Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Memes aweigh!

I get the feeling I’m thinking too much about this Meme. But forgive me, it’s my first time. Here it is:

The Little-Known Favorites MemeRules: List and describe three of your favorite books that other people might not be familiar with. Then tag five people. See, easy!

Easy? EASY?? (See, I can do it, Megan.)

First I wanted to go the route of choosing “books that other people might not be familiar with,” forsaking the “favorites” a bit. As in:
The U.S. Constitution. Okay, in and of itself not a book, but available in book form, usually with other texts. Attempts to set down some minimal ground rules about getting along in a more or less civilized way.
The Dictionary. Any version, really. Attempts to set down some consensus on how to communicate with words.
A First Aid Manual. Attempts to show how you might be able to save a life, literally.
The problem with this list: I’ve only poked around in these, but haven’t actually read one end to end, so a recommendation in this case is merely idealized.
Not a bad list, though, hunh?

Then I wanted to be silly and do the ol’ switcheroo, as in:
The DaVinci Code (ever hear of it? didn't think so)
Nancy Drew, Book 9, The Sign of the Twisted Candle (all the others suck, really),
And anything on Oprah’s list.
But that’s too easy.

Finally, here’s my real list:

Roy Blount’s Book of Southern Humor. Roy Blount jr., ed. I’m cheating here, because it was the stepping stone for me in finding other great books. But that’s the point. Read it, note which excerpts you especially liked, and chase down more by that writer. Also a great read on its own (though not in a handy size for subway reading).

The Perfect Vacuum, by Stanislaw Lem. Lem’s a Polish science-fiction writer, best known, probably, for Solaris. This is a collection of fictional introductions and reviews of books that have never been (and/or could never be) written. Except for the first entry, a fictional review of the book itself. Mind-opening stuff. And witty, of course.

Imaginary Obligations, by Frank Moore Colby. You’ll have to go to alibris.com or abebooks.com or some such site to track this down, but it’s worth it. The novels I tend to read happen to be well-known (aka “classic”), so here’s another set of pieces. Colby’s essays are witty without being cutesy, and the theme is – but, you know what, I’ll just quote the entire preface in a future post.

Now, the hard part, tagging five people. I’m not sure I even have five readers of this blog, not to mention five readers who have blogs of their own. So here’s the deal. If you don’t have a blog, just write your answer in the comments and then tag people by sending your answer along with the question by email to five others.

I tag
Matt Groening, Tom Stoppard, Willie Nelson, Gary Oldman (for Julie), and Marisa Tomei

Or maybe I should tag
Auntie Boo
Warner P.
Green Clementine
Glenn J.

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