Meme, with Relish

I do so enjoy dropping by The Cubicle Reverend's little plot of the 'Net; his writing is fresh, approachable and always completely sincere (something I strive for in my own writing). And he consistently manages to make me take a few revolutions 'round the old Thinking Tree. His most recent post is a book meme that, by reading, has enveloped me in its snare:


1. One Book That Changed Your Life:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - This could have easily been any number of books, but the fact remains that The Hobbit was the first "big person's" book I remember reading as a child. In it are a thousands strands of memories tied to my father and how our love of this book shaped and anchored a rocky relationship for over 25 years. I still have the version my father gave me all those years ago, and it will be the first book I give to my son when he's old enough to understand the role books can play in our lives.


2. One Book You Have to Read More Than Once:
Dandelion Wine/The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury - Calendars be damned; the "official" start of Autumn is October 1st in my opinion. And every year until very recently I celebrated the onset of my favorite month by reading both great works by Ray Bradbury: one a fond remembrance of what Summer means to one young boy, the other a wonderful dose of magic and childhood detailing the meaning of Halloween around the world. The perfect way to usher in the new season while bidding adieu to the old.

3. One Book You'd Want on a Desert Island:
The Complete Works of Shakespeare by William Shakespeare - Unless it's possible to have the complete Harvard Classics in one volume, I'll take the Bard each and every time this question is asked. Of course, that's just one of many books I'd like to have on that island!

4. Two Books That Made You Laugh:
The Sword of Samurai Cat by Mark E. Rogers and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Both books have the same crazy type of laugh out loud humor, and since everyone and their uncle know the classic Douglas Adams book, let me take a brief moment to extol the virtues of the wonderful Samurai Cat series. At once a slapstick action comedy and a satire of all things that make us human, Samurai Cat leaves no event intact, whether it's retelling WWII with dinosours as Nazis or inserting a Zeno's Paradox joke in an Indiana Jones parody. Plus, every book is lovingly illustrated by the author. What Hitchhiker's was to me in high school, Samurai Cat was to me in college.

5. One Book That Made You Cry:
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - The other day new co-blogger Jason and I made a list of the greatest living American authors, and John Irving holds an irrefutable spot on that list. A Prayer for Owen Meany is my (and almost everyone else's) favorite Irving book, and one of my most vivid memories is having my wife walk into the living room of our Las Vegas suite (a story unto itself) and finding me bawling on the couch as I read through the last few pages of this great novel.

6. One Book You Wish You'd Written:
If On A Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino - My introduction to Calvino, and the book that opened my eyes to a entire world of modern, inquisitive and challenging literature that had been eluding me for years. Extra special thanks to Jason for introducing me to so many new authors. One day the story must be told of how I first came to his notice, lugging the 1000+ page Infinite Jest on my lunch break while we both toiled in retail during and after college.

uh, on second thought, I think that's the whole story...

7. One Book You Wish Was NEVER Written:
Titus Gamble by Peter Gentry - I wish I could find the cover of this book - you'd understand completely when I tell you that this book was the cause of shall we say a delicate and embarrassing situation early in my adolescence. Beware all books where the word "throbbing" averages 2-3 instances a page.

8. Two Books You Are Currently Reading:
Ringworld by Larry Niven and Segalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal by Vern - One is the 1970 Hugo and Nebula winner for Best Novel. One isn't. You decide.

9. One Book You've Been Meaning to Read:
Volumes II-VI of In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust - Volume I was incredible and unequivocally a work of genius. My brain couldn't take another 1,500 pages right away. But I'll get there, honest!

If you love books, consider yourself tagged. Link your post in the comments below. Huzzah!