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“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

All the cool kids are doing it

When I die, I hope it happens under an avalanche of books. Not really, that would probably hurt, especially the hard covers. But I DO love books, so here is the book survey that seems to be making its way around the blogosphere. If you want to write one up, too, send it to me.

I can’t believe I wrote blogosphere. I’m a nerd.

1. A book that has changed your life: An American Tragedy

I read this coming-of-age tome when I was 16, spending most of one weekend holed up in my room to do so. Not so much because I wanted to read it but because I had no friends. The story about the rise and fall of an ordinary man resonated with me and made me look deep into myself and others to see what evil and kindness we are all capable of.

2. A book you have read more than once: Catcher in the Rye

Probably on most people’s top-10 list, I read it at 17 and again at 30; it’s interesting how I interpreted it at different stages of my life. As a teen, I felt like Holden was my hero who explained only what I kept inside myself; as an adult, I can’t help but think what a pompous little bitch he is.

3. A book you would want on a desert island: Don Quixote

Reading this book isn’t exactly like tilting at windmills (sorry, I had to), but it IS very readable, probably the only 17th Century novel that reads like a modern novel. Crazy guy reads too many stories about knights, believes he IS one, sets out to fight injustice in the name of his love: who CAN’T relate to that?

4. A book that made you laugh: Catch-22

Seriously, read the chapter on Doc Daneeka and his wife who presumes he is dead and try not to wet your pants.

5. A book that made you cry: Flowers for Algernon

If this story doesn't get to you, doesn't reach into your heart, doesn't pull hard at your soul, then you are dead inside. Poor retarded Charley. So retarded.

6. A book you wish you had written: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Eggers single-handedly perfected the solipsistic genre of having his characters break down the fourth wall and have them recognize themselves within this memoir. The only superfluous chapter: when he tried to become a cast member on The Real World.

7. A book you wish had never been written: The Shipping News

Torture. Pure, unadulterated, unmitigating torture. Don’t ever read this. That’s two weeks of my life I’ll NEVER get back.

8. A book you are currently reading: The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl.

A really interesting story on the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, one of the most destructive weather phenomena to ever hit the U.S. The biggest tragedy, though, was knowing that it could have been prevented but was caused only by man’s hubris.

9. A book you have been meaning to read:. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Explanation of Globalization

I miss the World Cup. I STILL think Argentina would have won it all if they had beaten Germany. Damn Germans. I blame Jenny and Nathan.

Sorry, still bitter.
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