Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

22.2.13

Out of the archive: an old meme.

Remember 'memes'? I found an unfinished one in my drafts when looking for an old recipe. The meme went all the way back to 2006. I had intended to answer it at the time but never got around to it.

Memes were an enjoyable waste of time because you had to think about what you wrote, but they died out when things got faster on the web. Now you can insult people in a few seconds on Twitter.

So let's resurrect the meme and wallow in a bit of web nostalgia.

The 'one book' meme, circa 2006.

1. One book that changed your life.
Books don't change your life. Not really. Unless you count changing the way you read. I read John Buchan's Greenmantle online in 1999, which is last century. But I changed straight back to reading hard copies again, and have read very few online since. Nor do I own an e-reader. I will one day.

2. One book you have read more than once.
Farewell, My Lovely. Curiously, one edition had the comma in the title; another didn't. Most likely a pretentious cover art designer thought it interfered with his design. Chandler would roll in his grave. The omitted comma changes the sense from a personal goodbye to an imperative directed at a third party.

3. One book you would want on a desert island.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. I could read it in summer (or build a shade house with it), and burn it in winter, for warmth.

4. One book that made you cry.
I can't recall crying over any book after childhood. But when I was four or five I genuinely cried over a picture book in which a character was left by his friend who mistakenly believed the character had done some damage to his house. The picture showed the friend driving away at top speed while the character rained down fat tears of abandonment and despair. I followed. Abandonment is the saddest experience.

5. One book that made you laugh.
Three Men in a Boat in adulthood, dozens in childhood, everything from Hugh Lofting to A. A. Milne to ... the question was one.

6. One book you wish had been written.
Biggles Finally Gets Von Stalhein by Capt. W. E. Johns.

7. One book you wish had never had been written.
The rest of Raymond Chandler's previously unfinished Poodle Springs.

8. One book you are currently reading.
Ferretabilia: The Life and Times of Nation Review by Richard Walsh. (University of Queensland Press 1993.) A great find - I picked it up for a few dollars in Savers last week. Walsh selected extracts from the 1970s counterculture newspaper, adding his own commentary. While nominally leftwing, Nation Review was so politically incorrect it could not possibly be published now thanks to the hair-trigger sensitivity of today's social culture. The book is littered with early Leunig art from the newspaper, making it a treasure.

9. One book you have been meaning to read.
So Greek: Memoirs of a Conservative Leftie by Nikki Savva. I finally bought it yesterday - the last copy at Readings - so I'll get around to it soon.

Over to you. Answer as few or as many as you wish, or make up new questions.

5 comments:

Melbourne Girl said...

That's how dumb I am...I had to google meme to find out exactly what it is...and how to pronounce it
duh

kitchen hand said...

Don't worry, I never liked the term - thought it was quite pretentious at the time ... now it just has a kind of dated feel about it!

Melbourne Girl said...

OK here goes.
My reading tastes fluctuate between trashy romance through to political novels and food mags...

I loved Race of a Lifetime, which is all about the run up to the 2008 presidential election

I started Lindsay Tanner's "Sideshow" and got about a third of the way through and thought I really need to be in the right frame of mind to read it, so put it down. The same with Flat Earth News by Nick Davies.
There are some books you need to be in the right mood for

A few books have made me cry, but the first was a novel about kids on a farm that was hit by a bushfire. I read it as a kid and I remember the animals in it perished in the fire. I thought it was by Colin Thiele, but I'm not so sure now. Not really sure who wrote it but it's stayed with me.

I'm not sure a book really ever changed my life, but I do remember "Catcher In the Rye" pretty vividly...and I've always gone back to Pride and Prejudice.

Beside my bed right now... The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
Death Sentence by Don Watson
Damn Good Advice for People With Talent by George Lois
The Brain that Changes Itself - Norman Doig....a couple of cook books with nice pictures....some magazines about decor and recipes... and my trashy indulgence, Morning Glory by Lavyrle Spencer

Told you it was a mixed bag KH







kitchen hand said...

Mine are a mixed bag too, MG.

I read George Lois when I started in this business, always remembered him telling the client "I'll make the ads, you mask the bagels" plus threatening to jump out the window.

I love Don Watson's work but the more he complains, the worse public discourse and jargon gets.

The bushfire one could have been Thiele's February Dragon or Ivan Southall's Ash Road. I read both as a kid - around the same time as the '67 bush fires - and both were seared into my memory. I re-read Ash Road a couple of years ago and it was uncannily like Black Saturday unfolding. Well, any bushfire, I suppose.

Dr. Alice said...

1. One book that changed your life.
Peg Bracken's I Hate To Cook Book. I read this when I was six or seven (my mother had a copy) and I loved the illustrations and the writing. I have been a cookbook reader ever since.

2. One book you have read more than once.
That would be just about every book I've ever read! But I will list Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin. It's a happy, but not sappy, romance and a comedy of manners. I read it whenever I'm feeling down.

3. One book you would want on a desert island.
I'll go with War and Peace, as that would be the only scenario I can think of where I would be likely to finish it.

4. One book that made you cry.
Laurie Colwin again - Family Happiness. It's written from the point of view of a woman, starved of attention and affection by her family, who falls into an affair. Parts of it are heartwrenching.

5. One book that made you laugh.
Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. I dare anyone to read Gussie Fink-Nottle's speech to the students of Market Snodsbury Grammar School and not laugh. It's impossible.

6. One book you wish had been written.
How To Get in Shape Without Dieting or Exercising. By anyone.

7. One book you wish had never had been written.
Scarlett, the accursed sequel to Gone With the Wind.

8. One book you are currently reading.
Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne. I downloaded it free for Kindle - there is a reason to get an e-reader, there are a lot of free classics out there! I am finding it quite fascinating and plan to do a blog post on it soon.
9. One book you have been meaning to read.
Oh man, there are a lot. But I'll say John Adams by David McCullough.