Sunday, August 06, 2006

Book Meme

Well, I'm back from my weekend away up north, where it rained and rained and rained and rained and RAINED! We're talking flooding here, folks. But at least no city, no traffic noise, no sirens, no noisy neighbours. Gotta love it.

On my return, I find I've been tagged by Neonatal Doc. Please do yourself a favour and read his blog, updated regularly with thoughtful musings on life in the NICU.

One book that changed my life: The Dispossessed, Ursula Le Guin. When Brian Aldiss called it "a high water mark of modern science fiction, illuminating its medium" he wasn't kidding. It not only illuminates the SF medium but transcends it. The kind of book I find necessary to have in the house, just to know it's there to be read if I want.
"There wasn't a doctor. You couldn't do anything for him, except just stay there, be with him. He was in shock but mostly conscious. He was in terrible pain, mostly from his hands--I don't think he knew the rest of his body was all charred, he felt it mostly in his hands. You couldn't touch him to comfort him, the skin and flesh would come away at your touch, and he'd scream. You couldn't do anything for him. There was no aid to give. Maybe he knew we were there, I don't know. It didn't do him any good. You couldn't do anything for him. Then I see...I saw that you can't do anything for anybody. We can't save each other. Or ourselves."

"What have you left, then? Isolation and despair! You're denying brotherhood, Shevek!" the tall girl cried.

"No--no, I'm not. I'm trying to say what I think brotherhood really is. It begins--it begins in shared pain."

"Then where does it end?"

"I don't know. I don't know yet."

One book I've read more than once: The Bone People, Keri Hulme. This won the Booker Prize in 1985 and is a wonderful introduction to New Zealand fiction (if you've never read any.)
The sound of the sea.

A gull keening.

When the smoke is finished, she unscrews the top of the stick and draws out seven inches of barbed steel. It fits neatly into slots in the stick top.

"Now, flounders are easy to spear, providing one minds the toes."

Whose, hers or the fishes', she has never bothered finding out. She rolls her jeans legs up as far as they'll go, then slips down into the cold water. She steps ankle deep, then knee deep, and stands, feeling for the moving of the tide. Then slowly, keeping the early morning sun in front of her, she begins to stalk, mind in her hands and eyes looking only for the puff of mud and swift silted skid of a disturbed flounder.

All this attention for sneaking up on a fish? And they say we humans are intelligent. Sheeit...

One book I would want on a desert island: The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press. My goal would be to get to the end before being rescued or gutting myself with a fish knife, whichever came first.
Among the factors governing the choice between spelling out numbers and using numerals are whether the number is large or small, whether it is an approximation or an exact quantity, what kind of entity it stands for, and what context it appears in.

One book that made me laugh: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
Archbishop James Usher (1580-1656) published Annales Ve et Novi Testamenti in 1654, which suggested that Heaven and the Earth were created in 4004 B.C. One of his aides took the calculation further, and was able to announce triumphantly that the Earth was created on Sunday the 21st October, 4004 B.C., at exactly 9:00 A.M., because God liked to get work done early in the morning while he was feeling fresh.

This too was incorrect. By almost a quarter of an hour.

The whole business with the fossilized dinosaur skeletons was a joke the paleontologists haven't seen yet.

One book that made me cry: Towing Jehovah, James Morrow. Mainly because I was laughing so hard. Best satirist of his generation.

One book I wish had been written: Acquire an Encyclopaedic Understanding of Human Endocrine Disorders in 10 Easy Lessons. Endocrine stuff just confuses the crap out of me. I admit it.

One book I wish had never been written: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling. Sorry all you die-hard Potterites, but I am not a fan. Why is it the really good novels for children don't sell as well as this stuff?

Then again, I'm sure Rowling really doesn't give a crap about my opinion, or if she does her gazillions of dollars will be a comfort to her in her distress.

One book I am currently reading: K Road, Ted Dawe. Just finished it in fact. Novel for young adults about drug culture in New Zealand. Good narrative but left me feeling a bit, "Ok, so now what?" at the end.

One book I am meaning to read: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway. Because I never have.

Five victims for further literary punishment: The Miscellaneous Mischevious Misadventures of MissBHavens, March of the Platypi, NeoNurseChic, The Ramblings of a Nurse Anesthetist, KT Living. Because they were the last five recently-updated bloggers that I read tonight on the Mediblogopathy nurse blogs list. Consider yourselves tagged.
Posted by PaedsRN at 11:32 PM

Blogger neonataldoc, at 10:53 AM  

Interesting stuff. Let me know when you find that book about endocrinology in 10 easy lessons!

Hey, is it just me or is there something wrong with your blog? The text of your book meme entry didn't start until I scrolled way down the page, below where all the stuff in the sidebar ends. In other words, there's a huge blank space beneath your post title.

Blogger PaedsRN, at 1:25 PM  

Yep, the old template doesn't play well with Firefox. We're just about to launch a new look for the site, couple more days should do the trick.

Blogger genderist, at 4:11 PM  

A Farewell to Arms: Great book... move it up on your list.

Blogger beajerry, at 3:18 AM  

Nice list. I don't know about your distaste for Potter though, you grump.
I will have to check out This Dispossessed. Sounds good!

Blogger PaedsRN, at 3:01 PM  

Heh. I suppose I am a bit of a grump. I just don't think the books are terribly well-written, but who am I to judge?

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