Tuesday, October 17, 2006
1. ONE BOOK THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
2. ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MORE THAN ONCE?
3. ONE BOOK YOU WOULD WANT ON A DESERT ISLAND?
4. ONE BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH?
5. ONE BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?
6. ONE BOOK YOU WISH HAD BEEN WRITTEN?
7. ONE BOOK YOU WISH HAD NEVER BEEN WRITTEN?
8. ONE BOOK YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING?
9. ONE BOOK YOU HAVE BEEN MEANING TO READ?
10. ONE BOOK YOU'RE GLAD YOU OWN?
11. ONE BOOK THAT MUST BE READ ALOUD?
I found this list on a lovely blog. Please read what she has to say. For myself, I found the whole exercise totally scary. To every question, I have multiple answers. Maybe it's being a Gemini that makes me divide everything into at least two, three or a thousand pieces
1 One book that changed my life? At least five titles come to mind. One that changed me professionally was "A Way and Ways" by Earl Stevick, but I will not bore you with the details. One book that has given me a lifelong passion for languages was "The Loom of Language", but who's ever heard of it these days? And I learned a lot about human relationships from stuff written by Eric Berne ("Games People Play"), once fashionable under the umbrella of "Transactional Analysis", but old hat now, as indeed I am myself.
2 One book that I have read more than once? There are lots! At this moment, I am wearing a pair of shoes that I bought TWENTY-SEVEN years ago. I am hooked on the familiar and the comfortable. OK, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" springs to mind, a book I have read a zillion times, and not only in English. Twainian wisdom has helped shape my life. I love Tom's courtship of Becky Thatcher and the episode with the cat and the nasty medicine.
3 One book that I would want on a desert island? Anything edible.
4 One book that made me laugh? Anything by Spike Milligan or Alan Coren, but they are so culture-bound that nobody outside of the Queen's Realm is likely to have heard of them.
5 One book that made me cry? Made me sad, yes, for example, The Diary of Anna Frank". But cry? Movies can make me cry. In fact, I can well up watching a bad weather forecast. Best not to go there...
6 One book I wish had been written? I'm working on it right now, let's leave it at that.
7 One book I wish had never been written? That's a nasty question. I have no love for Das Capital, Mein Kampf or The Traffic Warden's Handbook, but I am not in the book-banning business. No, I cannot answer this question, although I did write a potboiler many years ago that I hope nobody reads today.
8 One book I am currently reading? I only read fiction when I go on long-haul flights and stay with distant family. Then it's Michael Crighton, John Grisham and others of that ilk. At the moment, I am reading several non-fiction works. Do you have several books on the go at the same time?
9 One book I have been meaning to read? I refuse to tell you because it is "Simplified Swahili" by Peter M Wilson, and you will assume that I have finally lost ALL my marbles. But, entre nous, Swahili, being a Bantu-based language, is unlike anything you have ever experienced, unless, of course, you have been sleeping with a Hungarian these last thirty years.
10 One book I am glad I own? One book I wish I still owned, but which disappeared during the Great 1982 Tsunami, more prosaically known as The Divorce (I swear I will never do that again) was a 19th century vellum-bound edition of "La Divina Commedia" with pencilled marginal notes. I couldn't decipher the notes but I was so happy to know that someone had trodden "la via smarrita" before me.
11 One book that must be read aloud? Any book of poetry, for goodness' sake. Too many to mention, but there is one anthology that profoundly affected me. It is called "Other Men's Flowers", with poems selected by A P Wavell, or, to give him his full title - wait for it - Field Marshal the Right Honorable Earl Wavell. Can you imagine - a fricking military man, a fricking aristocrat to boot, selecting fricking poetry: must be a load of jingoistic fascist gung-ho rubbish. In fact, not. Beware the "fallacy of origins". If Adolf Hitler performed a kind act, it is still a kind act regardless of the fact that he was the bastard who performed it. Hard to take, I know. So it's possible for a high-ranking officer to have good taste in poetry. I once asked a friend about who invented some gizmo or other, and he replied "Uno stronzo qualsiasi", which is very vulgar but essentially means "What does it matter, it's the invention that matters." Or, as a colleague of mine once said "Don't bite my finger off, look where I'm pointing".
So, as you can see, there is no way I can give answers to those eleven interesting questions, but that is no reason why you shouldn't have a go.