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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tag, yer it - Book/Reading Survey

My friend FatHairyBastard has tagged me with this Blogosphere Q&A. And as he makes a habit of thought-provoking posts, I think I'll play along and answer. In the end, I'll tag a few of you.

  1. A book I've read more than once? Life on the Mississippi & Innocents Abroad, both by Mark Twain, Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and the Bible (King James Version and really, the whole thing, Genesis to Revelation several times), by...well, you know.
  2. What book would I want on a desert Island? I have to agree with FatHairyBastard on this one. Gotta have a book that teaches you to be McGuyver. So while I'd want to be entertained, I'd probably pick How to Hold a Crocodile: Plus Hundreds of Other Practical Tips, Fascinating Facts and Wicked Wisdom, or The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook.
  3. A book that made me laugh? Basket Case, by my colleague Carl Hiaasen.
  4. A book that made me cry? Again, I agree with FatHairyBastard. I don't think a book has ever made me cry. Movies, however, are a different story. I cried at Old Yeller, and though I'm ashamed to admit it I got teary-eyed ONCE toward the end of Notting Hill.
  5. A book I wish I'd written? The Dirty Girls Social Club - not because I have anything in common with the author (though she was once a newspaper reporter, and in the interest of full disclosure I once interviewed and wrote a profile about her), and not because I have a gaggle of Latina best friends, but because the literary marketplace was so ripe for the book, and its release was so well-timed that once published it was an instant commercial success. And that translates to two things that every good, honest writer can admit he wants: lots of readers (translate that to "fans") and $$$ recognition for his work.
  6. A book I wish had never been written? I could easily get myself in trouble with this one, so I'll stay away from political and religious themes and stick to the mind-numbing stuff. Because it was a waste of paper and took up space that a real author could have used I wish Hold my Gold: A White Girl's Guide to the Hip-hop World had never been written.
  7. A book I'm currently reading? The Black Echo (a Det. Harry Bosch mystery), by Michael Connelly, and Head Case: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain, by Dennis Cass.
  8. A book I've meant to read? Don't know. I've read the classics, etc. So these days I just read 'em as I hear about 'em and come across 'em.
  9. A book that changed my life? The Bible would be a clichéd (but true answer). So other than the obvious, I'd say Invisible Man, and The Tipping Point.

Interesting survey. It was fun, F. Thanks for sending it.

So I guess I'll tag Drew, Rakish Rune, Freddie, Tere, Rick, and Melissa.


  • I am new here in blog-land so I invite you to my blogg.

    By Blogger Kirsten N. Namskau, at 3:56 PM  

  • I LOVE the Harry Bosch novels- but you should try to read them in order.

    By Anonymous og, at 8:24 PM  

  • Books can be wonderful adventures. But my favorite book of all: The Holy Bible.

    By Blogger Mighty Dyckerson, at 8:39 PM  

  • Hmmm. How would a person who reads only magazines fare at this meme?

    By Blogger doggerelblogger, at 8:40 PM  

  • Thanks, James. I was tagged through the mom blog and so I'm going to cheat and post that link:

    By Blogger Tere, at 9:14 PM  

  • Silly as it sounds Og, I've read all the Bosch novels in order...starting w/book two. I don't remember why, but when I first learned about 'em I never read book one.

    Actually, I do sort of remember. I met Michael Connelly, 'cause he was speaking at a journalism conference I was attending in St. Pete, Fla., about four years ago. Anyway, he instantly became one of my writing heroes when I learned that the path he'd taken to literary prowess was the same path I was on.

    I don't mean to flatter myself. I just mean that he started off as a newspaper reporter, covered crime/cops as a reporter, got book ideas from his reporting and went from there. So have I. I've even covered the same beats as him. So imagine my excitement when he describes life back then till now. All I could think was "Hey, bub, you're on a tried and true path." Anyway, if I could get my first book sold then this would be an entirely different story.

    Sorry, I'll stop rambling. So at that conference Connelly gave autographed copies of The Poet to all the folks in attendance. I read that one first, then sort of skipped backwards and got the rest of the books in order. But for whatever reason I skipped The Black Echo.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:39 PM  

  • I'd recommend some of Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" novels. Particularly the later ones where he's gotten his style & characters really sorted.

    Of course he's really writing a critique of the way we do things here, but in such a funny way.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 6:11 AM  

  • I would like to take this survey, where can I find it. I think the book that I have read recently that moved me the most was The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. A very personal look into the grief of losing a loved one.
    Not depressing, but I now understand so much more how my mother felt when my father went to work one day and did not come home.
    Another good one was The Pentagon's New Map, War and Peace in the 21st Century by Thomas P.M. Barnett. Reading nothing right now, work and visits to the nursing home take most of my time.

    I would like to nominate my 100 year old grandmother, Margaret Roll, as my hero for surviving a massive stroke and working hard to get back home from the nursing home. The stroke was about 5 weeks ago and she is now working hard on learning to use her right side again and communicates mostly with the most wonderful facial expressions I have ever seen. She is not happy to be where she is, but knows I can't take care of her alone at home, so she works hard. One day last week she walked 9 feet in one session. Her balance is much better and she waved goodbye with her right hand the other day. So kudos to my Granny Margie, my roommate and best friend
    and let's get her home soon.

    By Blogger And There You Are, at 9:13 AM  

  • I don't really know if I can answer these questions...all the literature I read, ends end "house" or "boy"...or "'tler"

    By Blogger Rakishrune, at 12:46 PM  

  • Tagged? I'll get this soon James. Thanks.

    By Blogger Freddie, at 12:58 PM  

  • Loved "Blink." Never did read
    "The Tipping Point." Also read "Dirty Girls Social Club." It was a good read. Good action for the males, good characters and emotional storytelling for the ladies. Not heavyhanded either.

    "The Bluest Eye" made me heave with hot tears. The portrait of Pecola was so painful.

    By Anonymous kb, at 1:06 PM  

  • The last book I read was The Travels of William Bartram by Mark Van Doren (1928) and before that The Swamp by Michael Grunwald (2005), but yo

    you need to screen these blogs before you post a link--a little scroll down on Fathairybastard's blog reveals the gayer side of homosexuality--and these don't seem like the queers who bitch about gettin' married, if you know what I mean.

    I say have your fun, but don't make me watch and I'll do the same, K?

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 4:24 PM  

  • You done good man.

    By Blogger Fathairybastard, at 5:30 PM  

  • Ever read "where the red fern grows"? Bet that will bring a tear to your eye

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 PM  

  • I was watching "Beaches" in a ward room on a destroyer one night and after the silly thing ended, amid the sniffles of these burly guys I lived with, I blurted out that people should die violently in movies so that it's entertaining. They just shook their heads.

    That's what I think about reading books that make you cry. If someone's got to get a tumor or somethin' to get you there, it aint worth the trip.

    But then I tear up when I read the Sullivan Ballew letter, or the Gettysburg address. To each his own.

    By Blogger Fathairybastard, at 2:16 AM  

  • found you through Freddie...will be back to read more!

    By Blogger Jean, at 2:18 AM  

  • A few books made me cry--

    Visions of Cody, Kerouac
    Lolita, Nabakov
    Bible, God
    Last Temptation of Christ, Kazantzakis.

    (All those books I've read more than once.)

    Book that Changed My LIfe: Tropic of Capricorn, by Henry Miller. When I first read that book I was a stockbroker working on Wall Street--by the time it was finished I had quit, ran off to Puerto Rico to write my own (unpublished) novel.

    Book I'm reading Now: Black Dhalia Avenger by Steve Hodel.

    Book I wish I wrote: American Pyscho, Ellis.

    By Blogger Crashtest Comic, at 1:17 PM  

  • A book I wish was never written? That's a great freaking question. Let me think about it a little...

    Night, by Elie Wiesel.

    By Blogger Crashtest Comic, at 1:27 PM  

  • I did it, James. I completed the tag task.

    And I gotta tell you - it was fun!

    By Blogger Melissa, at 7:37 PM  

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