Friday, June 26, 2009

15 Books in 15 Minutes

I did this survey on Facebook and thought it would make a good blog. A bit of a divergence from my usual stuff. Yea, it took me a LOT longer that 15 minutes to write them up, but ooh well. I can't just say a couple words about these books.


15 Books in 15 Minutes

Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 (or more) friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose.

1. The Bible. (specifically the story of Sampson & Delilah in Judges) - Okay, I'm not a big Bible-Thumper, but my mom used to read this story (quite enthusiastically) from her braille bible when I was a kid. I always asked for it.

2. The House With The Clock In It's Walls - John Bellaires - My 5th grade teacher read this to the class and I re-read it myself. Oddly enough, my father-in-law found it for Liam last summer,as well! Great young-reader level Gothic horror.

3. 1984 - George Orwell. (I'm stealing K.T.'s write up on this. It's perfect, and I'm lazy) This book stuck with me after I read it in high school and I still remember certain scenes and images from the book (The movie sucked! Don't bother!) as being so solid -- possibly one of the best books ever written. (PK's note - it's also a beautiful and tragic love story)

4. Animal Farm - George Orwell. Another great. Emotionally riveting, politically inflammatory, and a timeless story. This book wrenched my emotional and intellectual guts out. I've read it several times.

5. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - Ronald Dahl - Read this in 5th grade and devoured it.Of course, I saw the movie first, but at that age, I was AMAZED that there were so many differences! "You mean when they make a movie about a book, they can CHANGE things!?" It curtailed my impulse to watch a movie rather than read for my book reports. I subsequently read "James & The Giant Peach" as well as "The Great Glass Elevator". I always wished they made a movie on that. Imagine floating Vemicious Knids with today's CGI!

6. Skeleton Crew - Stephen King - A collection of short stories, many of which made it into the Creepshow movies. I had it on my night table at age 11 and read a story a night before bed. BAD idea! Loved it, of course, but I didn't sleep much or well while I was going through it.

7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (series) - Douglas Adams - I won't write up every book, because they really can't be looked at individually. Once I realized Adams was a Monty Python writer, it cast a WHOLE different perspective on the series and I found it absolutely...freaking...HILARIOUS! The only one I haven't read is "Starship Titanic", but though it's a part of the Guide's multiverse, it's by Terry Gilliam and not Adams, so I don't feel guilty about it. I'll get to it eventually.

8. Star Trek: The Return - William Shatner (& Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens) - THIS is the book that got me back into reading for pleasure. I had stopped reading books that weren't assigned about 8th grade or so. No time, too much effort, excuse, excuse, but while walking through Rite-Aid, I saw this cover with Picard & Kirk's face. I was intrigued and bought the paperback. While reading it, I found it was the 2nd in a series of Trek books by Shatner and devoured the series. There's some pathetic "I'm Not Dead Yet" moments, ego maniacal passages, and some WICKED bad puns now and again, but good stories! Kudos to the Reeves-Stevens for keeping Shatner on a leash! I now own and have read some 20 or so Trek novels and own most in hardcover.

9. Metamorphosis - Fraz Kafka - Creepy. This was assigned in college and was my first foray into existentialism. Good thing I'm generally a cheery person. A GREAT read full of amazing imagery, but just a plain downer. Then again, the same can be said of most of Orwell's stuff.

10. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo. Okay, I didn't finish it. Have you seen this book? I mean, have you SEEN this book? Unabridged?! It's a mile thick! That's not so daunting in an of itself, but the rambling descriptions of Paris can make you feel like you're reading the 'begats & begots' sections of the more dry books of the Old Testament! I try not to read 'abridged versions' of anything. I like to see what the author was trying for, like the director's cuts of movies, but it's like going from a 25lb barbell to trying to bench press a Mack truck. A great story, no question, but get over your literary high horse and read an abridged version - or just see the musical. It makes a great step-stool for changing light bulbs, though.

11. The Killing Joke - Allan Moore & Brian Boland - Batman...yeeeeah! I owned a 1st printing of this uberdark graphic novel in High School. It was my first REAL comic book purchase. It practically tripled in value in a few months. When they got to the 9th printing, I traded it for Ralph Biggs's copy of Dark night...and creased the cover on it. Needless to say, the trade became permanent for good form. I bag and board nearly everything now. Great story, AMAZING artwork, shocking plot twists, and NUDITY (rare for the family-friendly DC, especially in the early 90's)! I still own a copy, but it's hardcover...and in French. I don't read French. :/

12. Stupid White Men - Michael Moore - Yea, he's a self-serving blowhard, but the guy's got a lot of great points, his ideals line up with mine, and he's just freaking hilarious! Most of his books are pretty similar, but this one's not as dated. I should reread them to see if they hold up as well a decade later. I have most of his books, and this one I got him to autograph.

13. Lies and the Lying Liars The Tell Them - Al Franken - C'mon. Politically left, well researched, AND an SNL cast member and writer?! You think I WOULDN'T own his books? He blends current events, pop culture, and his own personal life into a GREAT read. It's like sitting on a living room couch and talking with him over coffee. Comfortable, unpretentious, never preachy. Just a helluva guy and a helluva writer.

14. The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein. Classic, though I never quite reconciled whether the focus was about a mother's love and generosity or the ungrateful, oblivious kid. Still, it makes me cry whenever I read it.

15. Pat The Bunny - Edith Kunhardt Davies - Who didn't own this book? It had a special place for me, though. As my mother is totally blind, this was the one book we could share interactively. We could pat the bunny, feel daddy's scratchy face, smell the pretty flowers, and truly experience the book together. Lots of happy memories of this book, and the first book I INSISTED on getting when my son was born.

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