Via The Quick and the Ed and Matthew Yglesias: The book meme.
Well, let’s see…
1. One book that’s changed your life
In a strictly material sense – Giovanni Sartori: Parties and Party Systems, vol. 1. I decided to write my masters thesis as a test of Sartori’s theory about party system mechanics on the Danish case. The rest, as they say, is history.
In a spiritual sense – I’m afraid that I can’t point to any single volume with that effect. But I’m pretty sure that having access to the local library in Gladsaxe has had quite an impact.
2. One book that you have read more than once
James Joyce: Ulysses. Three times, actually.
The trick is: Don’t try to analyse it. Go with the flow and enjoy Joyce’s writing while you’re doing it.
3. One book you would want on a desert island.
I haven’t read Ulysses for some time. Maybe I should head for a desert island armed with Joyce? Or perhaps some kind of survival guide will be more appropriate. The Junior Woodchucks Guidebook?
4. One book that made you cry.
Not cry in the narrow sense but – Primo Levi: Hvis dette er et menneske (If this is a man). As a matter of fact, anything by Primo Levi will do the trick.
Note to aspiring authors, screen-play writers and the like: When you are dealing whith human tragedy, less is more if you are looking for emotional impact. Levi knew that. Unfortunately it didn’t save his life.
5. One book that made you laugh.
Thomas Bernhard: Alte Meister (Old Masters). Life is misery and pain. And misery and pain can be outrageously funny when it is decribed by an Austrian author. What is the deal with those Austrians?
6. One book you wish had been written.
I think that a serious scholarly book analysing the causes behind the effective breakdown of the U.S. Constitution is overdue. We desperately need to update our knowledge in this field.
7. One book you wish had never been written.
Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code. Not because of the silly conspiracy theories but because I read the first chapter and decided that the writing was so bad that continuing would be a complete waste of time, considering that the book is an entertainment. I’m sure there are a number of websites out there that can provide you with better examples of sado-masochistic porn involving albinos. Try Google.
8. One book you are currently reading.
For fun – Paul Auster: The Brooklyn Follies. So pretentiously liberal-intellectual. I know.
For work – Fanie Cloete et al: Improving Public Policy.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read.
Sigh. Do we have to mention this?
If you insist – Franz Kafka: The Castle. I have read The Process and Amerika and a number of his short stories, though.