That would be the next 5 Facebook challenges that anyone tags me with.
My sister took one Facebook challenge and made it a blog entry, so it is sort of like a “meme”, which is another thing I hate times 5.
However this one is about books and we Bs are a book-lovin’ family so SusanB and JohnnyB can not resist. However, Susan nonconformed and took it outside Facebook. Me, I defied the instructions to do 15 books in 15 minutes and not think too hard. The Bs are rebel book lovin’ people who question authority. We get that way from reading books and learning stuff. That’s why ignorant people burn books, because they fear that knowledge will change their little world. (Read more about questioning authority and burning books in “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, available in your public library.)
So here’s my list (I resisted the urge to provide a link for each book – it takes too long. Even longer than it would take to read this entry, which is way too long)
1. Little Bear and the Beautiful Kite – Painfully shy Little Bear was the first literary character I identified with. He overcame his shyness and became a hero (I won’t spoil the plot by saying how) and I knew that one day I would do that and win the affection of some girl (though at the time I had no idea why I wanted to).
2. The Cat in the Hat –I spent a lot of time playing by myself and making up imaginary characters, so I liked the Cat. That beat out the Cowboy Andy series of books I enjoyed. I had a bromance going for Cowboy Andy, but I was able to quit him early on.
3. New Yorker Cartoon Collections – You can read here about how the New Yorker cartons taught me about history, American culture and sex. Yes, I read these not long after I was reading Cat in the Hat. I was precocious.
4. Catcher in the Rye – Read here about how J.D. Salinger taught me profanity and giving an “in your face” to adulthood and my grandmother.
5. Fanny Hill – This early porn book was found in someone’s trash when I was 13 or 14. I learned more from this book than from Catcher in the Rye. Talk about "coming of age"
6. Hiroshima – okay, nothing funny here. Another good book about the horrors of WWII is Night by Elie Wiesel. Makes you wonder why we would drop The Bomb on Japan but not Germany. Because Hiroshima is far removed from our allies but Berlin isn't or because the Japanese are more "different from us”? I'm just asking.
7. And Then There Were None – Got me interested in mystery books. I read all the Agatha Christies because I had a crush on Miss Marple.
8. The Big Sleep – I then read all the Raymond Chandlers and learned that American pulp fiction was better than British drawing room whodunits (that is “who-dun-it”, not “whod-unit”, which is how I read it as a teen) and the dames that Marlowe meets are sexier than Miss Marple.
9. The Martian Chronicles – All of Bradbury is beautifully written. I read every one.
10. Breakfast of Champions – Also read all of Kurt Vonnegut, who combined the silliness of Suess with the fantasy of Bradbury and the adolescent anti-social attitude of Salinger.
11. Canterbury Tales – a book I enjoyed as opposed to the books from high school lit that “stayed with me” in a bad way (e.g. The Red and the Black – Worst. Book. Ever.) Canterbury Tales is bawdy and features farting.
12. Without Feathers – Woody Allen taught me about writing humor and more about philosophy than Nietzsche’s The Stranger or any other existential authors I enjoyed.
13. The Source – The only James Mitchner book I really, really enjoyed. I imagine that when James Mitchner was a boy and his mom asked how he got his clothes so dirty, he would start out, “Well, Mother, in the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth will be a recurring character in this narrative. So, then …”
14. The Bone Collector – by Jeffrey Deever - Or I could list Rules of Prey by John Sanford which got me interested in becoming either a twisted homocidal killer or a brilliant but flawed detective. I guess I'd go with the detective - they have more normal sex than the killers.
15. The Torah and 15 books of The Bible – More sex than even Fanny Hill and murder right in the first chapter. In fact, they have elements of every other book on my list.
The book I never read that stayed with me is the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem which we had to read and translate in my 4th year of high school Latin. I actual did read it, just not when I was supposed to. I would work on translating each day’s portion during lunch, right before Latin class. I would go to the library where I could find my Latin classmate, Lori Fuglaar, whom I had a crush on and who was smarter than I – I have always been attracted to smart women. She was a remarkably cute girl of Nordic descent who was also very religious. I know this because every time I called to ask her out, she had something to do at church that conflicted with the proposed date.
But at lunch I was able to enlist her help in doing my homework. I know she felt uncomfortable helping me get away with not doing the assignment. So I was able to corrupt her morals … just not in the way I wanted to. If only I could have climbed a tree and saved her kite, I might have won her affection. Oops! Now I spoiled the Little Bear story.