Book meme

I’m not one for memes, much, but how could I resist a book one (from susoz)?

Edited to add: I’ve put links to all the others I’ve found in my sidebar, as I’ve found the variety of choices fascinating (and there’s a few books I need to read, too).

1. One book you have read more than once
Only one? I’ll pick a serious one – The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, which I often go back to if it’s been over a year since I read it, and one I’ll read if my brain is too tired – Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold.

2. One book you would want on a desert island
Very tricky – it needs to have enough to it that I’ll want to reread it constantly, but at the same time not be one I’ve read to death (see my last answer), or one that I haven’t read yet, but when I try to get into it it will be deadly dull. Possession, by AS Byatt – I’ve read it once, and loved it, and I keep meaning to read it again.

3. One book that made you laugh
Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe, by Bill Bryson. Cheating to pick the same author twice, but quite a different genre from the first one. If you’ve ever backpacked around Europe – it will make you laugh too.

4. One book that made you cry
I don’t cry much at movies or books, so I’m going to cheat and claim a book that made me cry first as a movie –Once Were Warriors, by Alan Duff.

5. One book you wish you had written
This is more about my ideal job than book writing per se – The big shift: Welcome to the third Australian culture : the Bernard Salt report, by Bernald Salt. Bernald Salt is a demographer, who analyses all the statistics he can find about the country and writes books about them. I’ve never actually read any of his books, so maybe I should do that before claiming one! So one that I have read is The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel, by Jasper Fforde – a dazzling romp through the literary world (literally).

6. One book you wish had never been written
The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot. This is going to mark me out as a philistine, but I read it for English in Year 11, and by the time I had finished it, I couldn’t remember the story well enough to write a book review, I found it such a hard slog.

7. One book you are currently reading
By my bedside table, I have about three I’m thinking of starting soon, but that doesn’t really count. I’ve just finished The Smell of the Nightby Andrea Camilleri (a mystery set in a fictional town in Sicily).

8. One book you have been meaning to read
1421: The Year China Discovered America, by Gavin Menzies. I love popular non fiction, particular about bits of history I know nothing about, but somehow whenever I put this on my short list to read, something else gets in ahead of it.

9. One book that changed your life
I don’t think a book has ever changed my life. I can’t think of any off the top of my head. The best “self-improvement” kind of book I’ve ever read (probably the only one that I thought was any good) was A Woman’s Guide to the Language of Success: Communicating With Confidence and Power, by Phyllis Mindell, which is a very insightful book analysing the linguistic reasons behind that oft-discussed scenario of a woman delivering an insight to a meeting, being ignored, and then a man in the same meeting delivering the same insight 2 minutes later to great acclaim. It’s not just about sexism; it’s about how the message is delivered.

Edited to add: Since I wrote this, I have just remembered a book that changed my life (but not my memory!)A Woman’s Guide to Running: Beginner to Elite, by Annemarie Jutel. It is a simple book, but contained the insight that if you want to run for exercise, you have to run slowly. Seems obvious, but wasn’t to me until I read it.

  4 comments for “Book meme

  1. August 18, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    Mother Tongue is fantastic. It has helped me to explain weird quirks of the English language to people who are trying to learn it better than any other resource that I have ever come across.

  2. September 11, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    Interval training is also a good way to cope with running (an otherwise tedious form of exercise, by my books).

  3. Annemarie Jutel
    September 19, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Delighted to find out that my book changed your life. Hope you are still enjoying your running. I’ve just finished reading Middlesex – by Jeffrey Eugenides. Almost as good as going for a run. 530 pages, and it took me about 3 days. couldn’t put it down. That’s like interval training – intense, sustained and with only brief interruptions.

  4. September 19, 2006 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks for the comment Annemarie! I’m glad that my comment got back to you. Not running as much as I used to (post children) but I re-read your book for inspiration every now and again.

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