Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Book tag

I've been tagged by Joel to do the Book Meme that came from John B. So here goes (prepare to be underwhelmed)...

1. One book that changed your life.

Well, factoring out The Bible (since I think this assignment is meant to reflect "modern" literature), I think it would have to be one of the books that first got me into the whole reading thing. I'll also filter out the books by Theodor Geisel since most of them were read to me before they were read by me (though I think people fail to recognize the emotional breadth and depth of Dr. Seuss' work -- so tragic the way they hopped on pop*).

Anyway, I think I'd have to go back to fifth grade Christmas break when I picked up a copy of CS Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book in the Chroni(What!)cles of Narnia series.

Sure, it turned out to have all kinds of religious symbolism and subtext, but to my pre-adolescent mind it was just a ripping good yarn. I went on to read the rest of the series, then the Lord of the Rings and others. Then in 1984 I thought it would be cool to read George Orwell’s 1984. Holy crap! Talk about a whole new experience in literature! And the rest, up until now, is history.

2. One book you have read more than once.

Well, there are many, but I'll just go with a small paperback volume called Robert Frost's Poems. It's an abridged anthology of (you guessed it) Robert Frost. It's not an exhaustive retrospective on Frost, but it has sentimental value to me because it was given to be by my grandfather before he died. I've often pulled it off of the bookshelf for a spiritual refresher after a particularly difficult day.

3. One book you would want on a desert island

At first is seemed Miller's Tropic of Cancer was an apropos title, but who needs that kind of frustration? No, I'll go with The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook -- I received it as a gag gift, but I'll be damned if it doesn't have some good tips on how to land an airplane (if the need should ever arise).

4. One book that made you laugh
My first choice would be The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy because Douglas Adams is so freakin' hilarious. But since Joel already has dibs, I'll go with The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book. Let's hear it for the graphic novel!

5. One book that made you cry

Hmm. I'm really not the type to cry at anything, let alone a book (I'm macho, you see). But I have had very strong emotional reactions to some books. Faulkner's Sanctuary is one (I know, some people say it's Falkner's worst work, but there's no accounting for taste). I just couldn't believe that a-hole Gowen would leave the beautiful Temple to be raped and pillaged by a bunch of thugs and bootleggers.

6. One book you wish you had written

Any of the Harry Potter books. I haven't read any of them (yeah, I'm the one), but What's-her-name has made more money than the Queen. Someone tell me, are the books as bad as the movies?

7. One book you wish had never been written

Well, there's value in most literature, even the bad books can show us the errors of our ways. The exception, of course, is anything written by L. Ron Hubbard. No redeeming value whatsoever.

8. One book you are currently reading

Tears and Laughter by Kahlil Gibran -- What a way with language this guy has.

9. One book you have been meaning to read

The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism -- I'm interested in the history and culture of France, and I enjoyed Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome so much that I'm sure I'll like this one too. King has a great knack for presenting history in an interesting story-like narrative. Truth, after all, is more interesting than fiction.

10. Tag five people.
Amy, Joe, Dan-o, Roldy, Happy In Bag -- you're it!

*Quote attributed to 20th Century American literary critic Homer Simpson.
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  1. Cool. Great list, and thanks for playing!

    Cool to see Robert Frost on the list. As I age, I find myself more and more drawn to good poetry (i.e.: poetry not written by teen-agers). I just finished a collection of Czeslaw Milosz ... wonderfully contemplative stuff.

  2. You didn't tag me, so I guess I can go to bed now.

  3. Oof. OK, I'll slap sumpin together soon.

  4. Just did mine. Thanks for the inspiration . . .


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