Shane over at Greet Machine Tagged me on the following book related questions. Here is my responses.
Book That Changed My Life: This is tough but I think it would have to be Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch. Before I read this book I really had no idea of the Civil Rights Movement, the conditions blacks lived in under segregation, and how hard people fought to enact and/or resist the Voting Rights Act. This book also kindled my love of non-fiction. Before I read this book, I mostly read fiction, now I mostly read non-fiction.
One Book I Have Read More Than Once: I am a notorious book re-reader. In fact almost every book in this post I’ve read more than once. I love going back to books and seeing them in a different light, enjoying them over again, or in the case of Griel Marcus books, try to figure out what’s being said. I’ve read the Lord of the Rings 7 times, East of Eden 5 times, and many, many books at 2-3 times.
Book to Bring on a Deserted Island: I would have to say Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. The book (and appendices) is way over 1000 pages. Plus I get something new out of this book every time I read it.
Book that Made You Laugh: Never Mind the Pollacks by Neil Pollack. God this book is funny, as it makes fun of rock critics and rock and roll stars. The protagonist is Zelig-like in influencing all the key scenes in rock history, from living next door to a young Elvis in Memphis to making Bob Dylan go electric at Freeport to introducing Courtney Love to Kurt Cobain.
Books that Made You Cry: East of Eden by John Steinbeck . At the end of the story when Adam has his stroke and releases Cal from responsibility of Aron’s death gets me everytime. Also if you don’t at least tear up when Frodo and Sam struggle on the side of Mount Doom both before and after destruction of the ring than you are just cold.
Book You Wish You had Written: Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan’s Art by Mark Marqusee. This book is both a musical and political analysis of Bob Dylan’s early work. It’s hard enough to analyze one aspect but to do both in a smart and readable manner… man I wish I would have done that.
Book You Wish Had Never Been Written: Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas Ricks. Outlines the criminally shoddy political and military planning of the current Iraq War. If the Bush Administration and the Pentagon had been minimally competent we wouldn’t still be in this lousy war and Ricks wouldn’t have had to write this book.
Book Currently reading: Actually two books. Alfred Hitchcock a Life in Darkness and Light which is a pretty good biography of Alfred Hitchcock and The Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Barrit which is a detailed analysis of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettsyburg Address. It’s pretty amazing the myths different interpretations of this 272 word speech.
Book Meaning to Read: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. About 20 years ago I got this book from a used book store for about $10. It’s a great edition with pull out maps, and cast of characters etc. I just never have been able to read more than a few pages before I have to put it down.
What’s on your list?