Saturday, August 05, 2006
Bookish Girl

Greensmile tagged me. Of course, I have no intention of strictly following the rules.

1) One book that changed your life?

It's strange, you know, that for someone who values books above almost any other posessions, I can't recall being really profoundly affected by any of them. Moderately affected sometimes, sure, and at least influenced by lots of them. But never have I read a book and afterwards thought, "I will never be the same again."

That doesn't mean it didn't happen, I guess, just that I was never consciously aware of it happening. I also don't find it very tempting to invest emotionally in books -- I'm a very intellectual reader, so mostly I read nonfiction and essays, that sort of thing. Nonfiction can change your mind, but can it change your life?

That said, this book opened up one or two new worlds for me at a crucial stage in my personal development.

2) One book you have read more than once?

There are a few that I've read repeatedly -- though usually it has more to do with the fact that I can't procure any new ones and most of my others are in storage. Having said that:

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski -- it's gimmicky and full of itself, but the first third particularly is the creepiest thing I've ever read. It's the literary equivalent of uneasy dreams.

I read Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek every couple of years. I really dig that one.

And two unrelated volumes that I usually read in sequence as a sort of meditation on the value of ugly girls: Wicked by Gregory Maguire and Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. I think Geek Love is actually the better of the two, but it's also a lot messier and less focused.

3) One book you would want on a desert island?

I hate the whole idea of desert island books. I suppose if I had to pick one, it would be Ulysses, but only because it would be the most likely to hold my attention over endless re-readings.

4) One book that made you laugh?

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera helped me understand both twelve-tone music and communism better. But I don't remember laughing (maybe I forgot.)

5) One book that made you cry?

This one and this one. He always dies at the end, and it's just too goddamn sad; I can't take it.

6) One book you wish had been written?

I... don't know how to answer that question.

7) One book you wish had never had been written?

After my car accident, while I was still bed-ridden, my boyfriend at the time brought me some of his favorite books to read. One was a collected series of short books written in the form of correspondence between two people, which was apparently his very most favorite story ever. I read the first three volumes in an opiate haze and the next day angrily sent them back, telling him that I hated them more than any book I'd ever read, that the entire story seemed cruel and intended to lead its readers to despair, and that they were the only books I'd ever actually wanted to see burned. I really meant it, too -- I was deeply offended by them. He was a bit rattled by that.

Of course, I was drugged and in a very strange headspace at the time, and to be honest I'm not even sure what the story was about. I certainly don't remember the title. I just remember fucking hating those books.

8) One book you are currently reading?

I'm still plugging away at How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker -- it alternates between dense science and really stinky-bad geek-boy humor. Combined with a lot of 1996-era tech talk, it's by turns intellectually demanding and hopelessly lame (in an endearing kind of way.)

9) One book you have been meaning to read?

If it's not in my bag or on my bedside table, it's off my radar.

10) Now tag five people -

I think I'll not. I bet Aunt Vicky could wail on this one, though.
12:32 PM ::
Amy :: permalink