August 20, 2006

Tagged By The Book Meme

Book Meme from Anna Venger.

And just for the record, I will not use the Bible as an answer because, for me, it would feel like trivializing Scripture.

1. One book that changed your life: I'd have to say the first one, whatever that was, back when I was 50 years old. I've not been far from a book since then -- but if I have to select a particular title, it would be The Brethren by Woodward and Armstrong, because it awakened in me a scholarly interest in law and the Constitution that lay dormant just beneath the surface back during my junior year of high school.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Gee, that could cover a lot of territory -- but let's go with something a little off-beat. When I was a high school junior, I bought a paperback during my lunch break one Saturday while working at the base PX. It was L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach, and I have probably read it at least once every other year since then -- and I still have the original copy I bought in 1979. It awakened me to libertarian political philosophy in a way that my earlier encounters with Heinlein had not, and also opened up the world of alternate history science fiction to me.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, another favorite that I first encountered as a high school junior (curious, isn't it, that my first three selections would all come from one very specific formative year -- what do you make of that?). If I had a chance to toss a few more books in the lifeboat, I'd want Forester's Hornblower Saga and O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels.

4. One book that made you laugh: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Don't panic! And, uh, it seems to be another one I read at age 16!

5. One book that made you cry: The Robe -- it is every bit as melodramatic as the epic movie based upon it. When I was 12, my mom and I found her copy (given to her as a gift for her First Communion) in a trunk. I still have it tucked away safely, three decades later.

6. One book that you wish had been written: Well, maybe I should say the one book I wish the author had finished writing. That would be 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey by Patrick O'Brian. The author passed away while working on this, the 21st volume of his epic series of the British Navy in the Age of Nelson. The published version is raw, incomplete, and much of it consists of the author's semi-legible scrawl. There is enough there to make any fan wish that the old man had lived to complete it.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth. This blood libel against Pope Pius XII ignores teh historical record and the assessments of his contemporaries (including no less than Golda Meir) to falsely accuse the pontiff of complicity in the Holocaust. Similarly, I would add The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most pernicious work of anti-Semitism ever published.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Gee, I've read a great deal in the four weeks since this post. I've read all three books in Naomi Novick's Temeraire series, Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation, and am currently working on Harry Turtledove's latest "Settling Account's novel, The Grapple.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: You may be surprised by this, given my tagline above. I've repeatedly promised myself that I would read David McCullough's biography of John Adams, but have never gotten around to it.

10. Tag five others. This is hard, given that I wanted to tag Dan from Gone Mild, only to find that he has this same meme up. So I'll start with three fellow teachers -- Hube from Colossus of Rhodey, Darren from Right on the Left Coast and EdWonk from The Education Wonks. Then I'll tap my felow CD22 political blogger, Chris from Texas Safety Forum, because despite to all the jokes we make about them, Aggies do know how to read. And to give the list an international flavor, I'll add an Israeli friend, Avi from Tel-Chai Nation. Don't let me down, boys!

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NAME: Greg
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