Book Meme

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:29 AM

The hat tip goes to WTM.

One book that changed my life: Hamlet seems like a good choice, although I could pick many, such as Economics in One Lesson, that also race to my mind. Hamlet, however, was my introduction to Shakespeare and as such one of the key books that firmly entrenched me in literature. Literature without Shakespeare… well, μη γινοιτο! May it never be!

One book that you have read more than once: Hmm… what shall I pick? Let's go with Mere Christianity and leave it at that, eh? Yeah, that sounds good, it is a book worthy of rereading and yet not an entirely obvious choice.

One book you would want on a desert island: WTM was smart in picking a whole series, I guess I should too. Well, how long am I going to be there? Something like his pick of Harry Potter might be good — I've been wanting to find time to read that. But, if I wanted to contemplate something for a long time, years even, perhaps Church Dogmatics, so I could finally master it. Ha!

Two books that made you laugh: The Collect'd Writing of St. Hereticus by Robert McAfee Brown and I Wonder What Noah Did with the Woodpeckers by Tim Wildmon.

One book that made you cry: Thr3e by Ted Dekker and Rumors of Another World by Philip Yancey. Perhaps not so much the books themselves, but the nerves they hit.

One book you wish you'd written: The Oresteia. If I could write like Aeschylus, I'd be happy. Alternately, let's return to Hamlet. Or, the Wasteland (Eliot). Or — why not go big? — how about Summa Theologica or Church Dogmatics? :)

One book you wish had never been written: I'll echo WTM and his friend who tagged him. Mein Kampf.

Two books you are currently reading: Just two? I'm in seminary for crying out loud! Ok, I'll mention two I'm reading for fun. The Historian, a delightfully exciting novel about Vlad Ţepeş (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a. Dracula) that my cousin gave me for Christmas and the Merry Wives of Windsor, the return of the ever wondrous villain

One book you've been meaning to read: This World is Not My Home by Dr. Michael Williams. Dr. Williams told me about this book of his on the development of Dispensationalism last semester and my mother bought it for me for Christmas.

Tag five people: Ed, Eduardo, Mark, Christopher, Mike.

Also Filed Under: Home: Miscellaneous: Book Meme

Re: Book Meme
In order: Peck's "Road Less Traveled" "Old Testament Survey" Norton's Anthology of English Literature "Screwtape Letters" & "Ringworld" "Byzantium" "Absolute BSD" -- wish I understood it that well Anything Harry Potter "Bondage of the Will" & "Nine Marks" I'd like to finish Calvin's Institutes
Posted by Ed Hurst - Feb 03, 2008 | 1:46 PM

Re: Book Meme
One book that changed my life: Sorry but none have. I'm not being a jerk or anything but I have yet to read a book that did that. I've read many books that I wish I had that time back but never life changing type stuff. One book that you have read more than once: HitchHikers Guide To the Galaxy or the Edgar Allen Poe collection. One book you would want on a desert island: How to survive on a Desert Island. Two books that made you laugh: Hitchhikers Guide and maybe The Dilbert Principle or something from Calvin and Hobbes. One book that made you cry: None. One book you wish you'd written: The Return of the King. So I could give it a proper ending that couldn't be seen coming from a mile away. One book you wish had never been written: Romeo and Juliet. I had to read that thing 3 times. Once in grammer school, once in high school and finally, in college. I absolutely hate being asked to critique (give ones opinion) on any book only to be told I'm wrong. For some reason every english teacher I have had doesn't want you to give your opinion but repeat theirs back. After being beaten down twice I gave the college prof the high school teachers opinion and was nailed once again. I hear my students say it all the time to me, "what good is learning about XXXXXX if I'm never going to use it?" Sorry but I have yet to need Shakespeare in anything I have done in my life. As for Mein Kampf, if no one had read it then it wouldn't be an issue. It was written by a mad man responsible for the deaths of millions, why would you read it in the first place? If any books needed burning, that would be the first to go. Two books you are currently reading: Rereading for my school website - Understanding (I think) Coldfusion by Ben Forta and a greatest hits of sorts for H.P. Lovecraft. One book you've been meaning to read: Finish the Dark Tower series from Stephen King since I began reading the series nearly 15 years ago.
Posted by Anonymous - Feb 03, 2008 | 8:10 PM

Re: Book Meme
Ed: you put me to shame -- why didn't I mention Norton for my Desert Island book? :( That's such a wise and wonderful choice. Mark (I think, no name was on the comment): Shakespeare may not have a utilitarian purpose, but what of expanding the mind to see the beauty and richness of the human experience? Actually, I have often turned to Shakespeare -- Hamlet, Lear, Henry IV, and others -- when life mimics Shakespeare (or, perhaps, the other way around) and found it a great comfort. I've never read an author who so often described life as it is with such sweeping beauty. Romeo and Juliet has its place, but it'd not be my favorite choice if I were teaching the Bard. Incidentally, it sounds like you had bad lit teachers.
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Feb 04, 2008 | 6:19 AM

Re: Book Meme
First, Doh! on the no name thing. My bad. Now for your comments: But what of expanding the mind to see the beauty and richness of the human experience? Yes but doesn't each person experience each event in their own unique way? It may be interesting to see their point of view but it never changes me in any way. What is beauty to some may be ugly to others so who is to say who is right? And more importantly why waste time debating it. As for your lit teacher comment, and maybe it relates to me as an Engineering type but I've yet to talk to any Lit teachers who don't have their heads in the opinion clouds. They live in a world where debate is based upon opinion and relationships to other opinions in attempt to make their point. By contrast I deal in facts with solid and concrete evidence. As alwasys, if you like it, cool. But please don't make me read it ever again. :razz:
Posted by Mark - Feb 05, 2008 | 1:36 AM

Re: Book Meme
The humanities are much more subjective, you're right. That drives you modern-objective fact guys crazy. It's fun messing with your minds. :P I think the thing with Lit is in many ways literature is a mirror to ourselves; it shows either the good or bad of us. That's part of the idea, but it also means I might experience _Hamlet_ much differently than you. Same is true if you watch a movie, though, right?
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Feb 07, 2008 | 6:15 AM

Re: Book Meme
One book that changed my life: Please Understand Me - Kiersey. Practically all my ministry experience and half my work experience revolved around organizational behavior and demographics. Many more books followed, but this book was a turning point. One book that you have read more than once: Any org behavior book - particularly Strauss and Howe - Generations. One book you would want on a desert island: Harry Potter Series. Two books that made you laugh: Any Dilbert book. Any book about the tales of ITT in the sixties and seventies. Admittedly, an immoral company, but some episodes were funny. One book that made you cry: Can't think of one. One book you wish you'd written: Something connecting the role of the suburbs; with the development of creativity and spirituality to the core city. And the place public transit has in this paradigm. Hopefully, I'll get to write this? One book you wish had never been written: Mein Kampf is mentioned, but I think the racial and ethnic beliefs of the day would have produced it, by another author, had there been no Hitler. Any nascent democracy at the 50 year point produces stuff like this. I think there are a few well-intentioned books that have produced unfortunate extrapolations - Spock's Baby and Child Care gave us a generation of slackers and throw-away kids. Mere Christianity gave us cheap grace and easy believism. Two books you are currently reading: A history of the Knights Templar, and a study guide to the Professional Engineer Test. ****** I go along with the views of literature teachers, with respect to opinions. I come from an engineering background, and my school had a humanities department that was the "red-headed stepchild". My lit professors were burnt-out (and some had never been "lit") and had little relevance to the whole zen, or gestalt, of liberal arts. They tossed out their opinions, had lots of supporting references, but had no solid ability to dissect opposing views. I think good liberal arts education requires three things. One is a formative pathway, where students progress along a learning/mentoring/coaching process in parallel with reading grat literature. I'm not sure if this can be done in 4 years - given the time needed to read the books. But, an "academic alumni" connection after college can replicate this. The second is that liberal arts has to relate to a higher calling - a "God", a moral ethic, a standard of values. In my day, liberal arts got hung up on one issue - Vietnam - that it lost any broad relevance. Nowadays, single issue politics can sink liberal arts in a number of areas. The third is intelligence. There is a basic minimum level of intelligence needed to approach liberal arts, literature, etc. A brain has to be able to do the mental equivalent of walk and chew gum at the same time. A mental level of 1100-1200 (SAT score) seems to be the minimum necessary. Fortunately, SAT scores measure "the ability for an eighteen year old to do college". People get older and smarter. The frontal lobe fully forms at 25. I think a lot of the non-selective liberal arts schools would be better off marketing themselves to 20 to 25 year olds. By then, they would be far better prepared for the complex thinking needed in liberal arts.
Posted by Mike O - Feb 09, 2008 | 4:25 PM

Re: Book Meme
Mike, interesting comments. I'd be interested in an elaboration on _Mere Christianity_ -- I've never heard that associated with cheap grace. How so, out of curiosity? Good points on the liberal arts. I think in general the liberal arts are suffering from the multi-century attack of "the useful education." People are so convinced that the liberal arts aren't useful that a lot of the departments are limping along, and, probably, are less useful because of that. I like you suggestions on how to improve them.
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Feb 10, 2008 | 5:24 AM

Please enter your comment entry below. Press 'Preview' to see how it will look.

Sign In to Your Account
:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :arrow: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :idea: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: :!: :?: