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Literary meme

I was tagged for a literary meme.

1. One book that changed your life

I’m struggling a bit to think of anything, but if I had to nominate something, I’d probably say Ben Elton’s Gridlock. It’s not an earthshattering philosophical work, but I think it (subconsciously) triggered a lot of my thinking about issues I’m now actively involved in campaigning on. (Where I talked about it previously)

2. One book you have read more than once.

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers books.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island.

Something long, engrossing, and thought-provoking.

4. One book that made you giddy?

Christopher Koch’s Year of Living Dangerously. There’s nothing like reading a well-regarded text and realising that what you’ve been told is true — one of the characters really is based on your own father. (My review)

5. One book that you wish had been written

I’d love to read a history of my family on my father’s side. Okay, so it’s very personal, but I think it’s sad that so few people know the personal details of their own ancestors. (There’s already been a history written of mum’s side.) I think my uncle is working on something, though I don’t know how much detail there’ll be. It leaves me wanting to ensure that what I write in this blog is kept for my descendants to read.

6. One book that wracked you with sobs?

I’ve read some moving books, but I don’t recall any that had that effect on me. Unlike, say, the Father’s Day episode of Doctor Who the first time I saw it. As its author, Paul Cornell recently wrote: Drama isn’t your puppy, it’s a tiger. It’s not meant to make you comfortable. It’s meant to make you feel alive. Something applicable to books as well as TV, I reckon.

7. One book you wish had never been written

Having sampled Angels and Demons, I can honestly say the world would be no worse off if Dan Brown hadn’t bothered. (My review)

8. One book you’re currently reading

Doug Grant’s Incompetance. It’s amusing enough, but there’s little thought-provoking or devastatingly intelligent about it.

I’ve just read the bit with the railway station that was served by no trains. As ridiculous as it sounds, in outer-SE Melbourne there’s a hospital with a bus stop which is served by no buses. (They’re fixing it sometime soon.)

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read.

Three books really: Neal Stephenson’s Baroque trilogy is high on my list.

10. Now tag five bloggers

I’ll go for (hopefully) a variety of reading tastes: My lovely Marita. Beth. Tony. Konrad. Erm.. one more… one more… who else wants to have a go?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “Literary meme”

1. I cannot say that book has truly changed my life. I did obtain a copy of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying after my sister committed suicide but I have never been able to bring myself to read it. I probably should have though to try and come to terms with things. I am not religous but if I were to turn to any religion I would imagine Buddhism would be for me.

2. I reread books all the time but one that sprang to mind immediately was Little Women when I was very young. I remember reading it over and over one summer whilst camping with my parents.

3. A Short History of the World by Geoffrey Blainey (??? on spelling). It’s huge, takes forever to read but is thoroughly engrossing.

4. The closest I could come to being “giddy” about a book would be when I just want someone else desperately to read what I have read. I am a book-worm big time and there are literally hundreds of books I could recommend from a wide range of subjects both fiction and non-fiction. The most recent book which I would have no hesitation recommending was “Capote” on which the moview was based. I was amazed at how much I did not know about Truman Capote and at the life he lead. Makes me want to read In Cold Blood again.

5. One of the classics – To Kill A Mockingbird for example.

6. Not totally racked with sobs, but I did cry during and at the end of The Lovely Bones. A horrible subject (girl raped and killed then writing of her family from heaven) but so well written. I very nearly didn’t read it past the first couple of chapters but never regretted after that.

7. Any Mills and Boon book! LOL

8. “1421” a book on the theory of Chinese voyages having journeyed the oceans way before the commonly credited explorers such as Magellan, etc. Also reading Candy at the same time but only when I am relaxing in the bath.

P.S. for your information there is an article in the most recent Vanity Fair available here on Dan Brown having plagiarised most of the book from other sources and the ongoing legal fight an author by the name of Perdue is having with Random House/Brown, et al. If you can get hold of a copy it makes for most interesting reading. I never thought that much of the Da Vinci Code myself.

9. I would like to one day tackle a few centuries old tales – tried reading War and Peace once but gave up. Need to have more perserverence as I am sure that I am missing out on something by not reading Tolstoy, etc.

10. Not sure about the tagging so I will leave that to others

Fixed, thanks Michael. (Australians: don’t follow the Paul Cornell link if you don’t want spoilers for the current/2006 Doctor Who series.)

I liked the historical figures in a fictional setting in Neal Stephenson’s Baroque trilogy, and the close running to historical facts. The fun bit was guessing who was a famous historical figure before their name was announced. But I think the third book was the weak point.

I’m trying Diamond Age next.

It’s strange how it’s become fashionable to slate Dan Brown these days. I wonder if it would be the same story if the mainstream hated The Da Vinci Code…

Have only just got to read your meme. Life has changed and become quite full and I am flat out doing my blogs without reading my favourites – of whom you are one. Thank you for doing it. I am impressed by the literary parentage – especially connected to one of my favourite writers, the magical Chris Koch.

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