Book Meme
0 comment Sunday, April 6, 2014 |
Eugenie tagged me with the "Book Meme". Good thing, because my brain needs an oil change and there was no way I was going to come up with some fresh blog fodder for you without causing the engine to seize. The rules are thus: list 15 books that you can come up with in 15 minutes that have "stuck with you". I don't often play by the rules, so I see no reason to start now. I've listed my >15 books (in a couple of different categories) that have "stuck with me". It took me considerably longer than 15 minutes to do so.Children's Books:His Dark Materials (Trilogy) - Phillip Pullman - (The Amber Spyglass movie is crap in comparison.) I actually didn't read this series as a child - I think the first time was when I was about 15 or 16 (at which point I think I was more of a young adult)...and I've read it several times over since then. It did then and still does appeal to my inner scientist and general pain in the ass. Question everything and don't let other people determine your ethics for you based on "I said so".Lord of the Rings (Trilogy) - J.R.R. Tolkein - for the obvious reasons I think.Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak - I wanted to be Max as a child. Actually I just wanted his pajamas. And I love love love the illustrations, and the verbal imagery: "they rolled their terrible eyes, and gnashed their terrible teeth!". I remember going to see The Nutcracker by the Pacific Northwest Ballet as a little kid. I never liked the story, but was utterly enchanted by the set (designed by Sendak), especially the Christmas tree that grew out of the stage. He also did the costume design - the seven-headed Rat King gave me nightmares for years - excellent!Ronia The Robber's Daughter - Astrid Lindgren - Was kind of "meh" on Pippi Longstocking but I loved this book because the protagonist was a little girl who was exactly not like most other little girls in children's books. She was a little hellion raised by a band of robbers, and she basically spent her time traipsing about the woods on her pony getting up to no good. She befriends the son of a rival robbers' band, and in Romeo & Juliet fashion they defy the family rivalry and remain fast friends, even moving out and setting up their own camp in the woods. But they don't fall in love as I recall and they both remain little terrors right through the story. No moralizing (except to the parents). Wonderful.We Were Tired of Living in House - Liesel Moak Scorpen (author), Doris Burn (illustrator). The illustrations in newer editions are just crap in comparison to the original. Kids get sick of being told what to do, so they move out to their own place (are we detecting a theme here? All things considered, my parents were pretty awesome, I just had a wicked independent streak). Of course, various inclement weather forces them to move on to other abodes, and each time they take something with them from their previous home. "....and a frog who was a particular friend...." I think my mom saved this book for me in hopes that I'll give it *my* kids someday. Methinks it's some sort of bribe in exchange for grandkids. Mom, I can buy it on amazon.The Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling - It's all been said before.The Baron in the Trees - Italo Calvino - This isn't really children's book, but I suspect I would have liked it just as much if I'd read it as a kid.Philosophy/Mythology/Literature:The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell - This book sticks with me not as the book itself, but as a sort of tour guide through my high school Literary Backgrounds course. This class was the reason I became a Philosophy major. It was taught by a crotchety and occasionally creepy old dude who cursed a lot and treated his students like adults (a rarity). He insisted that we be suspicious of any viewpoint that was handed to us on a platter - that people (and good authors) lie about their agenda so you have to dig a little deeper to figure out what's really going on, that the hard things are the ones worth doing, and that being intellectually lazy means missing out on the Real Deal (also working themes from Hero).Fear and Trembling - Soren Kierkegaard - This work was pivotal for me. Read it for my Existentialism class in college, and suddenly I "got it" about belief/faith. I was raised in a religious household, but with a big heaping healthy dose of critical thinking. I tried really hard to "believe" but never felt like I pulled it off. Kierkegaard spelled out why. Belief is informed by your experiences and perceptions of reality, but requires at some point a "leap of faith" or a conscious decision to accept cognitive dissonance, to hold two opposing realities simultaneously as truths...sort of like Schroedinger's cat, which is something I "get" intellectually, but it is much more difficult to wrap my head around in practice. It was this book that showed me why I couldn't do it, and it was a tremendous relief. Dynamics of Faith and The Courage To Be - Paul Tillich - Yeah, that's two books, so sue me. Part counterpoint to Kierkegaard, part "Yeah, existentialism is tough - suck it up! Oh, and if you do, it's pretty awesome!" Republic - Plato - Perhaps it's a bit cliche but the Allegory of the Cave is still true. Our experience informs our perception of reality. Changing it is scary.The Trial - Franz Kafka - Alternate Title: AA's Initiation into Academic Science. The first time I read this book (pre-initiation into academic science) I thought it was miserable and terrifying. I still think it's miserable and terrifying. I mean WTF? Why? What the hell is wrong with you Franz? And then I joined the ranks of academic science and I felt just like Franz. I am clearly on trial here, but no one can/will tell me what for exactly or how I am supposed to go about defending myself. Soldiering on in the face of absurdity can feel like a pretty lonely position, but it's not a unique experience.Fiction (I'm going to be lazy on this section - I'm not telling you why these ones stuck with me - I suggest you go read them and see what you get out of it):A Trip to the Stars - Nicholas ChristopherFierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates - Tom RobbinsYou Shall Know Our Velocity! - Dave EggersThe Stone Raft - Jose SaramagoBalthasar and Blimunda - Jose SaramagoI like Cath's tagging method. She tagged anyone who's ever fallen off a sailboat. I tag anyone who's ever fallen off a horse.

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