Ben Avuyah

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Meme a little Meme

Well, I have been tagged by the Jewish Atheist on a Book Meme so here goes.

The book that changed my life was “Who wrote the bible”, I know its cliché. But what can I do…it’s true. I read it on the way to an interview, and became so engrossed in it I stayed up all night reading. It’s not that I necessarily immediately believed it to be true. In fact I spent a great deal of time afterward attempting to verify the things Freidman said; from attempting to authenticate the writings of Isaac Ibn Yeshush, to looking to the text for correlation to his “two priesthood” hypothesis. In most instances I found the evidence speculative and lacking…but that wasn’t the point. The point is I turned the same critical faculty I used in every day life, for the very first time, towards an analysis of religion. In particular my religion…and the whole thing just fell apart.

I’ve read a bunch of books more than once, my favorite are short story series by Stephen King, including Night Shift, and another that slips my mind at the moment. I have also read several Asimov books more than once, his short story collective, "I robot", is a favorite also.

The book I would like on a desert island would probably be a Shakespeare anthology. I have very poor exposure to his work, but I’ve heard he covered just about every topic. If I had unlimited time to spend on fiction I’d probably give him a whirl, but I be tempted to just tote a whole truckload of physics or astronomy books along, assuming infinite time and coconuts, and try to corner off another discipline.

A book that made me laugh out loud most recently was Shalom Auslander’s "Beware of God", where he describes a hapless modern day prophet ascending on Home depot to accrue the necessities of altar and sacrifice…brilliant.

A book that made me want to cry? Its title is lost to the ages. I read it in grade school, read it as late as I could keep my little eyes opened, ignoring the studying I needed to do for the test the next day. I actually remember making the decision of wanting to read rather than study. Even though my fear of doing badly was strong. The subject matter was that of a boy and a girl falling in love in ancient times, and of the boy rescuing the girl. I can’t remember what made it so sad, but my eyes were brimming over…

The book I wish I had written is “the memoirs of the yeshiva misfit”, who knows….some day….

There are no books I wish had never been written. Suppression of ideas leads nowhere. Humanity only merits escape from bad ideas through maturity and critical thinking.

I am currently reading no books, as I have a stack of medical journals to catch up on that takes precedence.

I mean to read…well it depends on how much caffeine is in my blood…at times I mean to read the library, I’ll flutter around Barnes and Nobles jumping from the details of the enlightenment, to hard core philosophy, to astronomy with a do it yourself telescope kit, to the latest fiction anthology, but then the buzz wears thin, I leave my books in a stack by the coffee shop and go home for dinner.

Before I tag my five I will invent a new category because I am pretty sure rules are meant for people more dogmatic than myself. My knew category is, “what turned you on to fiction.” That is to say what was the first book that made you realize that there was a romance to be had with words, that pages with black ink markings could thrill you and fulfill you as much as any activity you could conjure.

I have so many I hesitate to start for lack of a finish. I remember Harrison Bergeron from a fourth grade reader. It excited me so much I showed it to my family, there was another great sci-fi in there whose title escapes me. In it a man stranded on a foreign planet evolves slowly into that planets indigenous life form. I read the trilogy of, “Swiftly tilting planet”, in grade school along with all of Edgar Rice Boroughs Tarzan and John Carter of Mars series. I read the Sword of Shannara series, the Xanth series, the girl with silver eyes, and much of Asimov’s work in grade school (when I was still allowed to read fiction).

I can’t really remember a first anymore, but one of those lit a spark of appreciation for what “can be”.

Now my five: I tag XGH, Gil Student, Chardal, Orthoprax, and, what the hell, Lakewood yid.