The ‘one book’ meme

I stated before why I don’t do memes with which I’m “tagged” — that violates the very definition of meme.  A meme is a piece of information that takes on a life of its own.  Richard Dawkins (a scientist I rather like) actually coined the term more than 30 years ago in his book on evolution titled The Selfish Gene.  In that text, he defined ‘meme’ as a “unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another”.  You’ll note the phrase was never defined as something forced on others, hence my point that it takes on a life of its own.

My idea of a good meme is the kind that you see elsewhere and like so much that you want to do it as well.  It’s not something you’re tagged with and do out of obligation.

That’s why I don’t do them just because I’m tagged.  I will do them if I think they’re interesting or entertaining, and this one is definitely both of those things.

There are several memes I have lined up that I want to do.  I’m starting that process by posting this one: the “one book” meme (called such by me since I have several book related memes I will be posting).

Without further ado, here’s this particular book meme shamelessly borrowed from at least a dozen blogs I read where this has already been posted.  You are, of course, welcome to go through the same exercise in the comments or on your own blog if you’re so inclined.  The point is to respond with only one book for each question.  I could easily list a whole library of titles in response to each question, but instead I am providing answers based on what pops into my head first.  Human psychology shows those are the most relevant responses to any inquiry, and they are often the most accurate and/or appropriate.

Also, because I’ve read so much for so many decades, it would take forever to evaluate all of that input in the hopes of defining the “best” answer to each question.

One book that changed your life
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.  As I said, “I believe everyone can learn something by reading [this author’s works]”.

One book you have read more than once
Contact by Carl Sagan.  Not only a wonderfully intriguing and engaging work of fiction, but a relevant exploration of the dramatic differences between faith and belief, a challenge to scientific assuming, a relevant dissertation on political interference with science, a bold statement against religion and its need to subjugate discovery, and an important declaration against anthropocentrism’s perpetual disservice to humanity with regards to knowledge.

One book you would want on a desert island
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.  If you’ve never read it, you’d never understand.

One book that made you laugh
Needful Things by Stephen King.  The devil has come to town indeed…  A fantastic representation of our worst hellish nightmares by way of the most wonderful spin on the Satan metaphor.

One book that made you cry
When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy.  If there lies within you a single shread of humanity, reading this book will provide the universal epiphany of why we absolutely must change our collective mentality about animals.  You will come away from the experience with deep and unequivocal confirmation that all creatures great and small express emotional awareness on a level that rivals that of Homo sapiens.

One book you wish had never been written
The bible.
Also, the qur’an, the torah/talmud, the bhagavadgiitaa, the book of mormon, and a great many other religious texts responsible for so much death and anguish and suffering.

One book you are currently reading
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  Libby recommended this to me, and she’s a close friend who has eccentric yet eclectic tastes like me.  It’s a disturbing look at the all too common “usefulness” of children in homes where parents don’t really love their offspring with unbridled vigor.

One book you have been meaning to read
Cell by Stephen King.  He’s my favorite and this one sounds as intriguing and unique as most of his work.

One book you wish you had written
Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison.  From the text: “CAVEAT LECTOR [reader beware]: It is suggested that the reader not attempt to read this book at one sitting. The emotional content of these stories, taken without break, may be extremely upsetting. This note is intended most sincerely, and not as hyperbole.” (emphasis from original)  I add this: The book is worth your time.

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