Trousered Ape
An exercise in presumption.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Tagged by Peony Moss, I bestir myself to actually post something:

The "One Book Meme":

1. One book that changed your life: The Screwtape Letters (C. S. Lewis). I had read it once when I was a boy, without apparent effect. As I grew older, I became a sort of outward Catholic - never missed Mass, always received Communion, but never prayed or went to Confession, or let my belief (what was left of it - thanks be to God, there was always at least a trace there) affect my actions. When I was 18 and home from college for Christmas break, I idly picked up a copy at the library. By the time I finished it, I knew where I was, where I was headed, and what I had to do about it. I had been given back my faith. I have tried - always imperfectly, often reluctantly, sometimes rebelliously - to live it ever since.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Just one?? If a book is worth reading once, it's worth re-reading indefinitely. To pick one completely at random: Jack Vance's Araminta Station.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: From other instances of this meme I see that the Bible is a given; I also saw, somewhere - I forget where - that someone beat me to Chesterton's classic choice: Thompson's Guide to Practical Shipbuilding. Assuming that what we have here is a sort of Devil's Island from which escape is forbidden, I would go for the Encyclopedia Britannica.

4. One book that made you laugh: The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, by Will Cuppy.

5. One book that made you cry: I don't cry easily, but what does set me off is what J. R. R. Tolkien called the "eucatastrophe", the sudden breaking of the clouds or lifting of oppression. The moment in The Return of the King, as Faramir and Eowyn are together in the Houses of Healing, when the Shadow rises up enormously, and then dissolves, and the Eagle comes proclaiming the final defeat of Sauron, is one such.

6. One book that you wish had been written: What Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin were doing between 1804 (H.M.S. Surprise, #3 in the saga) and 1810 (The Mauritius Command, #4). A mysterious gap, and, I think, the primary reason (despite O'Brian's lame attempt to blame the Peace of Amiens) that 1813 lasted for 5 or 6 years later in the series.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: For a combination of solo global impact coupled with deliberate malice, I can't offhand think of anything worse than The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

8. One book you're currently reading: Alas, I am showing an increasing tendency to start a new book before finishing the previous one; so I am currently reading six:

Purgatory by Dante Alighieri (Dorothy Sayers's translation);
Coroner's Pidgin by Margery Allingham (incidentally, how did she get her reputation?);
A History of Private Life, Volume I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium, ed. Philippe Aries and Georges Duby (occasionally interesting, but looks at Christianity entirely from the outside and so gets it quite wrong);
The Bad Popes by E. R. Chamberlin (puts the Scandal in perspective);
The African Queen by C. S. Forester (the movie didn't quite capture the book, but then Bogart and Hepburn pretty much played themselves);
The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge (don't ask me why - I don't know; sort of Angela Thirkell sugar-coated and without snap, crackle, or pop).

9. One book you've been meaning to read: Someday I'd like to get my hands on another copy of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy. Started it ages ago and never finished it.

10. [Not on the original list, but added by dear Mr Luse] One book you should read: (Not quite clear if this means a book I should read, or a book one should read, that I recommend) I should read the Bible more.

I will not tag anyone, since by now everyone in the known universe has been tagged.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Please pray for the souls in Purgatory

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

New address bobtheape88...at...gmail...dot...com

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