Friday, September 22, 2006

Book Meme

I've been tagged by Lotus Reads for an interesting meme about books. The hard thing is that I tend to read a lot. Not nearly as much as I would like to, or as much as I used to, but a lot. At the same time, I have a pretty crappy memory, so I might answer these questions one way today, and if you asked me again in a year, or a week, you might get all different answers. :)

1. One book that changed your life?

"The Blood of Others", by Simone de Beauvoir. I read this my senior year in college, and I remember the feeling that I got from it...the idea that we are deeply responsible for our actions, because they can have truly profound effects upon others...great stuff. I remember while reading this book, I walked over to the movie theater near my house one rainy afternoon, and saw the movie "Glory". Somehow black battalion in the Civil War, trying to take control of their own destiny, seemed even more poingnant to me because of the book I was reading. (There was a film version of The Blood of Others, back in the mid-80s, but it pretty much stunk. Jodie Foster, but not her best work.)

2. One book you have read more than once?

I've read a lot of books more than once. I'm a re-reader. I've read "Gone With the Wind" and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books more times than I can count. (GWTW...Scarlett's conflict, between what she has to do, and what she things she SHOULD resonates with many, I think.) But for a grown up, serious book that I LOVE, I would answer "The Dead", by James Joyce. (I know, it's not a book, it's a short story. So sue me.) It's one of the most touching stories that I've ever read. I felt humbled by the experience. (They did a beautiful job with a movie version a while ago, too. If you're a John Huston fan, I believe this was his last film.)

Honorable Mention here would go to The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I love that book. The movie was good, but really, only after reading the book. I didn't understand the motivations well enough from the movie without that background. Milan Kundera is amazing.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Probably Ulysses, by James Joyce. Why Ulysses? 2 reasons. 1. Because the time I tried to read it, I had to laugh at the phrase, "The sea, the sea, the snot green sea"; and, 2. Because stuck on a desert island is probably the only way I would ever get through it. It's a literary laberynth.

4. One book that made you cry?

I'm not sure any book has actually made me physically cry. I cry at movies all of the time, and songs, and commercials. But books, I can't think of any right now. However, some books have made me depressed and sick to my stomach, does that count? The Kite Runner and The Lovely Bones are two more recent examples that have really hit hard.

5. One book that made you laugh?

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. You can enjoy it online, here. Sick humor at its best. The first time I found this book was in a bookstore in Philadelphia, and Ted and I were cracking up. That's the bookstore where I first found Swami on Rye and Max Makes a Million, two books that I had to immediately buy for my as yet unborn child. I may not have even been pregnant yet, but I knew she had to have these books.

6. One book you wish had been written?

"How we ended poverty, hunger, war, and disease in the 20th century."

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Sadly, most textbooks. Boy, they can suck the life out of even the most interesting subjects.

8. One book you are currently reading?

I'm reading Eat Cake, which was recommended to me by Cherry and La Luna, both bakers and eaters of yummy cakes. I'm not as big a cake fan as they are, and I'm not very far in, but so far, so good. I'm enjoying it.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

I've been meaning to read Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens. My New Years Resolution last year was to read some of the classics of literature that I missed while I was in school. Along the way, I realized that I haven't read any Dickens. That made me feel somewhat uneducated, so I looked around and picked one. It's an interesting, though bleak, topic. Debters prisons in England in the 18th century. But 18th century novels are written in a different tempo, a different rythem than books today. You kind of have to get in a certain groove to really get into it, I think. At least, that's true for me. Maybe I'll reread "Pride and Predjudice" for practice.

10. Three people you will tag.
Emily - She's a new blog friend, and I think pretty literary, so I'll be interested to see her answers. If she doesn't want to do it, I'll understand. I mean, I tagged her very recently for another meme, and maybe she's tired of the damn things. Also, looking at her island meme from awhile ago, she kind of answered some of these already. Hell, I'm tagging her anyway.

Wendy - I'm always trying to figure out what makes her tick, so this could be interesting. She also did the island meme, I think, which had 5 books on it...but that's a different question, and she is on a different blog. So there.

Heidi - She of the amazing photography. I'd like to know what kind of books get her motor running.

Anyone else want to play? Write it up on your blog and let me know. I'd love to see your answers.

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