Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Loving Book Memes Even More...

Update HERE!!!!

It turns out there are some very self assured motherfuckers on Cath@vwxynot?'s blog, who think that because they didn't fall out of a frakking sailboat, that they haven't been tagged with this meme!!!11!!!1! So chall (I don't care if you're a godless fucking Swede - we still want that list, even if half of it won't be in Americanish), T. Joseph and Mrs. Ch - you are now officially fucking tagged!!!!111!!!!

There have been some interesting discussion arising from this little book meme that we managed to bust out of the confines of FaceBook (which I have managed to get into again - but only because I got "friended" by someone I don't think I've seen or heard from since about 4th grade)...Stephanie wonders why so many of the folks who have outies instead of innies, seem to like 1984, while it was distinctly missing from the lists of most of the innie types. And also...Why The Fuck Does Anyone like that shit!!!!111@!!?????@???!?//!! (Ok, she didn't put it quite like that, because that would be more like something I would do, not Stephanie, but still...

And in comments there, Greg was lamenting the fact that so many people decided to forgo the rules - as he saw it. Only he wasn't talking about my horrifying decision to go all ADHD, when reading his initial post and making a rather longer list. He felt that folks were listing books that might not have had that much of an impact. He gave a three part criteria - A. did I read this a long time ago and B. can I tell you significant detail about what was in the book, and C. does at least some of this detail still matter......

I actually did a lot of discussing 1984 over there and would heartily recommend you check it out...I also responded to Greg, but less adequately than I like. While I can say that for the most part, everything on my list fits Greg's ABC, that is only because I didn't consider posting Don't Remember, But Fuck All Was That Important To Me... Because honestly, some of the most influential books I have read - the ones that really stuck with me, are the ones that I mostly remember by their affect on me. Ones that I may have a few vague images of (I am one of those people who totally animates everything he reads) and nothing more - except the vivid recollection of how it changed my thinking.

I only listed a few children's books for this reason. It's not that there weren't many more (although I still am frakking pissed that I didn't get the Chronicles of Narnia down there) of those children's books that really mucked with my mind - there were a lot more of them. There were, for example, a couple of other books that had much the same message that Matilda did for me. One of them came quite a bit earlier than Matilda, and was much more inclined towards the theme of financial poverty, with intellectual, creative and emotional wealth, being superior to the opposite. Haven't the slightest clue what it was called and seem to recall that at some point financial wealth is also acquired, but that is a couple books on and is entirely secondary to the all important wealth of mind and heart.

I believed then and still today, that love and mind are far more important than material wealth - not to say that material wealth isn't important...But in all honesty, if it were just me - no kids, no Juniper - I would be perfectly content with barely enough. Live in a small studio, with a small space to sleep carved out of the piles of books - along with a small space to sit and eat and write...I am entirely confident that I could have been satisfied with that. But kids and the most beautiful and brilliant lover a man could ever dream of having in his life, this is not such a laudable goal in life. So when I will never be an old women and I shall never where purple...

And there are other books that I simply can't remember, that nevertheless are still a part of my life and who I am. For example, before Encyclopedia Brown, there were other boy detectives and similar adventurers who sparked my sense of justice. Characters who drove solidly home the notion that justice is more important than most anything - including at times, the rules or the law. That underlying the rules and the laws - some of which might actually contradict it, was an evermore important code of conduct - code of justice. And that sense, that drive for justice that began when I read a book at about six or seven, eventually evolved into a pretty absolute belief in the rule of law, true justice and a firm reliance on my moral framework. The absolute I hold these to now, was sparked when I read that now forgotten book at six or seven - though the principles have evolved considerably and matured a great deal in the last twenty-six, twenty-seven years.

So really, my list would have been fleshed out nicely with about eight or nine; Don't Remember, But Fuck All Was That Important To Me...I would even have been willing to give up some of the books on that list to include those.

18 comments:

Dan J said...

I finished my second part to the "15 book meme". Fifteen minutes, my ass. I overanalyze the shit way too much. But the books on my list definitely had an impact on me that is still in effect. More to come in part three. (Yeah, I'm only up to ten so far, but it's fucking late!)

Stephanie Zvan said...

I don't know how I missed Matilda on your original list (oh, yeah, there were LOTS of other things to notice). I came to the book pretty late, so I was somewhat past the point where I really needed it, but it is one of my favorite books ever.

Toaster Sunshine said...

I wouldn't be able to have met Greg's criteria because 20 years ago I couldn't even fucking read yet. 20 years ago pooping in the toilet was still a novelty for me.

But yeah, I reiterate, if you removed all the science and all the comics from my list, you'd be left with just about 15 books of "real literature". And as for effect, sure, something like Palahniuk's "Haunted" did indeed affect me profoundly, but not because it made me think. More because it made me kinda want to throw up (it's like Ellis' "American Psycho" without the cultural commentary or psychological layering, just the raw hedonism, depravity, and violence).

Thomas Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Interesting... I have a very good memory for books, so I can probably tell you all kinds of details about crappy books I read 20 years ago! But they didn't make my list... It's interesting though that without even reading these guidelines, most of mine were books I read as an impressionable teenager.

The sailboat thing was because I usually don't tag individuals - I tag people in a given category that is related to my answers to the meme, and anyone who wants to do it can self-identify in the comments. Just FYI! ;)

DuWayne Brayton said...

Stephanie -

Are you implying that my list was too long? I was actually getting there myself, but thankfully still valued lighter reading. I think I did it as a self-defense mechanism...I was, for example, still inclined to occasionally read Paddington - though only where no one else would see... But given the sorts of stuff I read besides the fun kid's stuff, I really needed it.

Toaster -

I would tend to think that the "long time ago" is necessarily relative to age. And thank you for the rather interesting illustration...I am never going to read your blog the same - now picturing a wee mad scientist, grinning at his mad scientist papa who just got home from his super secret laboratory - oh so proud of what he just made in the potty...

And the rules say books, not "real" literature.

Cath -

I wouldn't begin to criticize your method of tagging...I just wanted to deflate the smug motherfuckers who thought they had dodged!!!

Stephanie Zvan said...

No, that my attention span is too short. I'm working on a fun project, but it's requiring me to do a bunch of concentrated thinking, which is frustrating when I want to play more with things like book memes.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Oh, I know - the falling out of a sailboat thing just looked really bizarre out of context!

And memes are much more fun if you can mutate the rules as you pass them on to the next generation.

I loved 1984, but it wasn't all that influential on me for some reason. Other characters just speak to me more, whether they be Doc from Cannery Row, or Elizabeth Bennett, or Arthur Dent.

Jason Thibeault said...

Cath@VWXYNot?: I wonder how Lizzy would speak to you in her incarnation in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" which I pimp yet again for no apparent reason other than that I'm reading it presently.

Everyone else: I haven't read Matilda yet, but the idea of a kid suddenly finding it within his/her power to turn the tables on their oppressors does have a universal appeal. Is there any specific lesson that you took from it, out of curiosity?

Abby Normal said...

Warning: turn off your irony meters.

Done?

NY Times is reporting Amazon has remotely deleted every copy of 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindle users. See, if you read the fine print, Kindle users don't actually own the e-books they download. They just rent the right to read them. The publisher decided it didn't want those e-books around. So Amazon zapped them, a kind of instantaneous digital book burning. Though at least they credited the original purchase price back into the users' accounts.

If only they'd included Fahrenheit 451 they could have nailed the trifecta.

Abby Normal said...

Opps, here's the link to the NY Time article that actually works.

Jason Thibeault said...

Abby, yup. Slightly older news though. http://www.lousycanuck.ca/?p=1554 (dude, I actually covered this back then!) I found out from Wil Wheaton via Twitter. My irony meter went SPOING too.

Hmm. I wonder if there's something to the timing of this book meme, and 1984 being relatively recently brought back to my attention. Maybe I gave it a higher priority than it should have gotten, because of this recent news.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Jason, to tell you how differently people read things, Matilda was all about family (as in, creating one's own) for me. I ignored the bits about wealth because they struck me as particularly British snobbery. ("They may have the money, dahling, but we'll always have class.") That may have nothing to do with Dahl, of course, but I was primed for it by other British books.

Thomas Joseph said...

Abby Normal,

Not really all that ironic if you ask me. Amazon was selling the books on Kindle without the permission of the copyright holder. So they did what was needed ... they withdrew the books from the market. If this was a "print only" medium, they would have had to pay massive penalties. In this case all they needed to do was issue refunds.

This will be common for the electronic age. We'll get used to it. I don't think it qualifies as ironic. Personally, the whole idea gets a "meh" from me.

Abby Normal said...

Thomas, you don't see the irony in destroying thousands of copies of a book who's central theme is the controlling a population through control of their media and language? I'm aware of the circumstances and Amazon's legal requirements. But it's still ironic.

Thomas Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chall said...

Done!

http://chall-dreams.blogspot.com/2009/07/book-list.html

Mrs. CH said...

Sorry for my slow response - I have typed it all up and it will be posted on Monday!