I found this book meme the other day, and since I've been reading a lot lately, I thought it would be fun to talk about the books I've known and loved. I'm answering these questions with a lot of fiction, but actually I've been reading more non-fiction books than novels, since fic has generally satisfied all my fiction needs. I'd be interested to hear what books are important to you guys and what you're reading now, too, since I recently found out how awesome my local library is and have access to lots of good stuff.
Anyway! Onto the meme!
1. A favorite book! My favorite book of all time is Lolita. There's so much to it that every time I read it, I discover something new.
2. A book that affected you in your YA years I'm going to go with Jane Erye. I read it in eighth grade English class and it was one of the first "classic" books I ever read. I've been a reader me whole life, but reading this book for class was the first time I'd really studied a novel. Of course I'd done papers and book reports for school, but studying Jane Erye was the first time I realized that studying novels was something that grown-ups did ,and that they took very seriously. Up until then, I mostly viewed reading as something I did for fun, and when it was for class, doing reports was something that only kids did, like math worksheets. It made me really excited that I could talk about books seriously.
3. A favorite fantasy novel </i>Sir Apropos of Nothing</i> by Peter David. It's extremely funny. :D
4. A favorite sci fi novel I'll say Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut. Vonnegut still counts as sci-fi, right?
5. An awesome book (possibly a favorite) you think not many people around you have heard of/read Throwing the Elephant: Zen and the Art of Managing Up by Stanley Bing. It's hard to describe - it's sort of a parody of a self-help book. Bing takes Buddhist philosophy and applies it to the workplace, telling the story of Sid Arthur (get it?), a man born into a family of rich and powerful business men who eventual achieves business enlightenment. It's hilarious, and the advice is actually pretty good. My favorite piece of advice: Our spirits rebel at what we read, be it newspaper, memo, or e-mail. Inside, we are a riot of feeling. But stop. Look within. Is there not something in there that really doesn't give a shit? Of course there is. In that place, there is silence. There is the Buddha.
6. A book you own more than one copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. When it came out, we bought two copies so that Brian and I could read it at the same time.
7. An author whose every single book you own/will buy Richard Dawkins. I have all of his books except The Ancestor's Tale, which I've heard is his best so I plan on making that my next purchase.
8. The worst book you've ever read Twilight, although to be fair, I only read half of it, and I generally always finish books, so that's saying something. It's so deeply terrible in so many ways that I'm almost in awe of it. It's not only bad, but rage-inducing bad. I hate it so much that I've kind of come around to perversely enjoying it, because I'm like that. And I'm pleased to report that the movie looks terrible too.
9. A book you dislike that lots of other people you know like Ummm, I don't know? My mom enjoys mysteries and I've never really cared for those, and my husband really likes tie-in novels and fantasy authors like Robert Jordan, which I also don't care for.
10. The most difficult book you've ever read Darwin's Dangerous Idea, by Daniel Dennett. That book nearly ended me. It took me four months to read, which is just ridiculous. It's science AND philosophy, two subjects that I really struggle with. It was totally worth the effort, although I probably only absorbed a fraction of what he was talking about. I've been reading a lot of pop science books, because I've been woefully negligent of my science education and I'd like to change that.
11. Tell me what kind of books your mom reads/read Like I said earlier, lots and lots of mysteries. But nothing too violent, because that really upsets her. She likes books with quirky characters and clever twists - all murders must be off-screen. I've tried to get into mysteries, but for some reason, they've never really grabbed me.
12. What have you read so far this year? Oh jeez. A lot. Some of them are rereads. Ummm - okay, The Blind Watchmaker, The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion, A Devil's Chaplain, River Out of Eden (all Dawkins), Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science (Mary Roach, an extremely funny science writer), Speak, Memory (Nabokov's autobiography), Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women (Elizabeth Wurtzel, of Prozac Nation fame - she's obnoxious, but the book did have some interesting things to say), Listening to Prozac (by Peter Kramer - a really interesting look about what psychiatric drugs tell us about identity), The Zombie Survival Guide (Max Brooks - I love zombies), The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (AJ Jacobs - funny but at the same time very respectful with some interesting things to say about religion that I hadn't ever considered before), Everything Bad is Good For You (Steven Johnson - really, REALLY great look at pop culture and why it isn't rotting our brains), The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath - I thought I was going to like this book more than I did. Oh well), The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation (Matt Ridley - really interesting - I love the idea of Game Theory, even though I've accepted the fact that I'll probably never fully Get It. :P), How to Write: Advice and Reflections (Richard Rhodes - absolutely beautiful book that's as much about life as it is about writing)
...I think a few more that I'm forgetting.
13. What are you reading now? I've recently discovered my local library, and it is the nicest public library I've ever been to. It probably has something to do with the fact that I now live in a college town. The non-fiction section is particularly impressive, since most of the public libraries I've been to had mostly self-help books and the like. So right now I'm working on: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Andrew Soloman - I read this book in 2002 when I was going through a hard patch and it saved my life. I unfortunately leant it to somebody and never got it back, so I'm looking forward to rereading now that I'm at a different stage in my life); a book of H.P. Lovecraft stories (I've always wanted to read him, and I'm finding him a bit difficult! I've read "The Whisperer in Darkness" and "The Call of Cthulhu" so far), Gardening 1-2-3 (research for a Heroes fic I'm writing, although I'm also considering starting to grow some flowers on my patio); Virus Hunters of the CDC (also fic research); and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson - I read this years ago and love it to pieces, so I picked it up for a reread. "We can't stop here - this is bat country!" :D)
14. What are you reading next? (list! list! You know you want to) Oh jeez, well - I'd like to get a hold of I Am Legend, since I recently saw the Will Smith movie and loved it. I also want to read Dawkin's The Ancestor's Tale, like I mentioned earlier. My dad is reading Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia and I LOVE Oliver Sacks, so I'm itching to get my hands on that. I want to start reading Carl Sagan again - I read some of his stuff in high school and loved it, and I'm on a pop science kick right now (any recs for pop science authors?)