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August 25, 2006



1) Changed my life
"Vagabonding in America" Gave me the courage to buy a bicycle & a one-way ticket to Europe.

2) Read more than once
"A Confederacy of Dunces" Push any person in the right direction, he can be Ignatius.

3) Desert island book
"Labyrinths" (Borges) I discover something new every time I open this book.

4) Made me laugh
"Noises Off" Read this in bed with your Juilliard-trained spouse, you'll bust a gut.

5) Made me cry
"Othello" I read this when I was a teenager & had girlfriend issues - I was moved.

6) Wish I had written
"Goedel, Escher, Bach" I want Hofstadter & Stoppard to write together.

7) Wish it had never been written
"The Da Vinci Code" First - title should have been "The Leonardo Code". I'll stop now or else the wife will kick me off the computer.

8) Currently reading
"The Bible"

9) Been meaning to read
"The Art of the Metaobject Protocol" There is something magic in there, maybe someday I will understand it.

10) Makes me dream the most
I don't remember my dreams.


1) Changed my life
"To Kill A Mockingbird" (Harper Lee)

2) Read more than once
"American Tabloid" (James Ellroy)

3) Desert island book
"The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook" (Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht) -- (BUT I sure hope the Dude on the TV series "Survivor Man" comes out with one, I feel this immense need to jot down important tips when I watch...)

4) Made me laugh
"We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive" (Laurie Nota)

5) Made me cry
"Sounder" (William H. Armstrong)

6) Wish I had written
"Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters" (Mark Dunn)

7) Wish it had never been written
Gee, there are plenty I didn't love, can't think of one I wish weren't written though. How about "Wish I never read...."

8) Currently reading
"Taken Care Of, The Autobiography of Edith Sitwell" (Edith Sitwell)

9) Been meaning to read
"Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy" (Peter Schweizer)

10) Makes me dream the most
"Cheri and the Last of Cheri" (Colette)


and TM

"Movies" would be fun too!

JM Hanes

1) Changed my life?
Oliver Wiswell (an American loyalist Forrest Gumps his way through the Revolution) by Kenneth Roberts . Read it at an impressionable age and wondered, to my surprised dismay, whether I'd have really joined the rebels or hauled ass to Nova Scotia. Yikes! A salutory cautionary tale about examing one's own assumptions.

2) Read more than once?
If digging through Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions for quotes counts ("...no paradigm ever solves all the problems it defines..."), I suppose I've read it multiple times.

3) Desert island book?
Groan. OK, if it was good enough for the Emperor on St. Helena, then it should be good enough for me. Not that I'm "excessively fond" of cards -- which apparently don't help much with the brooding. Then again, Napoleon managed to make do, even though he thought there was room for improvment himself.

4) Made me laugh?
The Ginger Man, J. P. Donleavy. Laughed again at this remark in a review I ran across: "It's hero, Sebastian Dangerfield, is a rascal, true enough, but he is an empty rascal, and he gets progressively emptier, until he becomes just a sort of hole in the story."

5) Made me cry?
I'll assume there's no penalty for cheating; the movie version of Sophie's Choice just ripped my heart out.

6) Wish had been written:
The Curious Death of God Poseidon: A Murder Mystery In Verse, by JM Hanes.

7) Wish had never been written?
My Pet Goat

8) Currently reading?
Currently typing.

9) Been meaning to read?
All the books I've bought as a vote of support for controversial authors.

10) Makes me dream the most?
Geez, who needs books for that? Reading is an antidote! I do have a weakness for profusely illustrated antiquarian books on landscape architecture though...

Frankly, I'm beginning to question the utility of these questions -- and the timing, of course.

JM Hanes

On the off chance that there is a penalty for cheating, here's a legit entry for #5: John Gregory Brown's stunning first novel, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery.


10) What makes a reading dream?

Soylent Red


1) Changed my life
The Bible

2) Read more than once
To Kill A Mockingbird

3) Desert island book
The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works

4) Made me laugh
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

5) Made me cry
The Kite Runner

6) Wish I had written
Too many to name. Adventures of Tom Sawyer comes to mind.

7) Wish it had never been written
The Koran or anything by James Joyce.

8) Currently reading
Reading Lolita in Tehran

9) Been meaning to read
The Devil in the White City

10) Makes me dream the most
The Places in Between

Other Tom

I apologize to those who have tried to teach me how to italicize stuff--I'm just too computer-stupid. Anyway, here goes:

1. Changed my life: A Mencken Chrestomathy

2. Read more than once: Huckleberry Finn (about five times as a kid)

3. Desert island: War and Peace

4. Made me laugh: Thank You for Smoking

5. Made me cry: For Whom the Bell Tolls (hell, I was fifteen)

6. Wish I had written: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

7. Wish it had never been written: Hard to top The DaVinci Code

8. Currently reading: Executive Power, by Vince Flynn (look, it’s fun)

9. Been meaning to read: Clash of Civilizations

10. Makes me dream the most: The Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels


1.Changed My Life: Tess of the D'Uberville's
turned me on to books by Thomas Hardy.
Read more than once: Anne of Green Gables.
3.DesertIsland: Harry Potter series of Books
4.Made Me Laugh:
Stephanie Plum mystery novels 1-12 by Janet Evanovich.
5.Made me cry: An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6. Wish I had written:
Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn or Gone With the Wind.
7.Wish it had never been written-All books can teach you something or reveal some truth.
8.Currently reading "-Coming Out " by Danielle Steel.
9 Been meaning to read: Ann Coulter's newest book.
10.Makes me dream the most;Horatio Hornblower series by Robert Lewis Stevenson or Any book by Charles Dickens like "Bleak House or " Great Expectations"

Tom Maguire

7) Wish had never been written?
My Pet Goat

LOL. Pedantics will remind us that the actual title was "The Pet Goat".

Point 6, the Poseidon adventure, sounded fasciating as well.

And movies as a topic is a great idea (first I have to answer this one...)


1. Changed my life: Beyond Good and Evil, FW Nietzsche

2. Read more than once: The Civil War Diary of Sarah Morgan, edited by Charles East

3. Desert island: The Bible

4. Made me laugh: Love from Nancy, the letters of Nancy Mitford, edited by Charlotte Mosley

5. Made me cry: Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen

6. Wish I had written: The Apprentice Mage & The Arch-Poet, 2 vol. biography of WB Yeats, RF Foster

7. Wish it had never been written: The History of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky

8. Currently reading: The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography of Edmund Burke, Conor Cruise O'Brien

9. Been meaning to read: Coole, Augusta Gregory (only $419.87 at Biblion, but what the heck!)

10. Makes me dream the most: The Art of Florence, 2 vols. Andres, Hunisak & Turner

Rick Ballard

1. One book that changed your life?

Se non ora, quando. One of Primo Levy’s expositions on life in a concentration camp. After reqadind it, “Never again” became a commitment rather than a catch phrase.

2. One book you're read more than once?

Michael Oakeshott’s Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

3. One book you'd want on a desert island?

Faulkner’s Snopes trilogy – I’d like to trace out the familial relationship between Bessie Lillian Gordy and Virginia Cassidy.

4. One book that made you laugh?

Any of Guareschi’s Don Camillo series can lways raise a chuckle, as can any of George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman series.

5. One book that made you cry?

Se questo è un uomo – Levy again, an account of his time in Auschwitz.

6. One book you wish had been written.

Historicism – the dying gasp

7. One book you wish had never been written.

Too hard to choose.

8. One book you are currently reading?

Burke’s A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

9. One book you've been meaning to read?

VDH’s The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece

10. What book made you dream the most?

Probably A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


A wonderful quote to ponder wrt this thread:

"There is no accident in our choice of reading. All our sources are related."

Francois Mauriac


--A wonderful quote to ponder wrt this thread:---


I had to giggle at Dame Edith Sitwell's Perface --

"...During the writing of certain chapters of this book, I realised that the public would believe anything -- -----

---so long as it is not founded on truth"

hmmm. Funny. I thought of Joe Wilson there.


New column for you TM


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