It's Going Around...

I caught the Book Meme from Sommer. So here we go.

1) One book that changed your life?

The Bible, if it weren't for that damned book I would have more Sundays free. I can't remember the name of the collection, but I a collection of T.S. Eliot's poetry was pretty influential. I had a great English teacher in college who opened my eyes to poetry through The Waste Land. I probably reread The Waste Land and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock at least once a month, and frequently have passages floating through my head. The line "measured out my life in coffee spoons" comes to mind frequently. Here is a link to T.S. Eliot reading The Waste Land. It is pretty fantastic.

2) One book that you have read more than once?

Like most people who do this I have read many books numerous times, which allows me to cherry pick something in order to look good. So how about, Anna Karenina by Tolstoy? It really is just a wonderful book. I went through a phase were I only read Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, listened to Tom Waits, and drank a lot of whiskey. In many ways, it is a wonder that I am still alive.

3) One book that you would want on a desert island?

No one likes this question. I have a large book that features the complete works of Shakespeare, including the sonnets. The problem is that I am going to have to plan on being trapped on this island, because the thing is to damn big to actually take. But, it has a lot to read, and material that benefits from frequent readings. Also, when I started going crazy I could act out the plays with whatever people I had created in my head ala Gollum.

4) One book that made you cry?

Recently, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn made me cry when Johnny died. I know that he was a drunk and worthless, but it still got to me.

5) One book that made you laugh?

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris had me in tears. I remember reading it on a plane to Nebraska when my Grandmother died, and laughing so loud that I had to be disturbing my fellow passengers. The section where envisions inanimate objects getting married in order to remember the genders of their french names is particularly great.

6) One book that you wish had been written?

I wish the rest of Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky had been written. It was suppose to be a five part book about the German occupation of France in WWII, but Ms. Nemirovsky only finished two parts before being arrested by the Nazis and executed at Auschwitz. I just finished the two parts and they really are wonderful.

7) One book that you wish had never been written?

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Not only because I hate economics, but because it is a horrible read. Just look at the title. If the title of a book is that tedious, just imagine what the rest of it is like. Seriously, I don't know how people can be forced to read this before Bush's horrible law goes into effect. Also, the whole part about one savage hunting beavers and another hunting deer and them trading might be the stupidest construction in any respected book. In fact, I kinda hate all of the social contract theorists mainly because their books suck.

8) One book that you are currently reading?

I just started Saturday by Ian McEwan. I really enjoyed Atonement, but this one hasn't grabbed me yet. It is still early in the book, so we will see.

9) One book that you have been meaning to read?

Ulysses is really the only book that comes to mind. I start it at least once a year. I get about 150 pages in and realize that it has taken me like 2 months to read those pages. I then weep for the books that I haven't read in that time and abandon the project. In fact, I just added read Ulysses to my online To Do list. But don't get too excited, this list also features such items as, "catch a foul ball" and "break 200 in a game of bowling," so there is no rush on any of these.

10) Pass it on

I think most of all of my friends have already gotten this, so I don't know where to send it. How about Ryan?


  1. I've always loved "In a minute there is time / For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse," which is kind of depressing, I suppose, but it's a still great line.

  2. Yeah, I just can't pick my favorite line from that poem. I really like:
    "When the evening is spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherized upon a table"