Elise tagged me and I am happy to comply.
1. One book that changed your life: It is sort of a weird choice, but I would have to say Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink.” One chapter talks about the indicators of successful versus failing marriages. It all comes down to contempt. Since reading the book, Evan and I in a moderately joking way are quick to point out if the other is speaking in a contemptful way. I think about how I speak to people a lot more (especially in times of conflict) after reading this book. The book also made me think about my own inherent biases and how I can correct them. If you want to have some fun or horrify yourself, take some of the implicit association tests that Gladwell talks about in the book.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: As a child, I was constantly re-reading books. Two books by Margaret Mahy were favorites when I was a middle schooler, “The Changeover” and “The Catalogue of the Universe.” I’ve re-read them in recent years and still enjoyed them. As an adult, I don’t typically re-read books, unless it is a truly beloved book. Okay, that is not entirely true, as I often forget if I’ve read a book and end up re-reading the whole thing because once I’ve figured our I’ve read it, I still can’t remember the end. This is the reason I end up watching episodes of Law and Order over and over again.
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: There is a bunch of Russian literature that I never got around to reading during my Russian literature kick at Reed (despite being a chemistry major, I took four Russian literature classes in college). Would “The Complete Works of Dostoevsky” be cheating?
4. One book that made you laugh: The funniest book I have ever read is “Naked” by David Sedaris. I bought this book in college, and started reading it on the bus home from Powell’s. Despite being in a very public setting, I was laughing to the point of tears. Evan was horrified and I have yet to get him to actually read a David Sedaris book. A recent book that I read that had me laughing a lot was “The Commitment” by Dan Savage.
5. One book that made you cry: When I was in middle school, I read pretty much every book by Lurlene McDaniel. Why I wanted to read about lovely teenage girls dying of terminal diseases over and over again, I have no idea. A book that I read recently that made me cry was “The Girls” by Lori Lansens. I just randomly picked this up in the new books section of the library and really enjoyed it. I am particularly partial to books that deal with the conflict between the claustrophobia of and longing for normal relationships, both family and romantic. Other books along this theme that I have particularly enjoyed include “I Know This Much is True” by Wally Lamb, “The Little Friend” by Donna Tartt, and pretty much everything by John Irving.
6. One book you wish had been written: I have to go with Elise here and say another Owen Meany book. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of this book when my religious high school boyfriend recommended it as his favorite book (we broke up shortly after he told me that his Jewish friend Joe and I were both going to go to hell since we didn’t go to his church). I love this book, not only because it is a great story, but because it opened me up to the whole world of John Irving books. I even bought sneak preview tickets for the movie “Simon Birch,” despite predicting that it was going to be horrid, because I wanted just a little bit more of the Owen Meany story.
7. One book you wish had never been written: This may anger some people, but I truly hate the book “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer. I think that the book is way too supportive of early twenties, macho-man stupidity. When I first read the book, I thought that people would read the book as a warning against this lame-o behavior, but after discussing the book with many individuals, too many people seemed to find the story of Chris McCandless inspirational. Now it looks like they are even making this book into a movie. Bleck. Whenever I see a copy of this book, I get riled up. If I could unwrite this book, I totally would.
8. One book you’re currently reading: I just finished “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel, and I am also reading “Maybe Baby,” a collection of writings put together by salon.com that discuss why or why not the various authors chose to have children. I have finished the no’s, and the maybe’s, and I am currently partway through the yes’s. The overall tone of the book is very melancholy as no one (so far) seems especially content with their choice. I may return the book to the library unfinished.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: I have two books that I bought before I moved to California, but have yet to read, “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell, which Evan stole out of my hands immediately after she signed it for me, and “Bait and Switch” by Barbara Ehrenreich.
I will tag Jenn, since I know that she reads a ton and she periodically checks this blog. Since this blog is young and I don’t know if I even have regular readers yet (other than Jeff with his delicious cooking blog), consider yourself tagged if you’re reading this. Also, leave a comment so I can read your responses. I’m always looking for good books.