starwars: yoda try

Ten Books

Stolen from various members of my flist.

Rules: In a text post, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard - they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

1. Two Treatises of Government by John Locke, On Liberty and Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill, and Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant - I'm putting all these together in one category because reading them in the ninth grade shaped the way I think about government, morality, and ethics, even to this day. Of everything I've ever read, I think these books influenced me the most.

2. Far North by Marcel Theroux - The narrator of this book believes they are the last person left on Earth after World War III. There's this beautiful metaphor about how plants can look totally dead above ground, but there are roots still growing beneath the surface and they can surprise you by becoming alive. Paraphrasing it doesn't do it justice, but it's still one of the most beautiful and affecting things I've ever read.

3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - I re-read this every four years or so because I teach it intermittently. The creepy thing is that it just keeps getting more and more true.

3. Europe on a Shoestring by Lonely Planet - the book that taught me the practical mechanics of taking long-term trips on a low budget. This book changed my life.

4. Give Me the World by Leila B. Hadley - A memoir of a 1950s divorcee who took off traveling with her four-year-old son in tow and wound up sailing around the world with a bunch of hot Navy veterans.

5. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - I love the symbolism of Gregor's transformation because the book can be about almost anything. My students have read it as an allegory for how our society treats (or used to treat) gay people, how the Jews were treated in the Holocaust, and how workers are treated in capitalist economies.

6. The Stars My Destination by George Takei - A really random book to find on this list, I know, but George Takei's memoir was the first time I had ever heard of the Japanese internment in WWII. It opened my eyes to how much my high school history classes didn't cover, and when I became a teacher fifteen years later, I made a project specifically about the internment so that my students would know about it.

7. On Writing by Stephen King - Still the model for how I hope to write.