To clear the brain palate, as it were, before plunging into How To Become An Ally (Part 2), I'm going to post my answers to a series of book questions with which I was recently "tagged" by Professor Zero. Please keep in mind that I've been a book person since I was a tiny girl and I would probably answer these questions differently every day for the rest of my life, depending on my mindset at the moment. Anyway, understanding all this and giving myself permission to just create "a" list, not, for goodness' sake, "the" list, here goes:
(1) One book that changed your life? Killing the Angel in the House by Virginia Wolfe
The idea that a woman would have to kill some part of her socialization to be her full-tilt self was somewhat shocking, but very meaningful to me coming when it did in my thirties. I don't think that I would have considered going to college/grad school (dragging my poor children through the ordeal) had I not read this book.
(2) One book you have read more than once? That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis
I'm almost embarrassed about this one. Nothing deep here and yet, I swear, I took notes and copied quotes out of it on one read-through. Then one time, I read the whole thing out loud to my daughter. It's kind of a fantasy/myth/science fiction book about the struggle between good and evil. Gosh, I wonder why that fascinates me so?
(3) One book you would want on a desert island? Memory of Fire by Eduardo Galleano (I know, I know--this is really three books, but it's a trilogy and everybody knows that's really one big, fat book in three volumes.)
I know I probably should have chosen a survival book, but this is the entire saga of the Americas: history, poetry, mystery, social commentary, you name it, it's here. People don't live by bread alone.
(4) One book that made you laugh? Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
I had a very weird childhood myself, though not nearly as weird as Burroughs. Maybe that's why I laughed so much. If he could live through all that and still be marvelously humorous, then maybe there's hope for all of us.
(5) One book that made you cry? Iron House by Jerome Washington
A beautifully written book about prison and the human spirit. I've read a lot of books about prison and prisoners, but this one seems to capture the deepest, most quintessentially and painfully personal nature of the experience as gauged by the people I've known and the stories they tell.
(6) One book you wish you had written? (I am so over-complicating this question. I have written the book I most wanted to write--as yet unpublished Argggh!--and am working on two others, way too slowly. So I'm not wishing. I'm doing it. Interpreted differently, I can't imagine wishing I had written someone else's book, because to my mind, that would mean being that person. How could I write Presenting Sister Noblues by Hattie Gossett, for example, without being Hattie Gossett? Oh, dear. Oh, dear. What to do? What to do?) So my answer is (drum roll, please): a novel about my father's mother, a beautiful and wild thing who ran off and left her rigid, patriarchal husband and three children in the 1920's and who died after supposedly shooting herself in the chest in Cincinnati at the age of 28. At the time of her death, in the wee hours of the morning on June 2nd, 1932, the only other person present was a police officer who had the hots for her uncontrollable self and whose service revolver killed her.
(7) One book you wish had never been written? Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
(8) One book you are currently reading? Never Drank The Kool-Aid by Toure
There's supposed to be an accent over the "e" in his name. Toure is one of the best writers out there, in my estimation, and judging from the number and range of his awards, I'm hardly the only one who thinks so. I first read his short story collection (which is stunning), but this is a series of in-depth non-fiction pieces about people Toure has interviewed or known, most of which I would never have read about, if not for Toure. Amazing list. Fabulous writer.
(9) One book you've been meaning to read? Why Read Marx Today? by Jonathan Wolfe
This will probably stay on my "should read" list forever, but every time I try to return it, I open it, read a paragraph and think, "I really must read this..." Sigh.
(10) And tag five bloggers to do this, too. This thing has gotten pretty wide, so I'm not sure if my five have already been tagged, but they are: Nubian, Another Conflict Theorist, Piscean Princess, Shannon, and Glenda.