Monday, August 21, 2006

I've been tagged by Saudade

1. What is a book that changed your life?

Wow, they all do, at least incrementally. How does a modestly well-read boy choose? I’m looking at my book case right now, pondering, and I realize that all the books on it are those I’m still meaning to read. Drat. I suppose one of the big ones is: zen buddhism by d.t. suzuki. This book, I am sure, changed a lot of people’s lives, but nonetheless, zen buddhism by d.t. suzuki really did set my personality on the path it’s been on for a long time; a path, ironically, that has not led me to Buddhism as a faith structure.

2.What is a book you've read more than once?

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy. This book, I suspect, has also changed me in ways I am as of yet unaware. Blood Meridian was recommended by a close friend for years, and I never got around to it as I never really got into the western genre (always have leaned more toward fantastic/fabulist in fiction), but when I did finally begin the copy he gave me—I was, words cannot describe this well, but perhaps “sand-blasted” is an appropriate metaphor. This is a hard novel to read, and more than once I had to just put it down, but its poetry, its raw and unerring insight is awful in the oldest sense of the word: awe-full—the holy terror of which William James spoke in The Varieties of Religious Experience.

3. What is a book you'd want with you on a desert island?

Not either of the above. I’m with Saudade—the S.A.S survival manual. If not that, then the collected works of W.B Yeats.

4. What is a book that made you giddy?

Hmm..either Pynchon's V. or Ring of Fire by Lisa Jarnot. Almost by their nature, these books allow a reader to become lost but simultaneously enjoy the exploration. Both of these make me very, very happy to be alive.

Wow, I am totally cheating—multiple responses galore! Ah well.

5. What is a book that made you sad?

Technopoly by Neil Postman. Technopoly’s subtitle is “The surrender of culture to technology.” Postman is not a doom-and-gloom writer (who are very easy to compartmentalize and ignore), but instead is really interested in human civilization—and his fascination is immediately contagious. He also is not one of those who demand that we, unrealistically, throw out anything that requires electricity. Nonetheless, Technopoly quietly wove itself into my fabric (see question 1, again), and makes me sad in a way that is, ultimately, helpful. I truly believe that western civilization has sold itself out in a lot of ways to our machines and that we have lost a lot in the process. The “net may be vast and infinite” but it, and other technologies, are tools that we should not be in the service of, but quite the opposite.

6. What is a book you wish had been written?

You mean it hasn’t? I thought I simply hadn’t yet discovered it.

7. What is a book you wish had never been written?

Any book that tells me the truth, and especially those that do so with a cute talking animal, or pithy and wise old man/woman.

8. What is a book you're currently reading?

Three actually, and I’ll limit each to two adjectives:
a)Endgame by Derrick Jensen: Frightening and uncomfortable.

b)The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth by Robert Graves: Immense. Detailed.

c)A Strange Market by Robert Kelly: melancholy and human.

9. What is one book you've been meaning to read?

Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan. Also…no, I just can’t begin. There’s a lot.

10. Now tag five bloggers.

Okay. Hmm…that’s hard as most the bloggers I'd tag already have been. But here’s a few peeps from whom I’d like to hear:
Nick Piombino
Clayton Banes
Catherine Meng

Well, three's close enough. It’s early mornin’ and time for bed.


Pantos said...


This is Ryan from SLIS. Judging by your interests, I'd highly recommend The Embodied Mind by Varela, Thompson and Rosch. It's buddhism meets science. To really understand the book you'll need some background material (it was the hardest thing I ever read--right after Management Basics for Info Professionals. I'd start with Philosophy in the Flesh by Lakoff and Johnson. Of course, SLIS is upon us, so put it on your to do list.

Trevor said...

Hah, no doubt! Thank you for the recommends, Ryan. I just got MBfIP today, and boy-howdy, it looks to be a thrill-a-minute!

saudade said...

Blood Meridian. I forgot about that book. Holy terror, hard to read, yes, and I would never read it again, but it is in my top 5 easily. Those are the best kinds of books.

Goo, now if we get stuck on the same deserted island it will be a race against time to see who uses those SAS skills better to capture that giant hot dog running around. I'LL EAT YOU! ;P

Trevor said...

yeah, saudade, but i'll have my coconut family to defend me. Cocnuts are tough nuts, just like me.