Just when I was feeling out of things to write about, Ben saves me with a meme.
1. One book that changed your life: That’s an easy one. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. I find most of her writing ponderous now, but when I read it high school it was compelling. Since I had the good luck to grow up without religion it was my first flirtation with an all-embracing ideology. Fortunately I moved on to other things, but it’s safe to say that without Atlas… no Torch, no IHS seminars, no Cato internship. And no eventual burn out that led to becoming a barista? Perhaps. The alternate life in which I didn’t read this book while young is hard to picture.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The Great Gatsby. In high school I hated it. Like one Amazon reviewer, I considered it “no more than a lengthy description of the doings of fops.” Re-reading it in a philosophy and lit class at Vanderbilt I finally recognized it as the great American novel.
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Its praise of solitude would be ideal for a desert island and its aphoristic style would be good for non-sequential browsing.
4. One book that made you laugh: Steve Martin’s The Pleasure of My Company.
6. One book that you wish had been written: An additional novel by Peter Taylor.
7. One book you wish had never been written: The Catcher in the Rye. There are probably novels with protoganonists less likeable than Holden Caulfield, but I haven’t read them.
8. One book you’re currently reading: (You could just look at the sidebar.) The Medici Giraffe, a series of historical vignettes detailing how exotic animals have been used by people in power to add to their prestige and cement diplomatic relations. It’s well-written and a fascinating jumping off point for the various tales. Plus the title of the epilogue — “Little people in furry suits” — makes me giggle. I assume the chapter is a musing on anthropomorphism, but I like to interpret it more comically.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. It sounds fascinating, but the equations and code are intimidating for someone as poor at math as I am.
I’m not sure I have the blog cred right now to tag anyone Ben hasn’t already tagged. But if you want to play along, go for it.