Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Post About The Books, And Only One Is Funny

Jonathan Potter at Korrektiv tagged me (augh!). Go and read his lovely response to this meme.

When I am not reporting the news as it should be in a just and ironic world, I am teaching...and have been in school as a student or teacher since the age of 5...so you may surmise I love books. And I do. But I will try to keep my answers to one or two books.

p.s. I'm an adult, so these are adult books...that is, there are some R rated moments in many of these. So if you go and read them, and that offends you, you're forewarned.

p.p.s. Very tempting to answer "the Bible" (which has its share of R-rated moments) for all of them except "wish it hadn't been written"...although there are some lines....

One (or two or three) book(s) that changed your life:
1. The Sickness Unto Death, Soren Kierkegaard, which I read over and over and over after graduating from college and cleaning hotel rooms before taking the grad school plunge into insanity. It inoculated me from grad school theology craziness (mostly).
2. To Know As We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education, Parker Palmer, which explores what it means to create a community in obedience to Truth in the classroom. It was practically a devotional for me for many years.
3. Marie Howe, The Good Thief: Poems. (Swoon.) One of the best (and there are many):

Part of Eve's Discussion

It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand,
and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still and
stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when a hundred
starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop, very much
like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you your car
could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like the moment just
before you forgot what it was you were about to say, it was like that,
and after that, it was still like that, only all the time.

One book you've read more than once: Obviously, the three above. Also St. Augustine's Confessions: for class, but I am transported every time. Did anyone ever describe adolescence with better poetry?

One book you'd want on a desert island
: If the Bible is a gimme, I'd say the Liturgy of the Hours.

One book that made you laugh
: This is hard, actually. OK, how about an essay? The essay "Jesus Shaves" by David Sedaris made me laugh until I cried. The story is about ex-pats trying to learn French with a sadistic "French only in the classroom" teacher in Paris, and the lesson is going fairly well until...:

The Italian nanny was attempting to answer the question when
the Moroccan student interrupted, shouting, "Excuse me, but what's an Easter?"
...
The teacher then called upon the rest of us to explain.

The Poles led the charge to the best of their ability. "It is," said one, "a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and...oh, shit."

She faltered, and her fellow countryman came to her aid.

"He call his self Jesus, and then he be die one day on two . . . morsels of . . . lumber."

The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.

"He die one day, and then he go above of my head to live with your father."

"He weared the long hair, and after he died, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples."

"He nice, the Jesus."

"He make the good things, and on the Easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today."

Part of the problem had to do with grammar. Simple nouns such as cross and resurrection were beyond our grasp, let alone such complicated reflexive phrases as "To give of yourself your only begotten son." Faced with the challenge of explaining the cornerstone of Christianity, we did what any self-respecting group of people might do. We talked about food instead.
One book that made you cry: The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingslover. Honestly, there was a lot I did not like about the book, but there is a place where a primary character dies which is one of the most shocking and haunting pieces I have ever read. If you've read it, you know exactly what I am talking about.

One book that you wish had been written
: My husband's great American novel. But there is still time, I hope.

One book that you wish had not been written
: Mein Kampf.

One (two) book(s) you're currently reading
: Ron Rolheiser's Against an Infinite Horizon, and for the second time. I think he is one of the best spiritual writer in the English language in our day. And a novel by Minnie Lamberth (?), Life With Strings Attached, which won the Paraclete Press new author in religion and literature award.

One book you've been meaning to read
: Habakkuk.

Hmmm...I tag
Stella Borealis.
Update: Ray of Stella Borealis told me that he has done this already (mea culpa!). So I tag Ask Sr. Mary Martha, who you purveyors of Catholic-based humor should be reading anyway. She's a way fun faux nun.

--I.C.

3 comments:

Ray from MN said...

I got tagged a few weeks ago, I.C. (You don't read my stuff religiously)?

Here it was:

Friday, August 04, 2006
I've been tagged for the book meme! "What's a meme?" you ask. Beat's me! But you know one when you see one.
.
Google tells me that "Memes are contagious ideas, all competing for a share of our mind in a kind of Darwinian selection. As memes evolve, they become better and better at distracting and diverting us from whatever we'd really like to be doing with our lives. They are a kind of Drug of the Mind. Confused? Blame it on memes."

I'd say that they are a common framework where folks get to fill in the blanks pertinent to their own life. And then they get to pass it on for others to participate. An Internet chain letter of a sort, but the juicy details don't get passed on. Only the framework.

Anyhow, Adoro tagged me:

1. One book that changed your life:
“Theology and Sanity” by F.J. Sheed. I bought the book in 1964 at a time when I wasn’t going to Church but had not really abandoned my faith. I figured I’d come back some day. It was recommended to me by a friend who was in the Graduate School of Theology at Marquette University; He later got his PhD from Berkeley and now is a Professor of Theology.

I started the book but couldn’t get beyond the first chapter. But I kept it with me. I even took it to Europe when I went there in the Army, didn’t read it there, brought it back home in 1968, kept it, still not read, dabbled a lot in the 70s in the New Age movement, finally, in September of 1981, upon the completion of yet another New Agey thing, picked the book up at about 3:00 one morning and pretty much read it from cover to cover within that day. Within two weeks I had gone to Confession and Communion and had begun my reversion to God’s Church.

2. One book that you've read more than once:
“War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy. The first time, in high school, just to say I did it because it was so long; then two more times because I enjoyed it; I’m a history nut. I just might pick it up again one of these days.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
”How to Swim a Really Long Way” by Johnny Weissmuller

4. One book that made you laugh:
Anything by P.G. Wodehouse; I’ve been searching for a bottle of “Buck-U-Uppo” for over twenty years now. If anybody knows where I can get some, I’d sure be appreciative. His flair for the language can make me stop and read a sentence or phrase many times, savoring it, before continuing his light-hearted tales.

5. One book that made you cry:
”Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt. I’m half Irish from County Kerry near Limerick where the book took place and even though it was 50 years after the time when my ancestors left for America, the sadness of their poverty stricken life in Ireland really hit me hard. And Ireland was that way pretty much until these past 20 years. I visited relatives there in 1967, and you could tell that they were still living a hardscrabble existence. Unfortunately, now that they have a little money, the first thing that they seem to be changing is their faith.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past 30 years researching my family history. I’ve enjoyed the research as I’m a history nut, as I’ve mentioned. But it would have been neat if someone had written a great novel with lots of details on what it was like to be an Irish Catholic in Negaunee, MI, or a Polish Catholic in Duluth in the period between 1870-1900.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” (“Capital”), the economic foundation of the communist movement and most of the misery of the 20th century.

8. One book you're currently reading:
”The New Anti-Catholicism”, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, by Philip Jenkins. Very depressing reading.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
Something by G.K. Chesterton. I went to the 25th Festivities of the American Chesterton Society over at St Thomas in June and really got hooked and want to be better prepared for next year’s party. I know I read some Father Brown when I was in high school. But I don’t know what to start with now. I’ve been hoping to find an anthology that could expose me to many of his works. And being a blogger, time is at a premium because most of my life is spent with my nose about a foot from the 17” screen.

10. Book that you bought but haven't read:
”Catechism of the Catholic Church.” I’ve had it since it first came out in 1994 and I’ve got it loaded with post-it tabs marking interesting sections, but I’ve read maybe only a couple dozen short articles. I guess I’ll get the Compendium and read that first, then maybe try and tackle the full catechism. And I won a city-wide catechism contest in Duluth when I was about 13. My teachers would be ashamed of me now.

I'm going to tag Terry, the "Doppel-Blogger at Abbey-Roads and Rome-ing Catholics and Georgette at the Chronicle of a Meandering Traveller.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Oops, sorry! I think I was the last one tagged--this has been around for a while--and I was afraid of this!

Thanks for the refresher though!

RobK said...

Well, here is another shot. I have been lurking around your blog, as I love the wit. Soooo, I went ahead and memed you. You can find it at this link. I hope you enjoy it. I'll be looking forward to your answers.