Ms. Kitty has tagged me on the book meme, (well, she said, “Okay, I'm tagging anyone named Joel.”), so here are my answers:
1. One book that changed your life? Revolt in 2100, by Robert Heinlein. This book changed my life because I read it at a pivotal point in my life, during an early teenage crisis of faith. It introduced me to the dark underside of religion, and to the concept that a person could develop their own personal credo- that you didn’t have to decide between the package offered and atheism. I would not be UU today without this book.
2. One book you have read more than once? I have a lot of old friends between covers, from authors such as Kipling, Heinlein, Clavell, Clarke, Herbert... but the one book I have reread more than any other is The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. This is not just a book on religion; it is a practical guide to human psychology. Every time I read it, I get something new out of it.
3. One book you would want on a desert island? My own journals, the ones with lots of blank pages left. I made a very bad decision early in life- rather than following my muse, writing, I decided to be “pragmatic” and concentrate on business. I was young, I wanted to get married, and didn’t want to spend years as a starving artist, waiting for my work to take off (if it ever did- I knew the odds). My intent was to work hard, get my own business going, and then retire early to concentrate on my writing. I had no idea that even if I succeeded in business, it could all be taken away by events outside my control- so I spent half a lifetime doing something other than what I loved for a living, and wound up no better off for it in the end. A desert island, a blank book, and a pen are looking pretty good right now.
4. One book that made you laugh? The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, by Will Cuppy. Imagine your high school world history textbook written by Stephen Colbert. For any history buff, this book is coffee-out-your-nose funny.
5. One book that made you cry? I can think of a couple- Podkayne of Mars, Robert Heinlein; and The Man Who Fell To Earth, Walter Tevis. Although both are good, solid efforts, neither is a masterpiece... and yet, they both managed to touch me somehow.
6. One book you wish had been written? An Idiot’s Guide To Your Life, an owner’s manual. Man, did I ever need that book!
7. One book you wish had never been written? If we are speaking of the good of mankind, I would say either the Communist Manifesto or Protocols of the Elders of Zion... if you mean for me personally, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Perhaps I was too young when I read it, but it gave me a case of psychic dyspepsia severe enough that I’ve never reread it, not even when it was assigned.
8. One book you are currently reading? Freakonomics, Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner.
9. One book you have been meaning to read? Something by Bishop Spong, just to see if he makes more sense in his own words than what I’ve read about him does.