Friday, April 20, 2007
The challenge of finding five books that give a good representation of what I'm all about was more difficult than the actual reading challenge could ever be.
I've spent the last 10 or 11 days searching through my stacks and my lists and my memory to see if I could find the five books that shaped the person I am today, and I think today I finally hit upon them.
1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Up until I read this I'd been hooked on trashy romance novels almost exclusively. Once I'd finished this one, I realized there was a world of important, literary fiction that I was missing out on. It changed me as a reader, and set my feet on the right path.
2. Raptor Red by Robert Baaker. I love dinosaurs. I'm utterly fascinated with them and it is my dream to someday go on a dig. This novel was written by one of the greatest paleontologists around and he covers the life of the Utahraptor with a literary flair and a scientific eye.
3. Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. I read this in high school and it confirmed my belief in pacifism. Greatest anti-war novel ever written. It will rip your heart out and hang you up to dry.
4. Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan (NF) Basically Sagan presents the scientific reasons why people believe in things like UFO's, the face on Mars, ghosts and other superstitions. It made me understand why it is vitally important that the average person have at least a rudimentary understanding of science.
5. A Man Without a Country-Kurt Vonnegut (NF) The late, great Mr Vonnegut had a dark, sardonic view on life in these times and his take on politics, religion and the need to be kind to our fellow man mirrors mine exactly. Read it and you are pretty much reading my thoughts, too. He was better with words than I am.
Now, I have to figure out which books from everyone else's lists I would like to read. There are some interesting choices out there so far.