Wednesday, November 01, 2006

like a good book, I can't put this day back

Dudes, I have to tell you that Ashvin deserves a big round of applause today. He saved you from me writing a disjointed post describing how disturbed I was by The Bridge, or from having to read more about my tendency towards irrational flight from good situations. I've been tagged on the book meme that's been circulating.

One book that changed your life-
    This is weird, because one of the books that changed my life was a book I never actually read: Out of My Life and Thought by Albert Schweitzer. But that is a story for another time. A book I have read that changed my life was Beneath the Wheel by Herman Hesse. It was one of the first books I read as a teenager that was non-required, non-fantastic, and absorbing. While I could get lost in C.S Lewis, Frank L. Baum, and Judy Blume books, there was never much danger of me identifying with a troubled character. On the other hand, I got thoroughly lost in Beneath The Wheel. It was the first time the predicament of the character put my brain into overdrive, or that words from the book would rush back into my head over and over.

One book you have read more than once-
    It’s hard for me to pick one, because I develop deranged attachment to certain books. I went through a phase during which I read The Little Prince frequently (and yes, I was an adult at the time). In college, I went through a The Sun Also Rises phase, which shows you that I was prone to misguided dramatics back then. But when I am really looking to retread familiar steps, I read Bellow. For a while, it was Theft, but I think that is because it is a novella and therefore a quick read. The one that stands the test of time is Henderson the Rain King by far. When I am feeling unsteady, I can read that book, flawed as it is, imperfect as its hero is, and suddenly know that everything is going to be just fine.

One book you would want on a desert island-
    A 1000-page blank moleskin.

One book that made you cry-
    The Kite Runner. And not in a good way. More like- here, let’s club some baby seals to death, how are you going to stop the waterworks now? I call this the Terms of Endearment technique. It doesn’t earn the sucker punch it delivers, but I don’t know anyone who managed to get through it without their eyeballs sweating.

One book that made you laugh-
    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. On an airplane. In general, it is folly to read Sedaris in public, confined places, unless you do not mind being regarded as a potential lunatic.

One book you wish had been written-
    I wish J (formerly of minerva26 fame) would write a book, as I feel certain that it would make me laugh while also capturing her inimitable insights. And it would fill the void in my heart from her departure from the blogosphere. Since I feel certain she spanked her qualifying exams, I am hopeful that the world will be blessed with a book by her at some point. I wouldn’t mind if my cousin K followed suit. It must be something about Houstonians.

One book you wish had never been written-
    The Da Vinci Code so that I could have lived out my last several years peacefully, without everyone and their brother asking me if I had read it, or telling me that I have to read it. And before anyone asks, no, I still have not read it, and have no plans to at any point in the future. Let’s never speak of it again, agreed?

One book you are currently reading-
    Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation. Picked it up in an airport bookstore. If anyone can get me to read about Presidents McKinley or Garfield, it’s Vowell.

One book you have been meaning to read-
    It is embarrassing that I have not read Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power yet. I bought it over a year ago, but I never mustered up the required energy to pick it up. I have this problem with substantive, non-fiction books. It might be because I quench my thirst for that sort of reading by perusing journals. However, Farmer’s work is impressive, and I believe the book is probably quite enlightening. Now, I just need to strong arm myself into opening it.

I think everyone’s been tagged already. I want to know how SJM would answer, but I know he can’t post a non-vitriolic entry on his blog. But hey, dude, there’s always email. I’ve already forced Abhi to fill out a meme once, so it would probably be pushing my luck to tag him. I’d like to tag Saheli, since she’s always sending over book recommendations. And I would tag V because she has not posted for a while and her blog has an Annie Dillard quote on it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to conjure up mental images of Gael Garcia Bernal and Borat to distract me from the visuals in The Bridge. Bunnies and unicorns just aren’t going to cut it.

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