Lisa tagged me on this a week ago but I’ve been putting it off. Despite feeling pretty passionate about books in general I’m having a ridiculously difficult time answering these questions. I think this is supposed to get at what my favorite books are but it doesn’t do that at all – I had nowhere to put Middlesex or Carter Beats the Devil or A Short History of Nearly Everything. The books I finally settled on listing here don’t really seem important enough for a stint on my blog (you’ll note that I usually write about very important stuff). I guess part of the problem is that I want my book selection to somehow explain who I am and so I feel like I have to make the best selections to show everyone just how awesome I am. That’s a tall order for a silly internet meme.
1. One book that changed your life?
See? How am I supposed to answer this? Changed my life? Do people often feel like books change their life? I mean I guess I was very affected by reading things like The Demon Haunted World and The Beauty Myth and A Revolution from Within but I have a hard time pinpointing something as life changing – it just seems like such a tall order.
2. One book you have read more than once?
I reread The Great Gatsby a year ago. My first reading had been junior year of high school and I hadn’t been that impressed. I got through it and didn’t actively hate the book (which is much more than can be said about The Scarlet Letter or Frankenstein) but it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. As a goody goody teen my only form of rebellion had been to roll my eyes at most assigned text, I loved to read but I hated almost every book that was forced upon me by a teachers. I’m older now and supposedly more open minded and every hipster in the city raves about their love for Gatsby so I thought I’d give it another go. My god are the people in that book shallow and annoying.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Like a true dork I immediately jumped to the survival guide answer but I think that’s probably antithetical to the purpose of this survey. Then I thought “well, ideally something really big that I haven’t yet read so it will at least get my mind off of things for the first few weeks.”
4. One book that made you laugh?
Man. I don't read a lot of funny books and the ones I do read are so cliche (I refuse to put a David Sederis book here, I am MUCH cooler than that.). I laughed a fair bit in the "you must be kidding!" way while reading Under the Banner of Heaven but probably that just makes me a huge jerk.
5. One book that made you cry?
God-Shaped Hole. I’m not even sure that I think this is a very good book but it’s very pretty and there’s love and death and it all feels very important. I read it when I need to cry (post break ups mostly) and it serves as a comfortable little trigger for the tears.
6. One book you wish you had written?
The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowel. She does such an amazing job making serious topics (her father’s mortality, 9/11) hilariously funny. I wish my writing could hit that sweet spot more often but when I try to write about serious things they come out sad and I mostly don’t post them on my blog because I don’t want my readers worrying about me. I really just wish I could be Sarah Vowel, I’d gladly learn to live with the weird voice for a chance to be on This American Life.
7. One book you wish had never had been written?
My immediate thought was “The Bible" which is horribly cynical of me (I blame The End of Faith, which I just finished). I don’t actually think that eliminating the bible would change the world much – we’d still have plenty of silly religions to kill people over.
8. One book you are currently reading?
King Dork is a young adult novel written by Frank Portman, the lead singer for The Mr. T Experience. I’m about ¼ of the way in and so far I’m enjoying it – but probably not as much as I would be if I had been an awkward teenaged boy instead of an awkward teenaged girl. It reminds me of the book Youth in Revolt which I read the summer after college and which touched me more because I think it was the first time that I realized that boys had it tough too (I was a little slow).
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
The World is Flat which is right not taunting me from the bookshelf. “You are such a slacker,” it says, “I’ve sat here since January waiting to educate you about the new economy and instead you choose to gorge yourself on young adult fiction, loser – you deserve to have your job outsourced, Indian girls LOVE reading about global economics.”
10. Now tag five some other people...
See? this question is not about books, so really only 9 book questions in this meme -- silly title that can't count. I'm going to pass on tagging people -- which just means I'm going to spare Mike, because everyone else I know already filled this out.