Thursday, August 03, 2006

"I do what I want..."

Just because I read Coach Brown's post doesn't mean I have to write a pre-packaged tag, does it? I mean, like Cartman says, "I do what I want..." I am doing this because I want to, not because my Coach told me to.

1. One book that changed my life:
The Magnificent Defeat by Frederick Buechner. No other book, the Bible included, helped me understand myself better.
"And because God's love is uncoercive and treasures our freedom--if above all he wants us to love him, then we must be left free not to love him--we are free to resist it, deny it, crucify it finally, which we do again and again. This is our terrible freedom, which love refuses to overpower so that, in this, the greatest of all powers, God's power, is itself powerless" (14).

2. One book that I've read more than once:
Godric by Frederick Buechner. I read it once a year, in the Autumn. I probably could use Buechner books to answer every one of the questions on the list. Poetic. Real.
"Remember me not for the ill I've done but for the good I've dreamed" (105).

3. One book I'd want on desert island:
The Tempest by William Shakespeare. It is magical and it takes place on an island.
"Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises, /Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. /Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments /Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices/That, if I then had waked after long sleep/Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming/The clouds methought would open and show riches/Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked/I cried to dream again" (III.ii.130–138).

4. One book that made me laugh:
Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain. I've not heard many people bring up this novel when discussing Twain. But I found myself laughing regularly, especially at the quotes from Puddn'head's calendar.
"When angry, count four, when very angry, swear" (89).

5. One book that made me cry:
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Coach Brown must have a reputation to uphold because he won't admit to crying while reading. I have, with many books. But nothing gets me like this:
"After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K.C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches.
I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: 'You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over'" (235). Man, seriously, I am crying as I type. Old Dan, I miss you too.

6. One book I wish had been written:
How to Fall Asleep in Less than One Hour--Guaranteed. Seriously. I take forever to fall asleep--even with sleeping aides.

7. The one book I wish was never written:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I'd like to chalk it up to being a high school boy when I read this, but there isn't a chance I'll ever pick it up again. Sorry.

8. The book I am currently reading:
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. Set in Italy during the second world war, this novel is human and beautiful as a result.
"She said, 'The world is filled with unreasonable hate. What's wrong with unreasonable love?' Sentimental nonsense, I thought..." (289-290).

9. One book I've been meaning to read:
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I've been meaning to read this book for three years now.


At 5:23 AM , Blogger Keith said...

Good list.

And I'll add my powers of coercion to your own - you must read Brothers Karamzov. And, if you feel so inclined, read Crime and Punishment as well. Both are fascinating looks at humanity.

At 11:12 AM , Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I like that quote you included from A Thread of Grace. It piques my curiosity enough to want to read the book. I've never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing your list--a very thoughtful one it is.

At 4:55 PM , Blogger Booklogged said...

Mr, enjoyed your list and loved how you added quotes. I could never get into The Bell Jar either, luckily I didn't have to read it in high school. That quote from A Thread of Grace is nice. Sounds like a book I'd enjoy.

At 5:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fellow teacher here (English) - let me also pile on regarding the Dostoevksy. Both Brothers Karamozov and Crime and Punishment were and are seminal books for me. If I had to pick only one of those for my desert island stash, I'm not sure which one I could part with. Though my advice would be to read the latter first, partially as a way of gearing up for the former.

At 2:44 PM , Blogger Cathy said...

Anyone that enjoys Frederick Buechner is a friend of mine!


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