A good friend and blogher has tagged me to muse about books. Though I’m sure she didn’t mean it, I’m now feeling vastly inferior. She reads . . . a lot . . . important books and smart books like the kind I used to read. She studied English literature and poetry and is brilliant, though she’ll humbly and sincerely deny it. So what do I read now? Harry Potter and book club books and a ton of periodicals and teh Interweb.
Oh, and I like TV. Screenwriters (big and small) are today’s bards. Besides, there’s something satisfying about letting a certain amount of vapid, vicarious experience wash over me. It’s entertaining and soothes the bookish voices that clamor for attention. How can you not enjoy dramatic serials like “Deadwood” and “MillenniuM” and “Lost”?
1. One book that changed your life?
Um . . . the one book or just one of many? Well it could be the Bible, but that didn’t last. Or Dante’s Inferno, now that was a fantastic piece of poetry and something of a capstone to my undergraduate experience. Of course, Homer’s Iliad and Thucydides’ History of the Pelopenesian War helped me get the girl. But Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum was the first book I considered skipping work to continue reading — fortunately I was carpooling.
But Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has had the greatest influence on me. When asked about modernity, Prof. Goldberg told me to read it, saying it was a book that every educated person should read. I had a hard time in school moving from orthodoxy to understanding, but Kuhn presented a new epistemological context that really, really helped me get along. If only I had read it in school.
Wow. This is proving to be rather difficult.
2. One book you have read more than once?
I think I’ve only read three books twice. (I live for the new.) Just before one member of our book club turned 30, we read Catcher in the Rye, which turned out to be a totally different book than when I read it at 15. To Kill a Mockingbird — another book club selection — turned out to be as wonderful as I remembered. And I don’t remember crying so much over Bridge to Tarabithia the first time around.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
The Lord of the Rings.
4. One book that made you laugh?
Most recently, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Small details have me chuckling aloud.
5. One book that made you cry?
I wanted to cry whilst reading Anthony Wallace’s The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians, but only Tarabithia has had this effect.
6. One book you wish had been written?
The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America by Nicholas Lemann. We need more books about race that challenge us to ask why we don’t want to get along.
7. One book you wish had never had been written?
The Turner Diaries, I suppose.
8. One book you are currently reading?
Melanie Light and Ken Light’s Coal Hollow: Photographs and Oral Histories.
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Susan Sontag. On Photography.
10. Now tag five people