When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

14 August 2006

Booking It

In response to being tagged by j.d.:

1. Book that changed my life.

Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and his subsequent books forever altered the way I looked at presenting information. Since I do this for a living (I’ve been a technical writer and instructional designer for the last 20 years) Tufte’s books were both life- and career-altering.

2. Book I have read more than once.

It seems to be part of the natural rhythm of my life to read Joseph Mitchell’s Up In The Old Hotel at least once a year. Mitchell, one of the best writers ever to grace the pages of The New Yorker, profiles NYC eccentrics, has-beens and never-wozzers with the utmost respect and a fanatical and loving attention to detail.

3. Book I would want on a desert island.

The Encyclopedia of New York City
, so I could stay focused on getting back to the non-desert island on which I live.

4. Book that made me laugh.

John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces made me laugh out loud repeatedly; more recently, so did Gary Shteyngart’s The Russian Debutante’s Handbook.

5. Book that made me cry.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby.

6. Book I wish I had written.

Will Blythe’s To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever, a scholarly and very funny dissection of the UNC-Duke basketball rivalry, but also a touching meditation on fathers and sons (among other things.)

7. Book I wish had never been written.

The Turner Diaries. (Not linking this one. If you want to read it, you can goddamned well locate a copy yourself.)

8. Book I am currently reading.

Tom Ricks’ Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq.

9. Book I’ve been meaning to read.

Jared Diamond’s Collapse has been sitting on my Shelf of Shame for over a year now. I enjoyed Guns, Germs and Steel but for some reason can’t motivate myself to read this one.

10. Tag five other people.

I will respectfully decline to name them in this forum, but have sent private notes encouraging five of my favorite bloggers to pony up.

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