Thursday, August 03, 2006

Screaming Memes

Jayme Lynn Blaschke tagged me with this, and I decided to go along with the gag. Partly, at least.

1. One book that changed your life?
There have been many. One would be the first paperback printing of John D. MacDonald’s Murder for the Bride. I was holding it in my hand one day, looking at the cover, and I thought, “This was printed only in paperback. There are a lot of books like that. I think I’ll collect some of them.” Thousands of paperback originals later, here I am.

2. One book you have read more than once?
Again, there have been many. All of Chandler, all of Ross Macdonald, all of Hammett. Those guys are my idols. I’ve read Clifford Simak’s City several times. One story in it, “Desertion,” may be my favorite short story.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I’ve read some of the plays so many times that I practically have them memorized, but I figure they’re good for a few more rounds.

4. One book that made you laugh?
Yet again, there have been many. I just finished Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job. I laughed a lot.

5. One book that made you cry?
Jayme mentioned On the Beach. That one made me cry when I read it 45 years or so ago. But I’m a sucker for sentimentality. Just anything works. Dickens can get me going easily.

6. One book you wish had been written?
A Black Shroud for McGee. For years it was rumored that John D. MacDonald had written a final novel in the Travis McGee series, one in which McGee died. The rumor’s been pretty well proven false, but I wish it had turned out to be true. I’d like to have seen what kind of send-off JDM would have given old Trav.

7. One book you wish had never been written?
The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein.

8. One book you are currently reading?
Blue Screen by Robert B. Parker.

9.. One book you have been meaning to read?
As usual, there are many. I don’t have a TBR stack. I have two six-foot bookcases, double stacked. So I’m passing on this one.

10. Now tag five people.
I don’t want to bother anybody.


Todd Mason said...

1. LOOKING BACKWARD by Edward Bellamy. Bet not too many people can say that any longer. Bet not too many read it in its Lancer Magnum Easy-Eye edition on their grandmother's porch in West Virginia at age 11, Lancer being the company edited by Larry Shaw and owned by folks with mob connections, supposedly.

2. THE LONER by Ester Wier. My favorite book as a 9-10yo, a contemporary western that was a Newbery runner-up (and was robbed), and not exactly a Disney film waiting to happen. (The young-adol protagonist's first girlfriend-almost is torn apart by a thresher by about page five.)

3. This morning, I'll call it Borges's THE ALEPH AND OTHER STORIES 1933-1969. Or a bound volume of ESQUIRE from one of the good years of the '60s, with the small hope it has a useful article on living on an otherwise deserted island.

4. Evelyn Waugh's THE LOVED ONE.

5. Some of Theodore Sturgeon's short stories.

6. A decent book that does a good deal of what it meant to do.

7. Pernicious books depend on pernicious folks...certainly one which annoyed and disspointed me was Carl Jung's THE UNDISCOVERED SELF.

8. Damien Broderick's QUIPU. I've been meaning to get back to the last fifty pages of Kate Wilhelm's THE PRICE OF SILENCE.

9. I wish my TBR pile could fit on two bookcases.

10. Ear-tag or collar-tag?

Bill said...

Thanks for playing, Todd.

Carl V. said...

I'm curious now...I've read half of The Number of the Beast and enjoyed it (I'm a notorious starter and then finish much later kind of reader). I'm wondering if it is the latter half of the book or if you just don't like Heinlein. I've only read 3 Heinlein books, Time Enough For Love being my favorite.

Anonymous said...

1. Zacherley's Midnight Snacks (or was it Vulture Stew?) No matter, it warped my mind back when my mind was even more warpable than it is now.
2. Alice in Wonderland -- a zillion times.
3. The Complete Works of Bill Crider, assuming the island is in an alternate universe.
4. Max Shulman -- take your pick.
5. Macho men don't cry over books, only over the daily newspaper.
6. Sunset at Blandings, the last P. G. Wodehouse.
7. I'm on an August Derleth kick, currently going between Country Matters and Village Daybook; I've read thirty or forty of his in the past few months.
8. In my TBR pile are books by Crider (who he?), Gorman, Pronzini, Al Collins, Lansdale, and a bajillion others.
9. Okay, so I went downtown, approached five different (really different) people and said, "You're it!" Can anybody out there help me with bail money?

Todd Mason said...

Carl, THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST is perhaps the most reviled RAH novel among even his fervant fans...the ones who have no problem with or find virtues in FARNHAM'S FREEHOLD, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, and his other lesser work (I'll be polite) was written apparently during one of his less lucid periods, is a rather self-indulgent (to say the least) celebration of himself and makes it clear that Lazarus Long is essentially the author's self-portait/alter ego, and is generally a mess (even moreso than the indigestible piles mentioned above). I don't like even some of RAH's important work (STRANGER, for example), though I do like some, so you can guess how far I got in this one, started skimming here and there very quickly. Hope you've had a chance to read THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW (or, better yet, the original forms of most of it) and probably his best novel, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, along with TIME.

Wonder who Anon is.

Todd Mason said...

I can't type today. Hope, actually, Carl, that you enjoy NUMBER all the way...

Bill said...

Enjoyed Anon's comment. I see over at Bookgasm that the SF Book Club has done a monster collection of Heinlein's non-Future History stories. That should be a good one.

Carl V. said...

I think Friday is the other Heinlein I've read. I have Moon is a Harsh Mistress on my 'to read' pile.

Time Enough for Love just got to me. Forget the silliness of the whole mother/love thing going on at the end. It was the relationships that Lazurus Long had and the way that Heinlein was able to convey these fulfilling relationships and how living for eternity was not always a blessing that really impacted me. One storyline was when Long was telling of a relationship with a mortal woman and they were essentially pioneers that I just loved. Evidently it was the right reading for the right time. I also liked the Kansas City references in the story considering that KC is where I live. I was never interested in Stranger...seemed too 1970's to me. Heinlein books are never ones that I feel I can recommend because of all the free sexuality in them but I have to say that Time Enough is one of my fav. sci fi books. Just another example of how reading is a 'to each his own' form of entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I'm anon. I just forgot to sign. And still no word on bail money...

-- Jerry House

Todd Mason said...

You know, I've beeb misreading things for a week, now...exhaustion or somesuch, and I misread 6 initially, as What would I wish I'd write, as opposed to what I wish was written. One I can think of thus was Robert Bloch's more literary autobiography, which he hoped would be a companion to ONCE AROUND THE BLOCH...and a healthy Bloch to continue writing updates and sequels...