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 whenOne 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.
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 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.