Blogging buddies or whatever the word is (I've often wondered what to call someone you know but don't know, you know?) Nik and Lost in France have issued a couple book meme challenges. I don't normally do memes (and how many times have you read that on a blog, just before the blogger does one?), but since I recently started the Book Talk series of posts—and haven’t posted much to it—the meme seemed appropriate. So, here we go.
1. One book that changed your life?
Dracula by Bram Stoker. It was the first grown-up book I ever read and, curiously, the only “horror” book I've ever read. I was around 11 or 12 at the time and home from school sick so I inhaled the entire book in about two days—an achievement I've never matched, I don't think. This book told me in a way no teacher ever could about the power of the printed word. A close second would be 1984 by George Orwell, which I read in the same era, because even, though I found it really hard going, it kind of laid the groundwork for my grown-up politics.
2. One book you have read more than once?
I don't re-read books, mostly because it takes me a long time to get through them in the first place (I'm a slow reader), but I do re-read short stories. However, one novel I did re-read was To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (both times I read it was for classes). A book I re-read on my own was Annie Proulx's novella, Brokeback Mountain, because it's short and because the movie was being made and I knew I’d finish re-reading it before the movie came out (I did, by the way).
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
I think I need to choose a series: “Tales of the City” by Armisted Maupin. Light, easy-going and thoroughly entertaining, like spending time with a fun group of friends. These will, one day, be books I re-read.
4. One book that made you laugh?
I can't think of a book that made me laugh throughout it, though there have been parts of many books, like the “Tales of the City” series, that have had me laughing from time to time. I generally stick to more serious subjects or non-fiction.
5. One book that made you cry?
Books may not have me laughing all that much, but neither do they make me cry. Still, like laughter, there have been teary moments in several books, like the “Tales” series, Brokeback Mountain and others.
6. One book you wish had been written?
This is an odd question. I mean some people might choose a sequel to a favourite novel, or maybe just one more book by a favourite, but now dead, author. I'll be more mundane. I wish there was a comprehensive history of the GLBT communities in New Zealand, especially from the 1980s onward.
7. One book you wish had never had been written?
I have to echo Nik here, too, and say all the right-wing bullshit books. Pick any one—no self-respecting pile of dog poo would be wrapped in them. I've been lucky: I've never read a book that was that bad.
8. One book you are currently reading?
Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charlie Savage. Did I say I never read another horror book? This comes close.
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Actually, there are several I've been meaning to finish, which is probably worse. When I get bored with a book—or just too busy—I stop reading it. Starting other books is lower on the list for me than finishing what I started reading, but somehow new books manage to jump the queue, anyway.
10. Now tag five people.
Nope. Anyone who wants to do the meme, be my guest (and please let me know you did). But I’m not getting into that whole meme madness more than I already have.
Lost in France’s Page 123 Challenge
One more meme challenge before I stop: "Pick up a book on the top of your book stack, turn to page 123, read the first five sentences, then post the next three sentences on your blog."
Everyone seems to be interpreting this to mean the book they’re reading at the moment, and for me that’s “Takeover” (see number 8, above). I also counted the incomplete sentence at the top of the page (only one word was on the previous page…). So:
“But even for believers in inherent executive authority, there remained an obstacle to maximum presidential power. An inherent executive power is not the same thing as an exclusive executive power. It’s one thing to say that if necessity arises, the president can direct government to do something that was not specifically authorized to do by the Constitution or federal statute—monitoring phone calls that touch U.S. soil in search of spies and terrorists, for example.”
And now you now why I don’t do these memes.