Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tagged by Phil

I got tagged by Phil about books. I in turn pass the tag on to The Goddess of Chaos.

A Book That Has Changed Your Life: The Great Shark Hunt, by Hunter S. Thompson. In late August, 1981, I finally managed to go away to college, something that I hadn’t been able to do for the two years since I’d graduated high school (I lived at home and went to school for a year and lived out of state and worked for a year). I went to the reading room at my state college’s library, a beautiful room, to journal, and sitting on the table I had chosen to sit at was The Great Shark Hunt. It’s actually a compilation of Thompson’s writing. It blew me away. First, even knowing the hyberbole and exaggeration Thompson was prone to, if he got away with half the shit he said he did, I knew I needed to make my life more fun. It dawned on me as I read this whopper of a book cover to cover in a couple of days that life was only going to be as fun as I made it.

A Book That I've Read More Than Once: Still Life With Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins. It’s an exquisitely written book—funny, philosophical and sweet. It’s theme is about how to mix the desire to make the world a better place with the need for romantic love.

A Book That Makes You Laugh: Still Life With Woodpecker, as mentioned. Also, The Official Slacker Handbook, by Sara Dunn.

A Book That Makes You Cry: To Sleep With the Angels: The Story of a Fire, by David Cowan and John Kuenster. It was about the 1958 “Our Lady of Angels School” fire—a parochial school on Chicago's West Side that burned, killing 90 students and 3 teachers. It’s well-researched, with a lot of personal accounts that are heartbreaking. One in particular, when a mother is sitting with her eight-year-old son as he dies from his injuries from the fire—I defy anyone, particularly a parent, to read it and and not have to put the book down for a while and weep.

Book You Wish You Had Written: Deathwatch, by Robb White. You remember this one that we all read in seventh or eighth grade? About the psychotic executive/hunter who kills a prospector and when the college kid who is working as his guide refuses to not report it, the hunter sets him out nearly naked in the desert to die. It’s an incredibly well-written book—riveting, well-developed characters and a great ending.

Book You Wish Had Never Been Written: The Turner Diaries.

Book You Are Currently Reading: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. I’d been meaning to read it for a long time—I looked forward talking to my friend Mark about it. When he was shot to death in a robbery this June, I was among a group of friends who helped his parents clean his house out. They told us to grab whatever personal stuff of his we wanted. I took this book.

The author’s contention is that there were reasons relating to geography, availability of large mammals, pathogens and a few other things that led some peoples to thrive and even to dominate other peoples. It’s a fascininating book. I’m an atheist, but a part of me hopes that I’m wrong, so that Mark and I get the chance to talk about it.

Book You've Been Meaning To Read: Citizen Soldier and Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s over Germany 1944-45 by Stephen Ambrose.

No comments: