Thursday, June 23, 2005

True Confessions of an English Major (or as I like to call it, the Book Meme)

Of all the posts I’ve written, this one is sure to get me in the most trouble. As you all know, in one of my more foolish decisions in life, I went after an English major in college. As such, I’m supposed to know a lot about books. Well, prepare to be disappointed, outraged, disillusioned, scared, saddened, itchy and most of all, bored.

So begins my list…

The Number Of Books I Own: 183. That’s a rough estimate though, the exact count remains a mystery as I have neither the time nor the desire to actually count them. Who does though? I’ll bet that person doesn’t have a lot of friends. Not that I have a lot of friends, but that’s due to other reasons besides my compulsion to count every book I own.

The Last Books I Bought: Five minute mysteries. This was a mistake. I like things that make me think, and I like to solve riddles or puzzles. I went to the book store last week to see if they had anything that fit that description. The selection was decidedly sparse. This was the best I could come up with, but the sale tag of $3.99 should have been a dead give away. There are 40 five minute mysteries in this book, after getting through the first too with minor difficulties, I realized that the key was to be an idiot. This book turned into an exercise of finding the most vague and circumstantial evidence in the story and then using that to solve the crime. Let’s just say Mrs. Marple would be disappointed, as would Coco and Yum Yum.

Last Book I Read: How to play poker like the pros. This is the Phil Helmuth Jr, edition of poker strategy. It’s actually helped my game a fair amount. It is of course my goal to become a professional gambler, so I thought I’d read one book and then go take down Vegas. I’m pretty sure it’s just a matter of time before all of Vegas grovels for mercy at my feet, but as of yet I haven’t had the time to make a trip out there. It’s been too long, Vegas is calling… maybe Vegas just wants my money, but this time, Vegas is going to get a little surprise…

Five Books That Mean A Lot: This is where it’s all going to hell in a proverbial handbasket…

1. Journey to Ixland by Carlos Castaneda. I haven’t been able to convince too many of my friends to read this book because when they look it up at the book store, it shows up under “New Age Religion.” And their Christian upbringing prevents them from even considering reading it. This is just fiction people. I also like the perspective it gave me. That’s all I really have to say about it if you haven’t read it. I underlined a lot in this one… I don’t normally do that.

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This book makes the list because I didn’t really read it until I was in college and had a British lit class with it on the syllabus. I had grown up with the horrifically misguided view of Frankenstein’s monster. When I read this, not only did I find it well written, but I became fascinated with the monster as Shelley had written him. Fast, Athletic, Strong and above all, extremely intelligent. I like books that make me think, and this one made me rethink a lot of preconceived misconceptions that I had.

3. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Truth be told, I could have listed any number of books by Hesse here. He’s easily my favorite author. I like his approach and how he always shows the journey of life and it’s constant change. How a person can move through life, remain the same person, but change their outlook and their priorities. The process of individuation is one that fascinates me, and no one shows it better than Hesse.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by (seriously, you don’t know by now?). Again, could have listed any of her books, but this one happens to be my favorite so far. I was a skeptic for quite some time like so many others, then I actually read the books. They are not to be ignored. There’s something very universal about them that really appeals. I’m also getting pretty sick of the church complaining about how they advocate witchcraft. Get over it, these books are about good Vs. evil, they just happen to use witchcraft and wizardry as a backdrop. I also hate how the same critics of HP, loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy… same thing. Just because J.R.R. is widely accepted as a Christian doesn’t mean he didn’t use magic too. Am I crazy?

5. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This is another one of those books that made me take pause and think about things for awhile. While it’s true that I don’t believe in God, I definitely believe in the effect we have on other peoples lives even if we don’t realize it at the time. I never saw the TV version of this, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I have a very specific idea in my head of what this book looks like in my imagination and I like that picture. I won’t let that be ruined. (not like Jurassic Park. I really liked that book and thought the movie did such a poor job with it that it made me sick.)

I could go on, but right now most people have probably passed out and are repeatedly hitting the “b” hey with their forehead on the keyboard. That should make for some fantastic comments on this post.

One Book That Meant A Lot to Burn: The Pioneers by James Fennimore Cooper. I seriously wanted to slit my wrists after I got nearly 85 pages into this one and approximately 12 minutes of time had passed in the story. Sometimes, it’s hard being an English major.

People I think deserve this kind of agonizing torture…

I think I’ve proven to pretty much everyone out there that I’m nothing if not a thief. So I’m going to steal a line from Jasmine here and say if you want to do this, go ahead, if not, smack me in the face and call me jerk just like everyone else. Besides, I think almost everyone else has I know has been tagged by one of these meme things…

17 comments:

omar said...

It turns out that my head can't press only the B button. I tried.

Radioactive Jam said...

Hmm. Family and coworkers have often said I'm a pinhead, so let me try the b key thing: gtbbbgbgbgb b gbb b

This leads me to a couple possible conclusions. One -- I may in fact be a pinhead; if so, I am not sharp. Two -- actually, I can't remember the second conclusion. Not even sure I had more than one, now that I think about it.

Thanks for the suggestion, though. I've never wanted to try it before, and now I know why.
---------
Good post, as always. And your Five list is the first one (so far) with more than one book I've also read. And liked. And yeah, you might want to see that as a disturbing factoid.

Guyana-Gyal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Guyana-Gyal said...

Jon, I'm surprised that this post is so short, being about books.

It was quite interesting!

I read Siddartha when I was a teen, and was searching for it in our cupboard the other day. I think someone's swiped it. I recently read 2 Hermann Hesse...Peter Camenzind and Rosshalde. I was perturbed for days. And he writes so beautifully.

I think you might like this book, The Guide by R K Narayan. Lyrical, and humourous too.

As for Carlos Castaneda, I've always been too...scared to read him.

Been going through some of Chekov's short stories.

Gosh I love books.

Glo said...

I agree with Jam - yours was the first list I actually had any insight to, otherwise I've been nodding in that semi-intelligent way I use to disguise that I never have the slightest idea what I'm saying or doing.

Frankenstein was a college discovery for me, too. Such a good book that nobody "gets" because of the media image.

cadiz12 said...

i know a professional gambler. and he is very talented. however he is a hell of a lot less happy than everyone thinks he should be.

it's troubling.

Chronic_Roll said...

I want to make a law banning movies based on books that are so good you could never make a movie about them.
I saw East of Eden last week, and after having read the book it was such a major disapointment. James Dean was awesome, but they omitted like 90% of the story. Elia Kazan, I'll see you in hell!

Glo said...

Sometimes I want that law about all movies from books...if I see one more destruction of an excellent book...

cadiz12 - funny, isn't it? Happiness is a strange elusive rarely found where we expect it.

cadiz12 said...

absolutely, glo. absafreakinloutely. and the more you seek it, the faster it runs. and it doesn't ever get tired. sigh.

i learned the movie-out-of-book = bad thing at a very early age after trying to see 'Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH' after reading it. severely disappointing.

but on an unrelated note, voyage of the mimi was cool.

Glo said...

ahh, that Mimi and her crazy voyage...(So says Glo with obviously no idea what she's talking about).

If jon ever came to his own blog anymore, he would find the following statement as retribution for his comment on my blog:

The Lakers bought their championships and I hope all the Raiders get severe injuries so that they're forced to play with high school kids next season.

Jon said...

Look, I hate that my job is interfering with my blog life, and if I could quit and take up blogging full time, then I would.

Having said that, I’ve still seen the Lakers win more Championships than any other team… Big Shot Rob…7 rings? I can think of a player or two that might be a little jealous of that… and I’m right behind you on the Raiders… screw ‘em. I’m a Rams fan… if only G-Lo would pay attention when I’m talking, maybe then she’s learn a thing or two about me… (sigh)

Glo said...

Crap...how did I do that? I ruined a really good childish rant...on a fact I knew....

Alas, point taken. G-Lo full of apologies tonight.

christina said...

I was a Koko and YumYum junkie for awhile. What can I say, I like a man with a moustache...


That was a lie. Not a big fan of moustaches, really. Facial hair in general doesn't really do it for me. Cats are nice though, especially mystery-solving ones.

Jon said...

Damn, you’re right, it was Koko, not coco wasn’t it? Oh well, it’s been quite some times since I read those books last… Welcome Christina, by the way…

(still shaking my head at G-Lo)

omar said...

Do we need to intervene here? Get you two a relationship counselor or something?

Glo said...

Apparently so...

R. U. Serious said...

Who won, the toothpicks or the Q-Tips?

Damned If I Know