Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Now I've Got Meme All Over My Good Clothes!

John at SF Signal tagged me, so now I actually feel an obligation to do one of these silly meme-things. (Edit before even posting: I've been sitting on this for a day, and now I've been tagged again, by Deanna Hoak. I'd better get on this -- and, at this rate, there won't be anyone for me to tag.)

1. One book that changed your life?
I really can't think of anything; I read books wholesale, but they don't directly change who I am. (Over the longer term, sure, but I can't think of any individual book.) Books often change me in small ways -- I was unpleasant for several days after reading Bret Easton Ellis's Lunar Park, and I had the best posture of my life for two days while reading The Remains of the Day -- but there's no One Big Book in my life.

2. One book you have read more than once?
How about The Book of the New Sun? I read that originally back in the mid-80s (right after The Urth of the New Sun was published, I read the whole series), and then again a few years back. I don't re-read much, since I've got so much that I haven't read even once yet.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
There's a book I sell in the Outdoorsman's Edge book club (my other professional hat) called The Forgotten Arts & Crafts that I think would be incredibly useful on a desert island. This question doesn't say "the one book," so I'm assuming I could have more than one.

4. One book that made you laugh?
About half an hour ago: The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman.

5. One book that made you cry?
Movies and songs have been known to make me leak very slightly (in an exceptionally manly manner) from the eyes, but not books, usually. I may have misted up a bit at the end of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, but I can't swear to that.

6. One book you wish had been written?
Whatever novel Roger Zelazny would have published this year.

7. One book you wish had never had been written?
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. I loathe that book and its puerile anti-civilization message with the fiery heat of a million suns.

8. One book you are currently reading?
Well, I already mentioned The Areas of My Expertise. I'm also reading Book One: Work 1986-2006 by Chip Kidd in bed; a book of UK and US language called Divided By a Common Language in the smallest room, the first volume of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes downstairs by the computer, and Horror: Another 100 Best Books on my reading couch in the dining room.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

10. Now tag five people.
Let's see -- who will probably read this and hasn't done this meme yet? How about:
John Joseph Adams
Rob B.
John Klima
James Nicoll
Paul Stevens
And anyone else who wants to, actually -- it's all fine with me.


John Klima said...

Ha ha! I was also tagged by Deanna; here's my entry:

John Klima

d said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Wheeler said...

"Dom" claims that Ishmael is his favorite book of all time. And, yet, he seems to still wear clothes, live in a house, and eat food grown by agriculture. (Not to mention using this high-tech Intarweeb thingy.) Therefore, he is at best a poser. More likely, he's just too dim to realize that the point of Ishmael is that human civilization was a bad move -- and that, therefore, anyone who agrees with Ishmael should go live in hunter/gatherer splendor with a talking gorilla.

So go ahead, monkey boy. Walk the walk.

d said...

The message you're purporting just isn't true - Ishmael doesn't say you shouldn't wear clothes or live in a house, shouldn't do what works right for you. In fact, the real power of ishmael isn't that it tells you how you should live - but that it shows you what society at large doesn't: that there is more than one right way to live and that there ISN'T ONE right way to live (which most religions and societies do believe). Ishmael doesn't tell people how to think - it just shows them how. In our crumbling world - it seems more and more pertinent that we consider other ways of living, and I urge other people to read ishmael in spite of a few bad apples that don't like the book for whatever reason (they probably didn't read it all the way through anyhow).

Peace and Love,


d said...

And furthermore: I am walking the walk. With the help of my friends at I am living an increasingly sustainable lifestyle, and am transitioning into a very house-free rural lifestyle that involves mostly hunting and gathering. How many other people do you know who are really practicing what they are preaching to that extent?

Andrew Wheeler said...

Dom: You don't think that a book that calls the two paths "Takers" and "Leavers" -- and then advocates strongly for pre-agricultural society -- isn't stacking the deck?

If enough people took Ishmael to heart, there would be megadeaths, since the world can't support its present population at a hunter-gather level. I do call that evil, in the Kantian sense.

Good for you if you want to live that way, I guess -- the rest of us kinda like civilization.

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