Friday, August 04, 2006

"The" 10 books of greensmile

Is "meme" the concatenated corruption of "Me! Me!"?

Coturnix tagged me with a Book Meme and, since he is my greatest source of traffic, I cannot say No. The temptation to qualify and explain my choices is strong because of the arbitrary constraint of this meme: that a single book will have been the stand-out, if not sole influence on some aspect of my life or thought. Baloney! Wrong answers will be arrived at if wrong question is asked! [A complaint I share with Coturnix]

A few words of general qualification to cover the strangeness of all the books to be named: I am a weak reader and always was. Half-read books outnumber finished books by a wide margin in my library. If you leave out Kurt Vonnegut, I have read virtually no novel-length fiction since my high school days [when mastodons and Winston Churchill roamed the earth] though I still pick up the occasional biography, some of which verge on fiction these days. The books I list are in some cases insignificant and forgotten books but the most important book in your life is not always the best book in some critical or absolute sense but the book you read at the best moment relative to your particular state of learning.

1) One book that changed your life?
Our Friend the Atom by Heinz Haber and Disney Studios single handedly steered my 6th grade mind away from a budding interest in paleontology toward phyisics. This interest grew and kept me going until grad school. My mom lugged my old science books to the curb years ago and now, incredibly, I see this one is going for $149!


2) One book you have read more than once?
The Pentateuch...way more than once, in many English translations and parts of it in Hebrew. It is, strictly speaking, more than one book and appears to have several contributing authors...does that still count as one selection for this goofy book club?

3) One book you would want on a desert island?
Any good field guide to distinguishing edible from poisonous plants and sea creatures, including insects and preferably from a gimmicky children's book publisher who puts a Fresnel lens magifier in a pocket on the back cover.

4) One book that made you laugh?
Collected Stories by Mark Twain

5) One book that made you cry?
None I read myself. But dad reading R. L. Stevenson's Black Arrow when we were small enough to sit on his lap? That was some harrowing shit!

6) One book you wish had been written?
You may be reading it now.

7) One book you wish had never had been written?
The Pentateuch with all its extensions, outgrowths and adaptations. The wisdom they contain is constantly rediscovered, it can not be lost as long as intelligent people live. But the peace these works have banished from the planet...can that be recovered before the intelligent people are killed off?

8) One book you are currently reading?
The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James [yes, still reading this one]

9) One book you have been meaning to read?
Collapse by Jared Diamond.

10) Now tag five people -
ETBNC who is carefully putting together the pieces of a gorgeous blog.
Amy ['bout time I paided you back]
Colin Caret
Cul
Shaw

3 comments:

cul said...

ok...I'll try that.

etbnc said...

Aw, shucks. Thanks for the kind words.

My inexact copy of the book meme is (currently) at my other site, Another blue puzzle piece.

(It's also linked from My blue puzzle piece, and will find a permanent place there eventually.)

Thanks for your interest!

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