Thursday, July 28, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 24

Day 24: Book That Contains Your Favorite Scene


This was a really tough question. I sat on this one for a few days, in fact, going back and forth on a few of my favorite books. I finally decided I would abandon all of those books and concentrate on what books really gave me joy or meant a lot to me more recently and I just kept coming back to one book that I find myself talking about often. It was also one of my favorite books of 2010. Of course now I would have to pick a favorite scene from this book that has many great scenes in it – so this too caused another issue. The book is This Time Together by sweet, sweet Carol Burnett. There are so many laugh out loud (seriously) moments in this book, but pages 57 -59 are my favorite. Carol is just hitting it big and her grandmother is in the hospital due to a heart attack. Burnett is told that her grandmother would be fine so she stays in NY and does not fly home to LA, but has asked her cousin (Cuz) to check in on “Nanny” in the hospital. Her cousin checks in on her every day. One day the cousin walks out of the elevator to see a long line of people waiting in the hall, some even in costumes and reading Hollywood trade magazines. The line went all the way to Nanny’s door.
From the book:

Cuz pushed through the crowd. “Excuse me! I’m her grand-daughter!” She eventually managed to reach the door and open it. There sat Nanny, propped up in bed, being entertained by a little girl in a tutu who was tap-dancing and doing some baton twirling, accompanied by her father on a harmonica playing “Dixie.” The child ended with a spectacular split and a great big “TA DA,” arms up in the air, the baton twirling on one finger.

Nanny said, “Thank you. I’ll tell Carol about you. Now send in the next one, please.”

Cuz looked at her dumbfounded. “Nanny, what in the world is all this about?”

Nanny shrugged and smiled. “I got bored.”

There are some other good Nanny stories in here but fake auditioning people is pretty great. Some people just dream of doing things like this… she actually did it.

Anyway, I just loved this book cover to cover.


I chose a scene from a book I've read more recently.  An early contender for my favorite book of 2011 is the novel Galore by Michael Crummey.  I LOVE this book about an isolated fishing village in Newfoundland that spans 200 years.  It's storytelling magic.  And I'm open about my Canada obsession, but I'd love this book if it were set on the coast of Argentina, or the coast of Italy, or the coast of a Japanese island.  It's an extra treat that it's Canadian.  I was supposed to read an excerpt of Galore for work and I dutifully picked it up before my sales conference and plunged in.  Because I had about 20 other books to read, though, I hadn't planned to read the whole book at that time; I just needed the flavor of it for conference.  There's a scene at the beginning of the book, though, that sold me whole hog and I neglected my other responsibilities for two days while I submerged myself into the world of some wonderful scenes and characters.  I love everything about this book.

Here's the scene--

At the beginning of Galore, a whale washes up on shore in the coastal village of Paradise Deep, and the townspeople gather around the whale to discuss what's to be done with the corpse.  Some of the fishermen begin to dismantle the body, but then they are shocked to discover a man--stinking of fish and naked--in the belly of the whale.  The villagers are appalled and fascinated...and cattily remarking upon the small penis size of the dead man in the whale.  I love this--I would totally be the one cracking wiener jokes at such a moment.  But then the dead man moves.  He's still breathing, and though the villagers don't know how to react to such a phenomenon, they dress him and try to talk to him, discover his story.  He's mute.  They have to call him something, though, and so the villagers settle on "Judah;" they only have half a Bible in Paradise Deep (the product of another belly-of-a-fish discovery) and no one can remember if it's Jonah or Judas found in the belly of the Biblical whale. 

I love this scene because it rings true to human nature, and it establishes a sense of the miraculous among the mundane, and it captures the underlying humor found everywhere.  It perfectly sets the tone for the book.  Of course I had to discover Judah's story and immerse myself in the lore of Paradise Deep.  I wish I were more artistic; I would draw the scenes from Michael Crummey's novel a la Rockwell Kent.  And seriously, you need to be reading Galore.  This won't be the last time I mention it.


  1. The blessing scene towards the end of Gilead. Those who've read it will know what I mean. I wept.

  2. The beloved comedian tells about her life from childhood until the present day. Because each chapter is a single anecdote, this book can be picked up, read and enjoyed for a long or short periods, and saved to be picked up again at another time. However, because the author is such an interesting story teller, I found the saving "for another time" almost impossible.