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This Day in My History

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15 March 2006

Some time ago, I came across a "book meme" which I saved to do "some day."  I see that Mary and Robyn have each done a book meme which is slightly different, so this must be the time to do a book meme.  I decided to combine both memes together into one.  So here goes....

* Are you a novel or short story or comic or magazine reader or not a reader?

I'm definitely a novel reader.  I don't know why but generally short stories don't hold my attention like a longer novel.   (There are exceptions to every rule, though, such as the book I'm reading now.)  Generally speaking I prefer long-ish novels where I can get lost in the characters.

* What genre of books do you read? Why?

At the moment, I'm into the detective/investigator kinds of books.  Not murder mysteries so much as the James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell type of books.  When I'm getting ready to fly somewhere, that's the section to which I gravitate in the airport bookstore.

* Name 5 of your favorite books.

> The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson
> East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
> Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mich Albom
> Hawaii, by James Michener
> Marjorie Morningstar, by Herman Wouk*

*I will explain that Marjorie Morningstar was my favorite book when I was a teenager; I don't think I've read it since I've been married.

* What was the last book you read or are currently reading? What is it about?

The last book I finished was Mary, Mary, by James Patterson, which is another of his Alex Cross novels.  Cross is a detective out of the D.C. area, who now works for the F.B.I. and is always chasing bad guys around the country.

The book I am currently reading is Dog is My Co-Pilot, which is a book of short stories about dogs which was recommended to me by the head of the local SPCA.  It's excellent.

* What was the last book you bought?

After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006:   Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, which isn't exactly a reading book, but it was the last one that I bought.  The last reading book I bought was Teacher Man by Frank McCort.  I loved Angela's Ashes, hated the follow-up book, 'Tis, but I'm willing to give him another try.  I suspect his history as a teacher will be more enjoyable than his collection of "places where I lived and women I screwed" book.

* Who is your favorite writer? Why?

I'd have to pick John Steinbeck.  I went through a "Steinbeck period" several years ago and read all of his books, back to back.  I devoured his eloquent writing style and I found that whenever I was reading Steinbeck, my own writing improved significantly.  (I think it's about time for me to start reading some Steinbeck again!)  I also relate to his books because I'm so familiar with the geographical area about which he writes.  I never drive through the Salinas Valley without thinking of the descriptive passages from East of Eden.

* Is there a book that has influenced your life in some great manner? How?

There is a little book called How to Survive the Loss of a Love, which someone gave me after Gilbert died.  It's a beautiful book designed to help people recover from losing anything that is loved, whether a spouse, a lover, a friend, a pet, a tooth, a house, a job ...anything that you have lost whether by death or by some other means.  Gilbert's death was my very first experience with grief on this personal a level and the book became my constant companion.   I read it over and over again and charted my journey through grief by how far I could get into the book before I started crying.  I have recommended it to many people since then and would recommend it to anyone who is dealing with any loss significant enough to affect your life.  (I understand it now comes with a workbook; it didn't, when I read it.)

* Name five books that are particularly meaningful for you.

Lessee...this is different from "favorite" books, eh?  OK--let me give it a shot.

> How to Survive the Loss of a Love for the reasons listed above
> Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, because it was written by my boss, Fred Reif, and because I typed the damn thing three times...and because it has been translated into several languages and it's fun to look at the Japanese version and see an entire page of Japanese characters, with my name being the only thing that is NOT in Japanese characters!
> Lamplighters Story, 1977-1987, because I never dreamed I could write a book and goddamn it--I did!
> The Martian Child because it was written by my friend David Gerrold, because I know "the martian child" personally, and because it's a beautiful story--which, in its longer book form is absolutely mind-blowing for anybody who actually knows David.
> Fooled by the Magic, because it was written by a good friend of mine, who allowed me to read it.  (It was never published)

* Three books you are dying to read but just haven’t yet.

I have to be in the right mood to read various kinds of books.  There are several on my "to be read" list, awaiting when "the time is right."  Those would include:

> Here's Johnny, Ed McMahon's biography of Johnny Carson
> Teacher Man, by Frank McCort
> The Fifth Horseman, James Patterson's latest "Women's Murder Club" book.



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