August 06, 2006

book tagging

mikkel over at the äcres has tagged me in a book related meme.

normally i hate hate chain-lettery, self-aggrandizing, internet-y things, but i'm answering this one for several reasons.

1. everyone who knows me personally knows how strongly i feel about the äcres, mikkel, sara and what they do. they absolutely should be supported at every turn.

2. given #1, i owe mikkel a response on a side project he sent me yonks ago. guilt is always a motivator -- especially in someone like me who is almost incapable of feeling it.

3. this is an interesting set of queries.

first a pre-amble. i have a very strange relationship with the printed word and books. it wouldn't surprise me if i've read less than 200 books cover-to-cover. considering my age, and the fact that i graduated valedictorian of a large american high school, that's shockingly few.

i was raised in a household that placed a heavy emphasis on general knowledge (and to a lesser extent reading), but i always sort of hated it. up through my 20's i would only read a book if i could do it in one sitting.

from there i spent about a decade where i'd read a bit of a book everyday -- commonly reading multiples at the same time (i remember a period where i was reading "war and peace," "the curse of lono" and "the watchmen" simultaneously).

when i got divorced, i dropped away from it and haven't really gotten back into it since.

i do have a few cheats, though.

one is that i voraciously read magazines, and in the last 10 years, the internet.

another is that i subscribed to the new york times book review for about a decade. just reading reviews about books can make you seem way more literate than you actually are.

and my biggest is i have a really strong memory -- especially for facts that are superlatives (biggest, heaviest, cheapest, most, etc.) -- this too makes me seem more literate than i actually am.

on with the meat.

A book that changed your life:

there're two obvious ones.

one would be that book i read part of in 3rd grade that talked about haiku. i don't know the name of it, but it's essentially the reason you're reading this site today.

the other: at a young and impressionable age i becamextremelyly interested in philosophy and fairly early in my studies ran across a version of the teachings of buddha. the words and concepts struck me very hard in a number of surprising ways.

1. it was how i came to understand that in the west we have philosophy, religion and politics (so you could be, say, a dialectic materialist, a catholic and a democrat); but in the east philosophy is religion is politics.

2. there are choices of religion available that go far beyond christianity.

3. there are millions of people, somewhere, that are incorrect in their religious beliefs (assuming this world isn't a you-create-your-own-reality-by-what-you-believe kind of affair).

this, in turn, started my interest in religion, which, in turn, taught me the fundamental political underpinnings in christianity.

even today it's nearly impossible to sit down and have a conversation with me for longer than 30 minutes, or to read more than 25 entries here (or on the choka), without me bringing up some fundamental buddhist concept that i was exposed to during this first pass.

to say it was huge to my life is an understatement.

A book you’ve read more than once:

i think there is only one: fear and loathing in las vegas, written by my third cousin (yes, really) hunter thompson.

A book that made you laugh:

fear and loathing in las vegas makes me laugh so hard i cry. i also think rivethead by ben hamper is both hilarious and in my eyes may well be the best american novel of the 20th century.

A book that made you cry:

assuming this means emotional-cry, versus laugh-cry, the answer would be "none." i hardly ever cry -- as in, i didn't even shed a tear when my dad died and i was probably the closest person to him in the world.

A book that you wish had been written:

collected thoughts by jesus christ (and not written by his damn lackies -- those guys really get on my nerves [especially peter and john])

fight like you mean it (expanded edition including an appendix on how to use an elephant like a weapon) by hannibal barca

where cinema should go by sergei eisenstein

the 20 best ideas i had but never acted on by sergei prokofiev

A book you wish had never been written:

the celestine prophecy

A book you’re currently reading:

naked lunch by william burroughs. bet i don't finish it.

A book you’ve been meaning to read:

the koran. i've read abridged versions of it and know the general layout/stories, but it needs a closer look. and i have no excuse for not doing it -- i've had an excellent translation sitting on my bookshelves for over 20 years.

Now tag X people:

there's a ton of people i'd hit up here, but i want to leave it to my readership. i choose: anne, suttonhoo and maya.


Blogger anne said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger anne said...

done, finally

Saturday, August 12, 2006 4:21:00 PM  

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