Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Book Meme

Via Kevin at The Smallest Minority, who is far busier than I am, if only for the moment (semester starts again tomorrow -- I have 450 students. Eeek.)

1) A book that changed my life: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It was a time in my life when lots of things were changing. I had left behind family and friends for the first time ever, living on my own in San Diego, becoming a physicist, and struggling to put some personal pain into perspective. Halfway through the book I realized I believed in God. Dumas also provides the single greatest literary insight into the nature of our existence: "Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss."

2) A book I've read more than once: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, which was also a life-changing read. I've gone through it four times, which ain't all that much, but I only allow myself to read it every five years. I'm due for another quest soon.

3) A book I'd take to a desert island: Something big enough to surf home on. Seriously, though, I'd take the Bible.

4) A book that made me laugh: P.J. O'Rourke's Holidays in Hell. I bought it at an airport bookstore during a layover, and was laughing so hard that I'm sure people thought I was crazy. Also, Letters From a Nut by Ted L. Nancy. Who thinks up stuff like that?

4) A book that made me cry: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It contains the most deeply sad moment I have ever read in fiction. I was also heartbroken at the end of The Lord of the Rings the first time I read it.

6) A book I wish had been written: Mysteries of the universe be damned, I want to know why my husband insists on leaving his dirty socks in the exact same spot every night, under the coffee table. Is there anything less comprehensible to women than their husbands? I would pay anything within reason for something like The Comprehensive Guide to the Male Mind.

[Note to Kevin: There is already a book that explains everything. It's called The Key to the Sciences of Man by D.G. Garan.]

7) A book that should never have been written: The Da Vinci Code, if only so I wouldn't have had to wade through the endless piles of Da Vinci-inspired crap at Barnes & Noble, including The Da Vinci Fitness Code (bleeeaarrgghhh).

8) A book I'm currently reading: At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. A sweet, light-hearted escape. I'd love to retire in Mitford.

9) A book I'm planning to read: Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I just finished watching the HBO series Rome, and realized I know virtually nothing of ancient history. (I grew up in Canada, so the only world history I learned was that "Arab" is not pronounced "ey-rab".) This book also comes with one helluva recommendation -- Churchill gave it a big thumbs up.

10) Five people I'll send these questions on to: Anyone who's reading this, but three in particular: Carnaby, Rus at Solarvoid, and Fran at Eternity Road.


Blogger Kevin said...

Sarah, does The Key to the Sciences of Man have plans to a functional star drive? ;)

8/30/2006 6:51 AM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

I wish!

What Garan does is explain the universal principle governing all of existence, including such seemingly disparate things as human behavior, medicine, economics, and physical law.

His insights into physics are pure genius -- the stuff of revolution -- and describe the single all-encompassing principle for physical law, which is so simple and elegant you wonder how it is that no one else thought of it before. Modern observational and theoretical physics is only just now discovering what Garan described decades ago.

Soooo... physicists and engineers who understand physical law in terms of this principle could certainly design a functional star drive. The theory of it is extremely simple, though it will take some ingenuity to design the thing.

8/30/2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Husbands: Some Assembly Required."

My good wife claims that this explains much. Me? I haven't read it... B-)

8/30/2006 2:34 PM  
Blogger Zendo Deb said...

I think that Gibbon's Decline and Fall is in at least three volumes. And it is dry as toast, but it is complete.

Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War the war between Athens and Sparta after the combined Greeks defeated the Persian invasion but before Alexander invaded Persia in retaliation is a much better read. Even if it is less than what we would call "historically accurate" it is generally considered to be the first bit of western history. (Before that we had stuff like Homer's Illiad.)

8/31/2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...


I know someone else who is reading Thucydides and enjoying it. Maybe I'll start there. Thanks for the recommendation.

9/01/2006 6:54 AM  
Blogger ming said...

what's a book meme?


9/01/2006 5:12 PM  
Blogger Rusticus said...

I also recommend Thucydides. Interesting read, and I'm only a third of way into it.

9/08/2006 9:30 PM  

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