Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tagged?

I've been tagged. Which means either:
a) I'm about to get whacked
b) I now have cooties
c) I have been asked to make a reckoning for myself as to some aspect of my life that others may find interesting but I wouldn't generally think to just mention otherwise.

I skimmed the few blogs that I visit from time to time, and was relieved to find the answer is most likely c. I was relieved, anyway, until I realized that I'm about to offer up something not even I find interesting. Fortunately, I have a place to hide this information which is virtually guaranteed to go all but unnoticed: my blog.

They call it a meme. I don't know what that means. If I read it as me-me, I can't even do this. If that's the case, let's just end this right here. However, I see it as même, which is French for "same," and doesn't really make sense, but I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for it.

So, without further ado, here's nothing:

1. One book that changed your life:

"Caring is Creepy," by the Shins. Oh, you said book? Geez, that's harder. I should probably level with you: I don't read much. Not books, anyway. I'm not that good of a person. I know people who love books. They're always reading something, and they're well-versed in everything. They understand Kafka references, and make little parallels between their lives and those of the Lilliputians in Jonathan Swift's whatever-that-was-called, as they gently swirl the wine in their glasses and pause to note the oakiness of the flavor. I nod my head pretending to know what they're talking about, but I can't help but think that "Lilliputian" sounds like a porn star name. Then I drink the rest of my beer right out of the bottle.

But if I had 12 seconds to come up with an answer, I'd probably say Three by Flannery O' Connor. O'Connor was wickedly funny and had a way of getting to the point soon enough for people like me to be able to stay with it, while making the characters and their surroundings absolutely fascinating. Besides, this is like the literary equivalent of David Lynch. She gives me hope that I can enjoy reading intelligent fiction, and that perhaps someday I'll have a literary reference to throw out in conversation, albeit probably still over a bottle of beer.

2. One book that you've read more than once:

This whole thing is about books, isn't it?

Okay, let's see, there's gotta be one I've read more than once. Does Hop on Pop count? No? Fine. How about Catcher in the Rye? Yes, it was in high school. Yes, both times. Yes, it was assigned both times.

Oh, I know. The Bible, NIV version. I did read that cover-to-cover twice. I started a third time, but I don't think I got too far.

3. One book you'd want on a deserted island:

A DIY book that would describe in perfect clarity how to build a sink-proof boat made of natural materials found on deserted islands.

4. One book that made you laugh:

One? Well, if I couldn't mention Sarah Vowell's The Partly Cloudy Patriot or David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day, perhaps I'd mention Jon Stewart's America, or any one of the Far Side Galleries.

5. One book that made you cry:

Sorry. I got nothing here.

Here's a question, and I know it's going to make me seem like some insensitive beast, but here it goes: Why in the world do people -- okay, mostly women -- read, view, and listen to stuff that makes them cry? Especially fiction? Fiction, here, meaning stuff that isn't real that someone made up and decided to use to emotionally manipulate his or her audience in order to take their money. People actually go to the movies because they know the story will make them cry. They pay money for this. Money spent to be weepy. They spend hours reading books that will make them sad. How is this practical? Why not just set out and decide you're going to have a crappy day? That way, if you don't have time to watch the Lifetime channel, you know you'll be depressed anyway. I mean, really.

6. One book you wish had been written:

Yes, it Really Does Matter That You Know How to Use an Apostrophe.

7. One book you wish had never been written:

Any book whose hype far outweighs its quality and/or has "inspired" box office dreck. To wit: Any of those insuferably dull and formulaic Harry Potter books and The DaVinci Code.

8. One book you're currently reading:

Just got finished reading Cash, the Autobiography by Johnny Cash. Just finished listening to Me Talk Pretty One Day, and John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress parts One and Two. Currently listening to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by Sedaris. I've also always got the illustrated version of Strunk and White's Elements of Style nearby.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

I've tried several times to read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, but each time have been interrupted, and had to start over because I forgot what I had already read. My mom got it for me as a gift several years ago, and I am looking forward to sitting down with it and reading it. I know I'll enjoy it.

10. Tag six people:

There are not six people who read this blog. I would, however, be interested in what Hugh has been reading. Ernie Jo also has recently mentioned a book she read, and I'd like to hear more. Finally, I don't know if Jennifer ever stops by here or not (my guess is no), but she'd be a good one to read from.

Oh, and as a postscript, here's a quote from a fictional character who, in fact, reminds me much of myself:
"Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I've read books like The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Love in the Time of Cholera, and I think I've understood them. They're about girls, right? Just kidding. But I have to say my all-time favorite book is Johnny Cash's autobiography Cash by Johnny Cash."

-Rob Gordon, High Fidelity

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