfinished and published posthumously.

Perhaps this is why I never got to finish this novel. I kept beginning to re-read at weird pivotal times of my life. I was in such a different plane of thought when I first read it that I can’t discern my own notes now. I have no idea what they refer to.

I vividly remember my last attempt at reading it.

Perhaps I’ll finish one day. When the time is ripe.


-Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes

I was supposed to read it for a class. I didn’t. I read it on my own time. I was traveling alone. This is the only thing I retained of it: After his mother dies Barthes looks for a photograph of her that reflects her essence and is utterly unable to find one that captures it. Finally he runs into it. It is a photograph of her when she was eight, way before she become his mother. It is only then that he can truly begin to mourn her.


-Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, Alexander Berkman

Read at a pivotal time. Sobered by it.

I loved “Red,” a character in prison who wants Alex to be his “kid” and speaks like a Bostonian Shakespeare on speed.

“How? My kid, of course. That’s just what I mean. Any objections sir, as the learned gentlemen of the law say in the courts of the blind goddess. You betcher life she’s blind, blind as an owl on a sunny midsummer day.”


-İnce Memed, Yaşar Kemal

This is a classic novel. Written in the Turkish language by a Kurdish writer. Bilingualism frees the tongue, schizophrenizes language, opens up all possibilities.

The first volume was required reading in high school. But I had already read all four volumes when I was 14.


-Başkalarının Kokusu, Aslı E. Perker

An excellent first novel. I loved it so much, I sent a copy to all the women I love.


-Sofranız Şen Olsun, Takuhi Tovmasyan

The most schizophrenic cookbook/memoir ever. Makes impossible switches from fried onion to the Armenian genocide. I read it laughing and crying frantically at the same time. It gave me the inspiration for my MA thesis but never made it in there. I will get there. I deserves its own special place.


-Tonton Turuncu ile Mavi Maviş

An illustrated children’s book about colors. Teaches primary colors and what happens when they mix. The title roughly translates as “Chubby Orange and Bluesy Blue”. These two kids live in different countries separated by a river. One lives in the country of warm colors and the other in the country of cool colors. But they become friends. Then their families meet, they hug and make all these colors. Mr Yellow hugs Mrs Red and they produce orange and so on :)

I took more than 15 minutes :D