Friday, March 21, 2008

The Longest Long Weekend Of The Canuckistanian Year...

.......Time To Do Some Reading!

Or, at the very least, think a little about reading while bike riding or baking or barre chording or whatever.

Here are a few books I think about sometimes.

Some more often than not........

A Book That Changed My Life:

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.
I read it when I was 12. It was the first time I really understood that pathos and hope could be all mixed up, together, in one big bottle of syrup. And Vonnegut was the first author who made me, like young Mr. Caulfield, want to call him up on the phone.

A Book I've Read More Than Once:
Chip Hilton, Touchdown Pass by Claire Bee.
My brother and I read it over and over and over again when we were kids. I think he still wants to be Speed Morris. It's kind of like a 'Boys' Sporting Life' version of Frank Capra's best known film.

A Book I Would Take With Me If I Were Stuck On A Desert Island:
Animals Without Backbones, by Ralph Buchsbaum.
This is actually a textbook that changed my life in my second year of college when it helped push me down the bizarre 15 year long twisty slide that ended at a place called biology career. Actually, come to think of it, I may still be on that slide. Anyway, on that desert island and in the water around it there are sure to be thousands of species of invertebrates and I figure I'd have enough time to try and find and identify all of 'em.

A Book That Made Me Laugh:
Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin.
C. and I both read it when we first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Amongst the serialized great fun narrative I just couldn't believe all of the crazy, whacked-out uproariously funny stuff, like cruising the Marina Safeway or, living undetected as a hobo in a cabin in Golden Gate park, or having a flamboyant landlordess that was actually your long, lost father. That book helped C. and me fall in love with the place. Not that we wouldn't have anyway.

A Book That Made Me Cry:
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
It just did. And it still does.

A Book That I Wish Had Been Written
The Second Third by Neal Cassady
After I became obsessed with all things Kerouac and the 'origins of spontaneous prose' I always wanted to read Cassady (ie. the real Dean Moriarity) unleashed like he was in 'The Great Sex Letter' which was, apparently, one of Sad Paradise's main inspirations. Alternatively, I would have have gone for Kesey's version of the history of the Merry Pranksters, and Cassady's role in it, rather than the one we got from Tom Wolfe.

A Book I Wish Had Never Been Written:
Better Than Sex by Hunter S. Thompson
Like that neighbour and women-friend in the 'World According To Garp' he just should have sstthhoppped.

I'm Currently Reading
Me Talk Pretty Some Day by David Sedaris
A Confession; I want to read aloud like Mr. David Sedaris (or even that cut-rate copy Johnathan Goldstein). The E's and me got hooked on Sedaris because I make VW (microbus) podcasts of stuff like this for the daily drives from the Eastern Townships to the far Western edge of Lotusland. Anyway, they (the E's) gave me the book and then I had to wait until Bigger E finished it so that I could get a chance to laugh all over again (and again) (and againergain).

A Book I've Been Meaning To Read:
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Her first, 'White Teeth', was one of the most astonishing things I've ever read. And what was even more astonishing was the fact that she was only 26 when she finished it. I liked her second, 'The Autograph Man', well enough, but thought it was tinged with the sophomore slump. Thus, I'm really looking forward to seeing what she's gotten up to with her third.

What Turned Me Onto Fiction:
A pup tent I had between the ages of 11 to 14. I would go in there late at night, with the campfire still flickering, and read until dawn. I can still remember everything about it, right down to the tiniest detail, even the smell.


OK, OK, OK! for anybody that's been paying attention, this is kind of a re-runneth empty cup dumped all over you. But, it's been updated - honest - the first time around I was reading .....A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry Magnificent. And behind the humanity of it all are the constant reminders of how important, and how fragile, being a nation of laws, not men, truly is. Originally did it because the chief tail (tale?) slapper at TGB whacked me up the side of the head.
Cartoon from the great archives from the very fine Graeme Mackay.
And If you really like good books, good writing and smart talk, here's a finer than fine link.
On deck.......Who REALLY won last Monday's Bye-Bye-Baby Elections?.....
In the hole.....Using the Fraser Institute's Ranking Scheme to guessed it.....The Fraser Institute!


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