Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A book meme

I picked up a book meme from Reflections of a Secular Franciscan and thought it a good one. I promise I won't do too many memes, but I like this one.

A Book that changed my life. Well, quite literally, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich helped decide where I'd go to college. My senior year of high school, I was up for a full-ride scholarship that would not only have paid for university, but also for a trip abroad. During the interview, they asked my my favorite book at the time. I mentioned my admiration for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's writing and the powerful humanity of this book. The panel of interviewers seemed to frown all at once. To this day, I wonder why that book should have disqualified me, but that answer pretty much shut down the interview. I was disappointed at the time, but now I think it was definitely for the best. Not only would I have not met my husband had I gone there, but I think the conformity they would have expected of me would have been a terrible trial.

In a less literal sense, there are many books that have helped make me. For a while, I feared that I might be like Kipling's Tomlinson, whose soul is found only to contain the words of others, and little of his own.

A book that I've read more than once.There are several books that I've read more than once. I think that reading a book more than once helps me to actually digest it.

A book that I'd want on a desert island is either the complete works of Shakespeare or the Bible and a book on wilderness survival. If I only get the one, I'll take the book on wilderness survival and live to write my poems on the beach. If I get more than one, I want something that I've happily returned to time and again in my life.

A book that made me laugh. Last time my dad was sent overseas, I read Jingo by Terry Pratchett. While parts of that book show the terrible impact of war, I laughed out loud at the football (soccer to us Americans) game and the moment when both armies are placed under arrest. I am reminded of the solution in the Harry Potter books to boogeymen - laughter. When I find myself weighed down by the wars our poor world is overloaded with, I pick up that book again, if only to re-read the end. Oh, and just totally for giggles: the Hitchhiker's Guide series by Douglas Adams. Don't Panic, and always know where your towel is.

A book that made me cry. Many. I remember being assigned to read Night by Elie Wiesel for both a philosophy course and a history of the Holocaust class once when I was in university. My younger sister was visiting that day, or I don't know if I could have taken it. I read the book after she had gone to sleep, and I stayed awake afterwards, just listening to her breath as she slept.

A book that I wish had been written. Well, I wish my husband's grandmother would write down or allow to be recorded her life story.

A book that I wish had never been written. So often, we attempt to exorcise our fears by finding a scapegoat for those fears. Even in cultures without books, we do this. Perhaps by the time there is the book, it's necessary so the ideas can be countered in one place. I don't know. I wish we'd cut it out.

I'm currently reading ... I'm skipping around. Right now, a bit of brain candy - Georgette Heyer novels, so they're erudite brain candy, but still...


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