Monday, April 11, 2005

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An Impossible Book Meme

All these are hard choices for me. So many books, so few people, so little time. I'll give it my best, however.

You are stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book would you be?

The Complete Poetry and Letters
of John Keats. "A thing of beauty . . ." you know. Such rapidly developing talent, so much courage, so little time. I can't imagine a world without Keats's works.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Sophia in Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. Perceptive, charming, beautiful, headstrong, and witty. What's not to love?

What is the last book you bought?

I am given books so often that I rarely have to buy one. The last one I remember buying on my own was Christopher Dickey's Summer of Deliverance. I don't know Christopher Dickey, but I knew his father. I admire Christopher Dickey's reporting for Newsweek. I know they had a very strained relationship, but on the several occasions that I was with Jim, he always talked with much affection for his son. I wanted to read about their relationship from Christopher's viewpoint.

What are you currently reading?

On my own, I am reading Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham. I love history and am fascinated by World War II. One of my first memories is of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and I remember well the glorious celebrations when the Germans and the Japanese surrendered. For my class in World Literature, I am reading Dante, The Inferno and have just finished Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. For light reading, I enjoy mystery novels. I am a big fan of Rex Stout and also like Patricia Cornwell.

Five books for your desert island cruise (deserted island) package.

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell. Pick it up anytime, open it anywhere, and read anything. You are in the presence of one of the most original, eclectic minds in history. Scintillating conversation punctuated with brilliant insight and odd meanderings.

Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding. Parson Adams is truly an original. Besides if anyone ever needed a parson with him, it is I.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. In case I ever get back from the island, I want to remember how to be savagely indignant.

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. In case I need to remember how glorious it is to choose to go to Hell rather than betray a friend.

A very good and large anthology of modern (not contemporary) poetry. I could not last long without Yeats, Frost, Auden, Eliot, Wilbur, and countless other late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century poets.

I have no idea to whom to pass this, but I should like to see the lists compiled by Thomas Jefferson, John Kennedy, and Richard Wilbur (whose poetry and translations of Molière I much admire). I'll let Rugo choose for me.

Rugo will just pick just one more: NTodd.