Monday, July 20, 2009

Books Meme - YAY!!!!! I Love Book Memes...

Updated...And again, with a new tag or two...

Though I usually hate fucking memes...

Greg posted a FaceBook meme to his blog and I really rather liked it, so I thought I would do it here. Because apparently every time I want to go to FaceBook, I have to get a new fucking password - by some quirk, the cookies don't remember and neither does FireFox. Besides, there are lots of interesting people around here...

So the meme as Greg put it, is to list fifteen books that had the most profound impact on you - ones you can think of in fifteen minutes or less. I say fuck that bullshit - don't be entirely constrained by rules!!!!111!1!1* I listed the books that have stuck with me the most, that I could think of in fifteen minutes (honestly, I am not sure about the time, I know it was right around fifteen minutes).

I am going to tag people too!!!! Because people have tagged me with these fucking things, so why should I not torment my friends (and a fucking Canuckistanian or two)!!!!!!11!!@2!! So I want to tag Jason, Cath@VWXYNot?, Lost Marbles and, now that we got those fucking Canucks** out of the way, Toaster, Dan J and Stephanie, who has probably done it on FB***, but Fuck FB, Fuck it up it's stupid, password forgetting ASS!!!!11!!**** And now, Scicurious must be tagged, along with sbh!!!11!!1!! Thus putting the balance where it should be - far more Mrkins, than fucking Canucks!!!1111!!1!

It also occurred to me, that I should note these are all books that stuck with me - had an impact. That does not mean and should not be taken to imply that I endorse everything on this list. There are several volumes I assuredly do not, as well as volumes that I neither liked nor disliked, but which nevertheless are stuck in my head forever. V for Vendetta, for example, is a decent graphic novel and went well with 1984 and Brave New World, but the only reason it's on this list, is because it is also rather exceptionally violent and contains extremely disturbing imagery - fine now I would think, but I read it when I was eleven. And I consider Wesley's Works a colossal waste of my time, but it, along with On Being and Essence (not nearly such a waste of time) largely molded my theological outlook for years.

And I included children's books I love. What should surprise is not that I did, but that I didn't include more of them. For example, I am rather bummed that neither Encyclopedia Brown, nor The Hardy Boys (the original mind) made the list. I spent many hours in trees with one or the other. Duncan McTavish in Switzerland was also rather important to me - eldest rather likes it too, along with Paddington (I love how being a parent, I get to share this stuff with my boys). And I absolutely adored the concepts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a novel that I spent the last few minutes of my fifteen trying to remember in vain. The theme of poverty ridden families being rescued from it by a child was one of my favorites - in spite of the fact that I totally thought my middle to lower middle class family was pretty wealthy...

*actually, I just went all ADHD and didn't read the instructions carefully. Rather amusing, given the title of Greg's post was The Fifteen Book Meme...

** I would have tagged Jodi - actually would love to see her list, but I didn't want to give too much credence to the soon to be Canuckistanian invadees...

***Besides, she probably did the lame, FB version that only allows for fifteen books...

****I would also harass Juniper with this, but I don't want to throw more shit on her plate - though I would love it if she too, wanted to actually do this...

The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
V for Vendetta
(Read when I was eleven)
Brave New World
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Doors of Perception
Heaven and Hell
John Keats
In the Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
A Bear Called Paddington
The Art of War
The Godmakers
Arabel's Raven
Breaking the Spell
Wesley's Works
On Being and Essence
(not in Latin)
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
The Dosadi Experiment
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Demon Haunted World
Crewel Lye
Book of the Dead
Book of Living and Dying
The Foundation Trilogy
The Heart of Addiction


Stephanie Zvan said...

Just for you, blog first.

Mike Haubrich said...

The Godmakers! Excellent inclusion.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Hmmm, Thanks Steph - that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside...Though having just gotten up, I could be mistaking it for gas...

I am actually really glad that I read The Godmakers when I was a little older and had read several years worth of Ellery Queen, SciFi & Fantasy and Asimov's. Because the serial can be quite disconcerting in novelized form...But yes, I was terribly fond of that one. It was really between that, Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment that I concluded Herbert was quite possibly the brightest of American authors.

I think the thing that really got me was the whole notion of blending the legal systems of three races, in Whipping Star, then the entire underlying premise of Godmakers and it's conjunctive planet Amel. Although I tend to think that being introduced to the concept of non-figurative "god as creation of man" was not a net positive...And then seeing the concepts of WS and even aspects of Godmakers brought the an extreme in Dosadi was just the cap...

I actually read the Dune cycle every few years...Though I am going to refrain from ever reading the Brian Herbert/Anderson additions again. I am pleased enough to have read through to the end and even accept that this is more or less where Herbert intended on going - but damn, their writing just breaks the flow...

sbh said...

My list (maybe):

The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll
The Complete Sherlock Holmes
The Space-Child's Mother Goose
The Ambidextrous Universe
Exotic Zoology
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Pogo Papers
A Gnome There Was
The Gospel of Thomas (or The Nag Hammadi Codices)
The Devil's Dictionary
Letters from the Earth
The Stars My Destination
Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm
A Christmas Garland
The Thurber Carnival
The Frogs (or The Complete Works of Aristophanes)
Seven Plays by Bernard Shaw
The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Harrison edition)
Asimov's Biographical Dictionary of Science and Technology
The Starry Messenger
The Looking-Glass Book of Stories
I Robot
Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark
Trajectories Through Early Christianity
Behold the Man
The Motor Boys in Mexico

Okay, fifteen minutes are gone... and I didn't try to keep it down to fifteen books, obviously. Oh, damn, Dan O'Neill's Hear the Sound of my Feet Walking Drown the Sound of my Voice Talking should have been in there somewhere too. And Twain's The Chronicle of Young Satan (aka The Mysterious Stranger). And...

Abby Normal said...

Here are mine. These are the books that have a special place in my heart, the ones who's mere mention cause my ears perk and my heart races just a bit. It may be because the book itself is outstanding, or something in it changed me, or even just because of what was going on in my life at the time I was reading it. I've included a little dedication for each in a vain attempt to sum up what they mean to me.

To create the list I just wrote them down as quickly as I could. As soon as there was a pause, a moment to wonder "what else," I considered myself done. What surprised me most are the things that didn't make the list. Non-fiction is almost entirely absent, as is philosophy and the writings of visionaries like Thoreau and Burroughs. I'd be remiss if I didn't admit these folks had a profound effect on me. But they're not what sprang to mind. So off the list they stay.

Big Joe's Trailer Truck
For starting me on the road to reading
Where the Wild Things Are
The Giving Tree
For showing me the meaning of unconditional love
Where the Sidewalk Ends
For opening my eyes to the joy of poetry
Chronicles of Narnia
For the countless nights my mother read me to sleep with them
Every "Choose-Your-Own Adventure" book ever
For putting me in control
Flattened Fauna, A Field Guide to the Wildlife of Our Roads, Streets, and Highways
For the endless miles of entertainment
For Love of Evil
For challenging my ideas about Good and Evil
For expanding my idea of what's possible
Stranger in a Strange Land
For inspiring me to grok
I Will Fear No Evil
For validating my sexuality
Star Girl
For the love that got away
Lord of the Rings
For the pure joy of high fantasy
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Clockwork Orange
For blowing my mind
For showing me what's at stake
Howl and Other Poems
For the subversive revelry
Leaves of Grass
You'll hardly know who I am or what I mean
For pushing my boundaries
Three Cups of Tea
For proving it can be done

DuWayne Brayton said...

Well see sbh, that is why you need to actually post this on your blog (not that it isn't welcome here). You can then turn around and continue with the ones that should have made the list...

Ah, Abby, how I adore thee...

I think it is perfectly legit to have mostly fiction. Given a little more thought, I probably would have mostly listed children's fiction. But the philosophy got in, because I am more inclined to think of that right now - especially the theology and atheism.

I also would have added this great book I used to have, of the romance poets, had I remembered the name (still don't). I fell in love with Byron, Shelley, Colerige and Keats - especially Keats, when I was a tweener, something that had a fairly profound impact on me at the time...

But alas, it was what it was...

Abby Normal said...

Byron, Shelley, and Keats were definitely favorites. Though you can replace Colerige with Frost for me. I think they didn't make the list because I tend to think of their poems individually, rather than as books.

The poetry I did mention were ones where I think of the book as a whole. Leaves of Grass is a particular favorite. Coincidentally I used to live about a mile from Whitman's birthplace. I got to know the curator of the house, a rather bohemian young man named Allen.

Allen had a talent for attracting creative, free spirited types, painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, you name it. Eventually he hit on the idea of forming a kind of artistic collective. We would meet two or three times a month, after hours at Whitman's birthplace and we called ourselves The Body Electric (of course).

There were about a dozen of us who comprised the core of the group. Though each gathering would have at least double that number as folks drifted in and out group. There was no specific goal and no particular requirement needed to join. Just the nature of the experience tended to take care of all that.

It was kind of half workshop, half open mic performance. Each gathering would have some kind of theme, which could be an artistic medium, a topic, or just about anything really. Generally the night would start with a performance or showing from a professional artist. Sometimes that person was a member of the Body or more often a guest who happen to be in town.

They would set the tone and theme. Then we'd all create our own interpretations of that theme and, if we were so inclined, present them to the Body. Finally we'd wrap up with some discussion about what we wanted to do next time.

Afterward folks would just hang out, often for hours, talking about anything and everything. It was a wonderful experience I wouldn't trade for anything. To be surrounded by such excellent and gifted people, to be a part of something so free and nurturing, was a great privilege. I'm almost ashamed to admit I haven't thought about it in years. So thanks for this meme, which brought it all back.

scicurious said...

I get 15 minutes? Huh (especially hard because of all the of the noise around me). In no particular order:

1)Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman
2)The Watchmen by Alan Moore
3)All of JRR Tolkein
4)Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein
5)Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
6)Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
7)Maus and Maus II by Art Spiegelman
8)The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
9)The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Allison Weir
10)The Tempest by William Shakespeare
11)The Analects of Confucius
12)Angelina Ballerina (the original) by Katharine Holabird
13)The Omnivore's Delimma by Michael Pollan
14)Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi
15)Grendel by John Gardner

Hey, they stuck with me. Doesn't mean they were meaningful or anything. Just that they stuck around. And that's just the first 15 that came to mind...oh crap, I just thought of the Very Hungry Caterpillar...not to mention Where the Wild Things Are...crap...

Abby Normal said...

Scicurious, I'm glad you mentioned Good Omens and Grendel. Those were both ones that popped into my head just after I decided the list was done. I put Good Omens on par with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for pure comic fun. But what I really like, what the two books have in common, is the taking of a existing antagonist and turning them into a sympathetic character. I'll read just about anything by Gregory Maguire for that reason alone. (Truth be told there's probably little reason to read his stuff otherwise.)

To take a character like the anti-Christ, or a Norse monster, or the Wicked Witch of the West and make them not just the protagonist, but someone we can identify with, cheer, and love, always makes me smile. So often, in literature and in life, folks see things in such black-and-white terms. There are good-guys and bad guys, cops and robbers, heroes and monsters. But it's rarely the way things are. There's just people, doing what experience has shown them is the best course of action. Books like Grendel are a wonderful reminder of that.

If I may truly geek out for a moment:

"You're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." -Obi-Wan Kenobi

Super Mon said...

Hi DuWayne,

Thanks to Stephanie, I now have a link to your blog. I look forward to reading it.

Here's my list, also tagged by Greg:

LostMarbles said...

Even though you're a mean poopy-head when it comes to Canada, I made a list

sbh said...

Well, I took my list (above) and pared it down to fifteen at my blog, though as I explained the significance of most of them it got kind of long. Afterwards, especially looking at other people's lists, I had that "Damn! I should have included that on my list" feeling, repeatedly in some cases. The Martian Chronicles and maybe Lord of the Rings are probably the most glaring omissions (at least that I've thought of so far).

I see a lot of my favorite books on other people's lists--Catch-22, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, A Clockwork Orange. Many others. I was more or less going for the influential thing, though. Morton Smith's book on Clement of Alexandria literally changed my life. Dwight Macdonald's parody anthology gave me a lifelong interest I might never have had otherwise. I suppose it's a matter of how you interpret the assignment.

DuWayne Brayton said...

You know, it's funny Sci, because you and Stephanie have the only lists yet, that don't contain anything on my own. But you both have Chronicles of Narnia which most assuredly should have been on my list.

Douglas Adams also should have made the list...

Abby -

You're such a fucking hippy...

I used to frequent a bar in South City Saint Louis, that had performance art every night and a B-movie happy hour (where I first saw Coreman's Bucket of Blood). I never bought a drink there, if there wasn't a customer available to buy me a drink, the owners would and they liked to keep me as inebriated as possible. I did much more entertaining impromptu performance poetry when I was drunk. (I also took second place in the Halloween drag contest - would have won first, had I shaved my goatee, went home with the chick who took first).

That was the first and last time I was ever entertained by spoken word on a regular basis. The people who came through there - including open mic nights, were fucking awesome. That was also what got me on the second public radio station on a semi-regular basis...I had lots and lots of the big fun at that place...So much artsy fartsy fun, mixed liberally with a great deal of naughtiness - including a play that was performed by an entirely nude cast - I helped write it too - mostly in the nude....

I had a lot of the huge fun in Saint Louis - no matter what Toaster says about that hell hole!!!!

Dan J said...

Okay, I'm a little bit slow. I have to make mine in more than one post because I get sidetracked and simply can't come up with a list of just fifteen at the moment. At any rate, my first posted response is up. I'll have to continue tomorrow as it's getting late, and 06:30 rolls around too quickly.

Abby Normal said...

Peace man. You can't hug your kids with nuclear arms. *toke*

chall said...

I guess I am surprised that I didn't remember Narnia nor The Hardy Boys but really I should've remembered Nancy Drew...

And I just realised that I forgot Cherry Ames. Damn. She made me want to be a doctor!

ah well....