Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Book Meme

I have been tagged by Maksim of 6mm-Minis for the book meme. Sounds fun, so here goes:

1. Name one book that changed your life:
It sounds kind of callous or insensitive, but there is not one single book that I think has changed my life in any particular direction. Maybe I'm reading the wrong books. Perhaps the Bible, but that has always been there since a childhood, more of a pervasive influence than a real change.
2. One book you've read more than once:
Well, listened to more than once, as I have listened to the unabridged Six Days of War by Michael B. Oren three times and bought the book. This is simply the best historical book I have ever read. Factual yet still gripping, and giving detailed background and motivations to the actors. It's worth reading for the information it gives on Nasser alone. Unlike other histories where Nasser is a faceless opponent, Oren describes why he did what he did, and what his (stated) fears and hopes were. The Egyptian command meltdown is described in detail. This is definitely one of my favorite books.
3. One book that made you laugh:
Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart. It's been a long time since a read this, and I recall it being very amusing. I recently pulled it out from its hiding place and have it handy for an eventual reread.
4. One book that made you cry:
Well, the photo in King Leopold's Ghost of the father sitting on his porch next to the severed hand and foot of his five year old daughter really made me break down. It was one of those situations where I was studying the picture and just couldn't figure out what it was, and then read the caption which just jolted me. That is perhaps unfair as I never could bring myself to read the actual book after that.
What comes to mind next is Lassie Come Home, at the end of the book, when the poor Carraclaughs have tried to disguise Lassie and the wealthy rightful owner, who isn't fooled at all, is examining her feet and understands what she's been through, and then states, "This is not my dog." I was reading this in bed with the kids for the first time and it was all I could do not to just start sobbing!
5. One book you're currently reading:
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy. Interesting, but sometimes dry. If it makes the crying list, it will be because I just can't wade through it! Still, definitely worth the $3.00 I paid for it. There is a lot of information about what makes a country powerful or not. The primary points so far seem to be about relative power; e.g., England is more powerful in absolute terms now than at the height of the Empire, but is relatively weak compared to the USA; about economic progressiveness allowing countries to endure the financial costs of war longer than their more backwards opponents, and the simple fact of geographic location.
6. One book you wish you'd written:
Easy one, the Atrocity Archives by Charlie Stross. It's not just the book I wished I'd written, it's the one book I should have written. The guy's a computer nerd dealing with Cthulhu-related X-Files stuff. I'm a computer nerd who likes Cthulhu. It's got me written all over it!
7. One book you wish had never been written:
Well, there are easy ones like Mein Kampf. However, listening to A History of Warfare by John Keegan, he makes the case for the highly touted On War by von Clausewitz as having lead directly to World War I, from which World War II pretty much followed, so I'll tentatively (as I haven't really explored the issue any further) throw that out as possibility.
8. One book you'd want on a desert island:
Probably something like the SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea! Yuk yuk yuk!
9. One book you've been meaning to read:
One book?! I have as many books I've been meaning to read as books I have read! What currently stands out is City Fights: Selected Histories of Urban Combat from World War II to Vietnam by John Antal. It's been sitting face out on my bookshelf for a couple of months now, but I have been spending more time painting miniatures lately than reading. I was thinking that, as well as simply being interesting and informative, it might give some ideas for miniature gaming.
10. Tag other people:
Nah. Not many people read this site anyway! And if you do, and you find this interesting, consider yourself TAGGED.

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