I asked DGus to send me his answers to the Meme that's been going around the blog world. Here are his answers and comments:
What is a "meme", exactly?
[According to the 4th ed of the American Heritage Dictionary, a meme is "A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." In this case, as you point out, it's more like a pop quiz. - md]
My reading is not great--certainly not worthy to be compared to yours--and my memory of my reading is even worse. This is like getting called on in a big lecture class after not doing the homework. But for what it's worth, here's what comes to mind.
1. One book that changed your life
FLATLAND, by E.A. Abbott. A clever, even brilliant little book. Math Fiction. I read it as a college freshman. Several years ago I bought 20 copies from Dover (one of the very cheap editions), and I force them on innocent people. [Wilhelm was one of these innocents. - md]
2. One book that you've read more than once
OLD YELLER, by Fred Gipson. I read it more than once as a kid, and recently I read it aloud to some of my kids. I still get choked up when Old Yeller dies.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON by Johann David Wyss, to give me survival tips and encouragement.
4. One book that made you laugh
THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL by Philip Roth. I was young and immature then, and laughed uncontrollably. Now I don't laugh when I read. Nor read Roth. Well, I guess I laughed a bit when I read LAKE WOBEGON DAYS by Garrison Keillor, and smiled a lot.
5. One book that made you cry
MARY: A CATHOLIC-EVANGELICAL DEBATE by Dwight Longenecker and David Gustafson.And, in the OLD YELLER vein, I also got a little misty when Beth died in LITTLE WOMEN. Well, OK, I actually got a catch in my throat. But hey -- I'm not a tough guy, and I get choked up easily.
6. One book you wish you had written
THE EVERLASTING MAN by G.K. Chesterton.
7 a One book you wish had been written
The Autobiography of Jesus Christ. And I have a book idea in my head, based on a series of classes I've taught in religious anthropology entitled "What Is Man?" I wish I'd just get up the gumption and do it.
7 b. One book you wish had never been written
THE DA VINCI CODE. How stupid. And the Koran (saw this on someone else's list, and I agree).
8. One book you're currently reading
The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, given to me by an acquaintance who seems to think my religion could use some improvement. Turns out he's right, but I'm not sure how much St. JOTC is going to help.
9. One book you've been meaning to read
Never could get very far into MOBY DICK. [Is this payback for Pilgrim's Progress? -- ed] But no, I've given up, so I can't say I mean to read it any more. Maybe Augustine's CONFESSIONS. I've never really finished it, but I mean to.