Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tonga

Friday, April 08, 2005

Book games

Philocrites invited me to play this game of self-disclosure, but I think that it is as much a game of self-editing. How to choose, how to choose…

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary II. I get to know the language and to wallow in its history. I love the OED for the evolution of ideas and words, for intercultural transactions, and an almost familial connection with the contributor scholars and the sources cited. Of course, committing the COED II to memory would be daunting, to say the least, but at least I wouldn’t have to try to read that micro-tiny print.

I have had the older (two-volume) COED for a long time, and grew up with the multi-volume non-compact set (which I inherited from my grandfather). The OED carries meanings of home and family connectedness as well as its value as a printed resource.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I am absolutely promiscuous when it comes to crushes on fictional characters.

The last book you bought was:

I just bought three new books a couple of days ago: Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; and Physician-Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care and Patient Choice.

The last book you read was:

Abel's Proof : An Essay on the Sources and Meaning of Mathematical Unsolvability, by Peter Pesic. Personalities, tragedy and loss, and epistemological mathematics. Fabulous book!

What are you currently reading?

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, by Harold McGee. The perfect head-tripper’s food book, and a lot of fun.

Five books you would take to a desert island:

1. Great Short Works of Herman Melville (Perennial Classics)—which has all of Melville’s short stories and three novellas, including Billy Budd. I love Melville; Billy Budd saved my life in the 1960s.
2. Sir Isaiah Berlin, The Proper Study of Mankind.
3. Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws. Law and government as both structural and procedural responses to power.
4. Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose (Library of America).
5. The Most of S. J. Perelman.

Hmmmm… my book selections almost all indicate both word greed and ADHD.

Who are you going to pass the baton to (three persons), and why?

1. Elayne Riggs (Pen-Elayne on the Web), because I am fascinated by her community-building abilities and her pragmatism;

2. Daniel Geffen at The Bonassus, because he tempers his impressive erudition with whimsy, and writes thoughtfully about a spectrum of interests; and

3. P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula , because of his humor, his skill at cutting away sham, and his passion for his family and his work-- and he has a way to transform his entire blog into pirate mode.