That Old Blog Memetic Has Me In Its Spell

Shawn Macomber (writing at Jeremy Lott's blog) has tagged me with a book-related "blog meme." That's a first for me, sounds like fun, let's give it a try:

  1. One book that changed your life?

    [Amazon Link] Software Tools by Brian Kernighan and P. J. Plauger. This basically knocked me off the career path I had been following (physics graduate student) and got me seriously dinking with computers, which is a pretty good description of what I've been doing since. It's a little dated now, but it's still right up there on my bookshelf.

  2. One book that you have read more than once?

    [Amazon Link] Break In by Dick Francis. With my very large to-be-read pile, part of me says I shouldn't be rereading things at all. But (nevertheless) I decided to put all the good jockey's novels into the TBR queue, and this was the latest one I hit.

    Not that it matters, but I also have John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer novels, and Isaac Asimov's SF novels in the queue; nearly all of those are re-reads.

  3. One book you would want on a desert island?

    [Amazon Link] Philosophical Explanations by Robert Nozick. I got this many years ago, after reading his Anarchy, State, and Utopia. It's 700+ pages of small print, narrow margins, and deep thinking, and I think I would need both the timescale and lack of distraction presumed by a desert island scenario in order to properly read and understand it.

  4. One book that made you cry?

    [Amazon Link] Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein. Heck, I'm secure enough in my manly manhood to admit it. Can't describe why without spoiling the plot, but I still remember how the climax tweaked my tear ducts over twenty years ago.

    I haven't reread it since, and I'm not sure if that's because I'm worried I'll have the same reaction, or because I'm worried that I won't.

    Job was also a pretty strong candidate for item one above.

  5. One book that made you laugh?

    [Amazon Link] Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. You'd expect me to say something like: "This is pretty funny, for a book that describes a lot of psychological research." But in fact, the qualifier isn't really necessary; it's just a pretty funny book. And you actually learn some neat stuff at the same time.

  6. One book you wish had been written?

    [No Amazon Link] He Who Has Ears To Hear by Ed McBain, which is a title I just made up. Ed McBain wrote over fifty 87th Precinct novels between 1956 and 2005. The most deadly and elusive villain faced by the good guys at the precinct was the Deaf Man, who appeared in a number of the books, always evading capture.

    And Ed McBain died last year, leaving the Deaf Man still at large. Son of a …

    So this imaginary book fixes that. I picture Detective Steve Carella's wife (who's also deaf) playing a pivotal role: The Deaf Man kidnaps her for leverage against Carella, but fatally underestimates her, and as a result is defeated at the book's thrilling climax.

  7. One book you wish had never been written?

    [Amazon Link] The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Imagine an alternate history where this tome never existed. Is there any way things don't work out better?

    I (belatedly) note this was also John Tabin's pick, but when you're right, you're right.

  8. One book you are reading currently?

    [Amazon Link] The Trouble With Physics by Lee Smolin. Remember what I said about being an ex-physics guy? These days I'm pretty much relegated to reading popularizations, and this one seems pretty good. It's about string theory, which Smolin doesn't like very much. (Note the clever cover illustration.) Extremely readable and fun (so far).

  9. One book you have been meaning to read?

    [Amazon Link] I really do have (as I type) 112 books in my TBR queue. And I've been "meaning to read" every one of them, really. But for the purposes of this exercise, I might as well go with something high-minded, important, and serious, unlike the lowbrow lightweight dreck I usually read. The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright has gotten numerous huzzahs from folks I trust, and I've got a hold on it at the UNH library.

  10. Pass it on.

    Okey doke. How about Bill Gnade (Contratimes), Clayton Cramer, and Doug Lambert (GraniteGrok)?


Last Modified 2012-10-22 10:09 AM EDT