Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Literary List

Again…? Yep, Eric tapped me to contribute to the meme continuum. This one is pretty good. I’m tasked with revealing my reading habits. Rather than list my ‘favorites’, I’m going to provide a time-line of sorts, one that tracks the milestones of the evolution of my thinking. The following represents the broad categories of my interests.

1. The number of books I’ve owned: Actually, I’m quite frugal, so I tend to avail myself of the public library. Since the inception of the Patriot Act, I may need to rethink that. More to the point, I currently have a few books that are of particular interest.

2. Last book I bought: As it happens, I killed two birds with one stone by purchasing the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S.Lewis, for my oldest son.

3. Last book I read: This is a little embarrassing, given that I waited so long, but it’s Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

4. Five Books That Mean A lot to Me: As I mentioned at the outset, I’m going to list my literary landmarks…as if you care.

A. I really didn’t develop a passion for literature until ‘junior high’, when I discovered Edgar Allen Poe. From there, I read two Clive Barker horror novels: Weave World and The Great and Secret Show. These seem lame in retrospect, but I enjoyed them at the time.

B. My emersion in the 80s punk culture led me to rethink and reject the religious indoctrination of my childhood. In my early twenties, I thought it prudent to examine, for myself, the history of Christianity. I read an exhaustive collection of the writings of the ‘early church fathers’ (Roman philosophers circa 300 A.D.) that was published by the Catholic church, so it was from the horses mouth. Also, I read the magnum opus of the Reformation, John Calvin’s The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Then, I read an ‘encyclopedia’ of the history of American sects of Christianity (the title escapes me). In short, I learned quite a bit about the origins of modern Christianity.

C. Commensurate with the ‘punk scene’, I became interested in politics and by extension, philosophy. I embarked upon a layman’s study of the philosophical giants. I went from Socrates to Plato to Aristotle…to Descartes to Kant to Nietzsche. I have no formal training in this field, just an appetite for knowledge.

D. Being a terrible student, I barely scraped by. So, I really had an enormous gap in my scientific knowledge base. In an attempt to fill that gap, I looked to the 'pros' of theoretical physics. I read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell. Then I went on to a collection of Richard Feynman’s lectures to students at Cal Tech (don’t recall the title…my memory is shot [it's entitlted Six Easy Pieces...many thanks, Alice]). I absorbed some of it, but I’m far from an expert on the subject.

E. Last but not least, I must mention the Bible, as I would be lying if I said that it had no influence on my thinking. It may seem corny or even predictable, but it's a significant part my reading list. After all, this is my meme!

5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog: I’ve never been accused of being particularly creative, so I’ll pass it on the same gang, with one replacement.


Update I: Alice, you’re welcome to participate if you want. I’m sure that you can make an appreciable contribution.

Update II:: There actually are comments, despite the 'Comment (0)' below.