Thursday, July 23, 2009

I've been tagged with a Book Meme ...

... I thought I had dodged this meme over at VWXYNot? but then DuWayne Brayton sic'd the meme on me anyways. So, here goes:

The Rules: List fifteen books that had the most profound impact on you - ones you can think of in fifteen minutes or less.

1. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander - Ok, so this is really a five book series, but I loved them as a child. These books were my Harry Potter growing up. These books, along with the series I'll mention in number two, were responsible for instilling in me an eagerness to read and a fondness for collecting books.

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle - The first three books of this series were also books I read, multiple times, growing up. By the time the fourth book was published I was already moving up to larger fare (see book #3) so it didn't factor as heavily in instilling in me a desire to read everything I came across.

3. Shogun by James Clavell - Believe it or not, I first read this book back in fifth grade at the age of ten. This book was responsible for giving me the "history bug". I've always been a fan of other cultures and this historical fiction book helped cultivate that. I have yet to get to Japan, but my agency does work over there, so I am hoping that one day I will get there.

4. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe - Read this book in high school for a report I need to do on "frontiersmen". Most of the kids did reports on Lewis and Clark and the like, I decided to steal a line from Star Trek and do my report on space, the final frontier. Got an "A" of course, both for originality and also for writing a damn fine paper. I think I still have that paper around somewhere. It's also the first (and last) time I ever used a typewriter! It planted one of the first early seeds of interest in Astronomy for me, and it's now my #1 hobby.

5. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke - I've got to admit, it took me awhile to get into this novel, but once I did, I was hooked. It got me interested in space and science, which always looked like glamorous places to visit or do. I still dream that one day I can get up into space and do some experiments.

6. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton - I like a number of Michael Crichton's books, but this one and Eater's of the Dead are my favorites. This first turned me on to microbiology as a career possibility, and I actually keep it on my shelf at work along with my other microbiology-related texts and books.

7. The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett - I read this book when I was doing my first M.S. degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences. I think this book played a role in legitimizing my decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Microbiology (actually I was sorta thinking Virology at the time, but that changed soon enough).

8. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis - This book showed me, in a very dark time in my life, that we make our own hell, and then we lock ourselves into it.

9. Dare We Hope "That All Might Be Saved"?: With a Short Discourse on Hell by Hans Urs Von Balthasar - This book helped form my Catholic faith as it is now, and while I was never in danger of becoming a raving fundie this book showed me the dangers of the "We are good and heaven-bound, they are bad and hell-bound." line of thinking and why it needs to be combated vigorously. It is this mentality which lies at the root of a lot of our problems today (IMO).

10. Expectations: Teaching Writing from the Reader's Perspective by George Gopen - This book has changed the way I approach writing manuscripts. I take great joy in getting back reviews (and acceptance letters!) which say that the manuscript was extremely easy to read. This book is part of the reason why.

11. Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean - While the list is in great part, in chronological order, I'm now trying to recollect some additional works to add to the list. This book historical fiction book spurred my early interest (7th or 8th grade) on WWII history. I can't say I'm a huge history buff today, as other things have occupied my time, but if I'm going to grab a history book, I'll go for the WWII stuff first. This book is part of the reason why.

12. Barney Beagle Plays Baseball by Jean Bethell - The first book I ever remember reading. It probably helped set me down the road to literacy.

Others which make the list, but I'm not going to describe in detail:

13. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
14. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
15. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Whew! Done! I tag ... anyone who wants to do this meme.


Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Catch22! I knew I was missing something from my list.

2001 lost me near the end. I read it and re-read it, and then watched the film, and still had no idea what was going on. I couldn't get into The Road at all - perhaps a beach on my honeymoon was not the right time or place for it!

microbiologist xx said...

I love, love, love The Andromeda Strain as any good microbiologist should. I've seen The Jungle on a few other lists and I am thinking it might be time to reread it.