Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Book Meme

I've been tagged by tng for the really fun book meme! The impossible part of this meme is that you can only select one book for each category. This activity is really difficult, but very enjoyable since you get to think about important books.

1. One book that changed your life?
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison
I know this choice will seem horrible/morbid/depressing, but it isn't. This book changed my life for the better. The overall look at suicide was informative, but the part that qualifies it for this category was Jamison's coverage of Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis and Clark expedition across America fame). He did fine when he was busy, even when he was too busy-pushing himself near collapse. But when he had unlimited down time, his brain would take a sharp turn into depression and it was during one of these down times that he killed himself. This book was a wakeup call (scream) to me about how I needed to structure my own life.

2. One book you have read more than once?
Watership Down by Richard Adams
I have an irrational and overwhelming love for Watership Down. It's a great story, but I think it's the greatest story of all time. The last time I read it instigated my desire to adopt a rabbit. Maybe I should have listed this book under the first category.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
The Complete Far Side by Gary Larson
I've seen people put clever books here, such as How to Build a Boat, etc. But I'm a depressive, remember? I know I'm not getting off the damn island. So I want something to keep my spirits up, something that's long, and something heavy enough to kill frightening creatures.

4. One book that made you laugh?
Remarkable Trees of the World by Thomas Pakenham
It isn't a comedy. It made me laugh in a "joyful, glad to be alive so I could see such things" way. I linked to it so you could search for some amazing pictures. I recommend entering "redwoods" and "methuselahs" in the search inside this book function.
(Thanks tng, I hadn't looked at this book in too long.)

5. One book that made you cry?
Shockwave : Countdown to Hiroshima by Stephen Walker
I cry easily at happy things, sad things, and horrific things. Most of the things that interest me make me cry. But Shockwave was just horrible, because you see how easily the attack on Hiroshima could have been averted. It's an excellent book, well-researched and well-written.

6. One book you wish had been written?
The Natural History, Ecology, and Behavior of the Spanish Mustang
There is at least one great book out there on Mustangs in general, but it's not an exhaustive source on this one horse breed.

7. One book you wish had never had been written?
The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance by Laurie Garrett
It's a great book, well worth reading. But it lit a fire under my tail and sent me on a self-destructive path into and through graduate school. If not for this book, I might have wised up sooner and decided to do something else when I grew up.

8. One book you are currently reading?
Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis
I actually just finished it. If you haven't read this book yet, by all means get it and get started. Davis pulled together so many sources, and she gives a comprehensive treatment of racism in the women's movement (the "first wave", the women's suffrage movement).

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
I have carried this book with me for years, and moved it from state to state. I kept it so long, that a new edition came out. Now I'm carrying the new edition around. Other books keep getting priority, while this poor book just keeps getting more dusty. It's widely recognized to be an excellent book, but I'm put off by very long books.

10. Now tag five people. I tag:
Amy at Feminist Reprise
Kaka at Kaka Mak
Hexy at Hexpletive
Witchy-woo at Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...
Pippa at One Salford Feminist

8 comments:

neuralgourmet said...

Those are some fascinating choices. I've got to admit I've never read Watership Down. It's one of those "I know I should, and I'd probably enjoy it, but I just never seem to get around to it" books.

On Howard Zinn's People's History... I started it and got about a quarter of the way through... I learned a lot but... It was too depressing! Isn't that a sad statement? But it's true. There are aspects of my own country's history that are too depressing to read about. Maybe I'll tackle it again this fall.

spotted elephant said...

tng-Watership Down, it depends on how much you love animals. Although, the themes of the book apply to human organization very well.

I know what you mean about books being too depressing. I've been trying to read A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide for years, and I get so depressed that I can't even get out of the chair to put it away. It's very well-written, but just so awful because she writes about the genocides themselves AND about the US govt's refusal to respond to repeated warnings of genocide and cries for help. It's one thing to know about terrible events in US history, but another to read about them in detail.

Maybe it's time for me to grab Watership Down. :)

L. Wu said...

Have you ever read any of Dr. Jamison's other books?

My mom lent me a copy of Unquiet Mind, and I started to read the textbook Dr. Jamison co-wrote (one of my mom's colleagues had left the tome in my mom's office)...

neuralgourmet said...

l. wu... What a great blog you have! When I can safely post on NG tomorrow (migrating servers tonight but I don't know quite when) you're definitely going on the blog roll!

spotted elephant said...

l. wu-No, I haven't. But I keep thinking I should, since NFF was/is so important to me.

witchy-woo said...

Thanks SE! That was really hard! But it made me think and I enjoyed it :)

Laura Linger said...

Tag ME, dammit! I wanna play! I wanna play! I mean, my goddamned English degree had better be good for something! ;-)

spotted elephant said...

OK Laura.

Tag, you're it!