February 13, 2010
There was this little meme that ran around Facebook a while ago that challenged people to: "Quick! Name 15 books that have stuck with you!"
I resisted for a long while, but then finally decided to go ahead and play the game. Below is what I posted on Facebook, and it generated quite a fascinating discussion on my Facebook page. That said, I post it here for your perusal. Notice how I decided to use this meme to launch into a discussion about more than just 15 books. Hey, it's my Facebook page... I'll post to it however I see fit!
Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. List 15 books you've read that will always stick with you. They should be the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. If you decide to play, tag me back, because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your Profile page, paste rules in a new Note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the Note, upper right-hand side.)
I could just as easily make this a list of fifteen authors....
In no particular order (I even filled in the numbers out of order, just to be truly random):
1. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
2. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
4. 1984 by George Orwell
5. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
6. 2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (plus lots of others by him)
7. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (plus, almost everything else by RAH)
8. Animal Farm by George Orwell
9. The James Bond series by Ian Fleming
10. The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay
11. What the Anti-Federalists Were For by Herbert Storing
12. The Bonds of Womanhood: "Women's Sphere" in New England by Nancy Cott
13. The Boomer Bible by R. F. Laird
14. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
15. The Stand by Stephen King
15.5. The Dead Zone by Stephen King (plus, almost everything else SK has written)
16. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
17. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
18. Selected Writings of Abraham Lincoln (And Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, etc., etc.)
19. The Dilbert series by Scott Adams
20. The Far Side series by Gary Larson
21. The Calvin and Hobbes series by Bill Watterson
22. The Pearls Before Swine series by Stephan Pastis
I re-read Catch-22 every few years or so, and it's brilliant every time. Brilliantly funny, razor sharp commentary. Just brilliant.
1984, as I found out later when I read Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (for a Russian history class) and Anthem by Ayn Rand (recommended by a friend), is a complete rip-off of those two earlier works, but its message still resonates more profoundly than both of those works put together. Odd, but true.
With the exception of 1984, I've re-read 1-9 several times over, and re-read parts of 10-15 and 18-22 several times over.
I included Atlas Shrugged not only because it belongs on the list, but also because I know it'll cheese off some of my friends. I disagree with much of what Ms. Rand had to say, but she nonetheless spoke more truth than many people would like to admit.
Brave New World belongs on this list, too. Only read that one once, however. (Same with Atlas Shrugged.)
The Boomer Bible is one of the most scathingly funny books I've ever read, written in biblical verse. It is a satire on history, politics, religion, psychology, human nature, and in particular, so-called Western Civ.
Why "The Bonds of Womanhood" by Nancy Cott? I was a history major as an undergrad, and this was the first history book I'd read that made me realize just how much of our current social structure in the US is owed directly to the way the Puritans set up shop in New England. Why are most teachers in U.S. secondary schools women? Etc. Fascinating. I could have included many, many history texts regarding WWI and WWII, but this one was the first that really hooked me into history as a field of study.
While most kids have read at least parts of the Federalist Papers, it might surprise you to learn that there were many, many brilliant minds at the time who argued *against* adopting the US Constitution. "What the Anti-Federalists Were For" explains their positions, and it's a must read for anyone interested in US politics. (As I clearly am.)
Ah, hell. Add "Take Back Your Government" by Robert A. Heinlein, his best non-fiction work.
The James Bond books, upon a recent re-reading, are so truly awful it's bizarre. But I loved them. Loved them for years and years. Ate them up like candy.
I originally included these because I read them in book form, but since they are plays, I suppose they're not supposed to count. So, as extra credit, I include:
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (plus, while we're at it, the Crucible)
Macbeth by Shakespeare (plus, while we're at it, Othello)
Inherit the Wind by the guy who wrote Inherit the Wind
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Tag. You're it.
Copyright (c)1998 - 2010 by Allan Rousselle. All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed, all reservations righted, all right, already.
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