Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bloggenpfeffer Redux

I seem to be doing everything AW says to do:

Literary Speed Dating!

Name your three favorite books as an ice-breaker:


1. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
2. All The Kings Men - Robert Penn Warren
3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

I wish it were five! I could add Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and Possession by A.S. Byatt! And a ton of Thomas Hardy, Willa Cather, George Eliot, Theodore Dreiser, Faulkner, Nathaniel West, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Evelyn Waugh...but you only get three apparently, and I always read and re-read these.

But these are really great bildungsroman and roman a clef type books that are so rich and satisfying, you can read them and feel immersed into a world. They are each a great blend of literature, social commentary, politics, and romance.

Children's Lit Version:

1. His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman
2. The Dark Is Rising - Susan Cooper
3. Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Ha! I bet you all were thinking I'd include Harry Potter! Well, much as I love how my nephews bonded with me over them, I'm always left feeling slightly unsatisfied and annoyed after reading them. This is Belle the adult talking. These are series that are vastly superior to HP. My nephew and I love The Dark Is Rising series, and if I could get him to go agnostic and abandon his Baptist elementary school training (what were my Buddhist sister and brother-in-law thinking?!) he'd love the atheistic Phillip Pullman novels too. And I grew up with the Little House books. How can you not be charmed by frontier life?

I will add:

Poetry Version:

1. The Four Quartets - T.S. Eliot
2. Out of Silence - Muriel Rukeyser
3. The Aeneid - Virgil

I love modernist poetry, and I actually read the Aeneid in original latin--back when I knew it.

Short Stories Version:

1. The Collected Stories of Flannery O'Connor
2. The Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
3. The Collected Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Lahiri was my modern pick, although I love the stories of Richard Bausch, Russel Banks, Edward P. Jones, Tobias Wolfe, Richard Yates, Alice Munro, S.Y. Agnon, Ama Ata Aidoo, Nikolai Gogol, Bessie Head....too many to list!

Drama Version:

1. The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
2. August Wilson's 10-play Cycle of African American drama
3. All My Sons by Arthur Miller

It's a tough one, but All My Sons always moved me more than Death of a Salesman. And if I had another spot, it'd include Tony Kushner's Angels in America or Homebody, Kabul.

Law Version:

1. Critical Race Theory
2. The Concept of Law - H.L.A. Hart
3. Taking Rights Seriously - Ronald Dworkin

No other books can compare to how foundational these have been to my thinking about race, rights, and the sovereign powers of the law.

Turn Off Version

1. Self-Help/Make Lots of Money Books
2. Most "I made it through the rain" pop psych memoirs
3. Anything by Ann Coulter and her ilk.

Also suggested by AW:

Blogroll Blogfriend

If there is someone on your blogroll who makes your world a better place just because that person exists and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence on your blog.

(The idea is that you copy that sentence and don't actually give the name[s] of the bloggers on your blogroll who make your world a better place. Which is good, because this would be a very, very long, post indeed if I listed everyone who fits these criteria for me.)

Hat Tip: AW


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