One book that changed your life:
The Golden String by Bede Griffiths.
The first time I ever realized that truth could come with many faces, and by embracing another's truth, you could convey your own truth to them effectively.
If you don't know Bede Griffiths, he was a student of C.S. Lewis's and became a Christian at about the same time, but he became a Roman Catholic and joined a Cistercian monastery, then opened a Christian ashram in India, and lived in a hut and ate off banana leaves. An amazing fellow, and he writes a lot like Lewis, in that the first 75 pages are incomprehensible, then he gets into his groove and it's fabulous.
It's a tie. Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy I'll continue to read until I can read no more.
Okay, this is shallow and trite, but Semi-Tough by Dan Jenkins is the only book I have given away more than ten copies of. Dan Jenkins makes me laugh out loud in public places. And I have read it more than once, probably more than ten times. And Dead Solid Perfect. And Limo.The other one I've given away multiple copies of (in two languages, no less) is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I never tire of Ignatius J. Reilly.
3) One book you'd want on a deserted island:Probably it would be a philosophical anthology with lots of Plato and almost no post-modernists. I'm a weirdo... I think philosophy is fun.
Or maybe anything by Faulkner. One sentence a day from him is enough to chew on for a long while.
4) One book that made you laugh:
I was reading Little Green Men by Chris Buckley on the train going to New York one day, and I laughed out loud, disturbing all my trainmates to the point that I now no longer read on the train, preferring my cellular wireless connection to do aimless web browsing.
5) One book that made you cry:
Personal History by Katherine Graham. Now I have to tell a story.I had read the book, but I also had the book on tape, which I listed to as I drove from DC to my brother and sister-in-law's house near Boston. Katherine read the book herself on the BOT, and she started to read about her husband's mental illness and eventual suicide as I was stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge in New York City. By the time he shot himself and she found him in the bathroom, I was stuck in traffic in Westchester County, weeping copiously while on-looking truckdrivers peered down curiously upon me. I must have been an odd looking attraction in the overall scheme of things...
6) One book you wish you had written:
Thank You for Smoking by Chris Buckley. And I could have, had I thought of it.
7) One book you wish had never been written:
Oh, there are so many. I could start with anything by Jane Austen, but that would be too easy. But easily the most tedious book I have ever read was The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Mann. He is absolute proof that being smart doesn't make you a good writer. This book has lots of facts, lots of ideas and no point.
8) One book you are currently reading:
The Booknotes books from C-SPAN (okay, I like philosophy and I'm a C-SPAN junkie. So sue me.) are great because they're all chopped up in little bite-sized portions and I don't have to stay awake long to get through one portion of it.My dog ate one of them, so now I have one and a half copies of that one.
9) One book you have been meaning to read:
Many books. Many Many Books. I have a whole pile of the post-Katrina books written by Times-Picayune staff and others in the New Orleans area. Probably the one that is calling loudest right now is 1 Dead in Attic by Chris Rose.