Book Meme

August 14th, 2006

As you must have realized by now, I am only partially in favor of blogs being a two-way flow of information exchange. That is, I’m thrilled when people comment on my posts and am mostly willing to read and comment back, but this particular blog is focused on one thing – getting yuri manga and anime fans to buy anime and manga through the Yuricon Shop, or getting you onto the Yuricon Mailing List by sharing with you all the great yuri I can. (I think it’s fairly obvious, but my apologies if you thought I had some noble intent. I’m just trying to make enough to support me being able to put out more yuri manga through ALC Publishing. Your purchases through the Shop, especially of ALC publications, go a long way to achieving that goal.)

So you may have noticed that all the links on the sidebar are focused on, well, me. Yuricon, the Shop, my fanfic page, my fan club. I have no links out to non-me related sites, except where it still focuses your interest back into “me” spaces, like the tags, or syndicating Okazu. This is all highly ironic to me since, of all the things that are important about Yuricon, “me” isn’t really one of them – but if it keeps you all funneled into the “yuri” channel, I’m not above it. I have very little pride. :-)

What, exactly, is the point of this self-obsessed rubbish? you are probably asking. Nothing, except that I’ve been tagged by my friend Lee Kottner, whose Blogorrhea Junior is something that I read – because it’s interesting. So for a moment, I’m breaking form and perpetuating a book meme originated elsewhere, for no other reason than because I was tagged and am now “it”.

That, for those of you expecting a point, was it. :-)

Please read Lee’s comments about the limitations of this meme, because all I have to say about those comments is “word.”

1. One book that changed your life?

Like most readers, especially young readers, my life is filled with books that were life-changing. And is there anything more scrunchy-face-making in the whole world than other people’s seminal books? LOL

Just one book? Just *one*?

How do I render my life into one single moment, when everything went “pop”? My shelves are full of my seminal books. The books that set off lights and bells and whistles in my brain – that STILL do.

But because it doesn’t fit into any other category in this meme, I will choose The White Goddess by Robert Graves. This “historical grammar of poetic myth” is brain-bustingly insane – and quite briliant. Most people hate it, but I thought – and still think – I understand what Graves was doing, by taking mythic images and qabalistically reinterpreting them. It’s not history – it’s not literature – it’s mythopoeisis. And it’s amazing. Reading this book was the first time in my life that I felt that several of my areas of interest were colliding for a reason – and that there was both rhyme and rhythm to my life. I had never considered that before that moment – and I’ve never doubted it since.

2. One book you have read more than once?

Hah. Which ones haven’t I read more than once? To be read many times is practically the definition of being a book on my book shelves.

Like Lee, I used to (with almost religious fervor) read The Lord of the Rings annually, but for me it was always in the autumn, to be begun around Frodo and Bilbo’s birthdays. Geeky? Yes. I have no regrets. Another seminal book for me.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence, which oddly, reappeared in my life *this very week* in an article from a military history magazine, and which I will no doubt take off the shelf to re-read again soon.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

The above-mentioned Seven Pillars, definitely. Of course I’ll need to bring along all the source material too, so it’ll have to be a big case and include all the Greek and Latin classics in the original. I figure I’ll have plenty of time to learn the languages.

Also Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco. I love this book, not least because I know people in every single weird occult group he mentions. :-)

4. One book that made you laugh?

This one has me stumped. I can’t think of too many books that make me laugh out loud. Focault’s definitely made me laugh, especially in the bit about numerology, which was brilliance.

My own Shoujoai ni Bouken has made me laugh, honestly. That’s why I figure it doesn’t suck too bad. :-)

Of the books that live on my shelves, I guess I’m going to have to go with Flaming Iguanas by Erika Lopez .

5. One book that made you cry.

You mean, other than the fact that I get choked up every time when I read the bit in LotR where Rohan comes riding down out of the mountains to the war in Gondor?

The one book that really made me all out cry – and frankly I’ve never forgiven her for it – was The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I don’t really like crying – and I do NOT believe in “a good cry.” Nonetheless, this book was amazingly well-written and worth reading.

6. One book you wish had been written?

Just about everything I’ve ever written was because no one else was writing it…. ;-)

So, I guess I’ll say the Girl’s History of Yuri, in which I figure as a foremother of the enduring popular genre. LOL

6a. (Lee added this one for aspiring authors) One book by someone else you wish you had written.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. For years that was my default “Oh my god, now *this* is good writing” example.

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. It’s a long story, but suffice to say that I deeply and personally loathe that book.

8. One book you are currently reading?

Maria-sama ga Miteru: Ready, Go! by Konno Oyuki in the original Japanese. I toyed with saying that I wish I had written the Marimite series,, but I think I’m happier being able to read them. The more I read these books, the more I honestly believe that Konno is an absolutely brilliant writer. The novel may be light reading, but the author is no lightweight.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

You know, I don’t have that pile anymore. I used to have a zillion books I was “meaning to get to” but now I either read a book or I don’t.

Okay, that’s not true -I have a whole pile of Maria-sama ga Miteru novels to read yet, and then the R.O.D novels, then Bakuretsu Tenshi, but that’s not me meaning to read them, so much as, I’ll get there when I get there. :-)

10. Now tag five people.

Sean, Alan (who is one of the very few people on this planet who can recommend books to me), Ed, Meryl (neither of whom read Okazu) and Pattie. Other than Sean, I don’t expect anyone will ever see this post, so “you’re it” probably won’t work. :-) Nonetheless, I’ll email them and invite them – and you, dear reader – to reply with YOUR responses here in the comments section.

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14 Responses

  1. Non-Otaku says:

    Well, anyway, I usuallu read your blog, since you love Stawberry Shake Sweet almost as much as I do, but since I’m a fan of shoujo-ai, how can I NOT link to your blog? Which I actually do…on my anime blog Non-Otaku, so yeah.

    As far as books go, it’s hard to choose one that’s my favorite, I would certainly reply to all of that if I wasn’t on beak at work. A post like that would take me an hour to write. But as far as one of my favorite books, Like Water For Chocolate is one of my favorites, and a book I think that needs to be burned, or never actually written was a book called Love Medicine. That was a HORRIBLE book.

    Hop On Pop is also a favorite. *Sniff* It’s so sad how they hopped on Pop…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ask and ye shall receive, Erica!

    http://harnums.livejournal.com/6203.html

  3. Well, since you did ask:

    1.)The only book I’ve read that I can say had a life-changing impact on me would be the first one, Lawrence Watt Evans’ Lure of the Basilisk. My orignial first edition, broken and tattered, still holds a prominient place on my bookshelf.

    2.)Pfft, all of them? If we’re looking for most read, then either Night Mare by Piers Anthony, which used to be a near-yearly thing for me, or Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, which I’ve gone through like four times in the year I’ve had it, and has yet to wear on me.

    3.)Um, well, I’m gonna cheat a little on this one and say my hardback Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy anthology by Douglas Adams. Five books gives me plenty of reading, plus it’s thick and heavy enough that I can wield it as a club to stun small indigenous wildlife.

    4.)Pretty much all of Terry Pratchett’s works made me laugh out loud at one point or another, but if I have to pick one, I’ll say Soul Music. That quip about Medusa’s underarm hair gets me every time.

    5.)I hate to sound like a broken record here, but Thud! by Terry Pratchett is a clear winner here. I’m kind of a sap, so there’s quite a few books out there that get me choked up, most notably Konno Oyuki’s Maria-sama ga Miteru (Yes, I’m sure you know that one, but it’s easier to keep the pattern.), but that one scene in Thud! where Vimes is running up the stairs to check on his son… Yeah, I had to put the book down for a minute.

    6.)How about the three books I’ve have sitting on my harddrive in partial outline form? Do those count? ‘Cause I really wish those would get written. Other than that, I really don’t have an answer for this one; I’m more of a take-it-as-I-get-it reader.

    6a.)The only response I can come up with for this one is half-joking: The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margeret Weis and Tracy Hickman, because I like to think that I at least could stick to a continuity for more than three books.

    7.)Um… Pass? No really, there are several movies I wish hadn’t been made, and a slew of anime series I wish hadn’t been made, but I can’t think of a single book that I wish didn’t exsist. How about… Atlas Shrugged, because I’m really tired of every other person I see ever talk about philosophy whineing about Ayn Rand.

    8.)Well, do books in non-paper formats count? Because if so, then I’m very, very slowly reading Saphizim no Gensou and Mai HiME: Unmei no Keitoku as I attempt to translate them. If not, then not much of anything, since all my reading energy is being devoted to those two.

    9.)Kino no Tabi by Sigusawa Keiichi. I’ve got the first four on my shelf, and I keep telling myself, I just need to sit down with one and my dictionaries and go to town, but I never quite get there.

    10.) Err, don’t think I can do this one, since I wasn’t actually tagged in the first place.

    Alright, apologies for the typos. It’s late, and I’m too darn tired to spellcheck. And, as an aside (as if this comment weren’t long enough already…), I think most of us understand pretty well that this blog is just your outlet for Yuri selling. Heck, the way I see it, we’re lucky to be getting the reviews, and notes and whatnot, at all, since this blog was initially just supposed to be a place to mention where Yuricon was going to be located at the next animecon, right?

  4. Sean says:

    I posted my entry here: http://seangaffney.livejournal.com/238373.html

    And Alan posted one as well, using his LJ for the first time in two years. Gasp!

  5. 2 out of five right off the bat, yay! And thank you to everyone else who posts, because I *am* interested.

  6. punistation says:

    I just read PERSEPOLIS and jumped instantly to volume 2.

    But that’s not Yuri, so I fail.

    (Oh, and to compound my failure, I also got the hardcover of PostSecret, and it’s making the rounds to all my friends. Recommended.)

  7. I read PERSEPOLIS a few months ago. It was worth reading. Haven’t heard of PostSecret. Duly noted.

  8. punistation says:

    (please add to previous comment. I know you can do it. Your powers fill me with jealous rage.)

    …And strangely enough, doing a quick Google Image Search of PERSEPOLIS, I discover a comic review of it by Jennifer Camper, whose early book I only just sample-scanned for the Yuri ML… *and* whose strip on being a devout muslim lesbian (from JUICY MOTHER) also graced the ML even earlier.

    Funny, that. There are no coincidences…

  9. Non-Otaku says:

    PERSEPOLIS….that was a good graphic novel. The library I work at had the artist/author there to disscuss the book some time agi. It was very interesting.

  10. Anonymous says:

    1. One book that changed your life?

    ….hmm… Not surprisingly I’m running through the list in my head trying to decide which to single out. And settling on this one has brought so many things home, so, I choose you! Gogmagog: The Buried Gods by T. C. Lethbridge.

    I can honestly say that this book opened thousands of doors for me, literally. It made me understand things about myself that I never knew and inspired years of research and discovery. And (warm fuzzies…) I can still see Karen running for the library to find it for me.

    I have to add a caveat to this, however; I never made it to the end. It is, possibly, the most boring book I’ve ever tried to wade through. I’ve tried, time and again, and like trying to read Dune, I finally had to concede defeat. (The wife, bless her, read Dune aloud to me so I could cross it off the list. If you feel a desire to read Gogmagog aloud to me please email me at: sebastian122@gamil.com)

    2. One book you have read more than once?

    I’m actually not going to answer this, but change the wording a bit and answer: One book that I will only read once. Foundation by Asimov. I thought this book was SO stunning that I closed it with a glow like after sex and swore off any more Asimov lest no other book should live up to this pinnacle of prose. What an amazing book.

    3. One book you would want on a desert island?

    I’m thinking it’s the only way I’ll ever get through Gogmagog…

    Northanger Abbey by J Austen. If Fahrenheit 451 were the rule, this would be the book I’d be memorizing (or having tattooed on my body. I think there’s enough room…)

    All my horsey adolescence I swore it would be Black Beauty by A Sewell, and I could, for years, recite a very large portion of that classic of social injustice, yaddi yaddi, but tastes change, mature and see the error of their ways…Ask me in 15 years and doubtless I’ll have a different answer for you.

    4. One book that made you laugh?

    National Lampoo’s Doon by E Weiner. If this book doesn’t leave you breathless, lay down, you’re dead.

    5. One book that made you cry.

    My knee-jerk reaction was The Doomsday Book by C. Willis, but then I thought of Sylvie and Bruno by L. Carroll. This is the first book I can remember blubbering over. In fact, I’m getting choked up thinking about it. It’s truly a shame that Carroll’s other works are so unknown. He was indeed the first Surrealist, but if he had giving his writing career a second’s consideration he could have challenged Dickens…which leads me to the next question.

    5a. One book by someone else you wish you had written.

    A Tale of Two Cities by C Dickens. The world should come to its senses, dig this man up and have him bronzed! This book is brilliant enough to read inside a dog. The wife will be thrashing in defiance when she reads this, I can see her even as I type, but I can call upon millions of people, from every walk of life, to back me up. How I wish I could write like this!!

    6. Two books you wish had been written?

    The main reason I’m struggling through this list of questions is because I read so little fiction. I’m a non-fiction girl and the list of books I wish had been written would fill a library. To single one out would send me to the 900s. My greatest delight is Egyptology and my home away from home is England. The history of both places is my comfort zone and to have a truly comprehensive book on pre-dynastic to Old Kingdom, and a readable one on late Bronze/early Iron Age Britain would leave me the happiest of Patties.

    7. One book you wish had never been written?

    The Lord of the Flies by some fuck up who hated kids and thought that they ought to be taught a lesson.

    Or, to quote a master: The covers of this book are too far apart. Ambrose Bierce

    8. One book you are currently reading?

    Myths and Legends of China by E. T. C. Werner. It is surprising/alarming the lack of current material on China. (sigh) But I keep looking…..

    9. One book you have been meaning to read?

    The Crying of Lot 49 by T Pynchon. Or anything by Pynchon! Mason and Dixon taunts me nightly…lying on the shelf in the bedroom saying, ‘Come on, Pattie…what’re you waiting for?’

  11. Yay! Wifey chimes in. Three of a kind. Now we only need Ed and Meryl.

    “…brilliant enough to read inside a dog.”

    I love you. :-D

  12. monkey lill says:

    long time blog reader, recent Yuricon member and mad about memes, esp. book ones!

    i’ll keep this short and sweet:

    1. oxford companion to film – sue-ann bawden. to this 14 year-old country bumpkin, a whole new world of film opened up.

    2. before night falls, reinaldo arenas. a memoir – persecuted in cuba for being a writer and a homosexual, spent the rest of his days in miami. to quote margaret cho: “if you are hated for who you like to f*ck, you are gonna kick up your heels and f*ck.” beautifully written, lyrical, funny and heart-breaking at times.

    3. hatred of capitalism (a semiotext(e) reader) – various. title is shock value only, it’s actually a great collection of modern short fiction and french thinkers. i’ve never read it all due to it’s density, so time away would be perfect to absorb all the ideas in this book.

    4. catch-22, joseph heller.

    5. stone butch blues, leslie feinberg. yet another heartbreaker, quietly devastating.

    6. a history of merkins. i can’t think of anything really.

    6a. macho sl*ts, pat califia. ahem… *blush*

    7. empress of the world – sara ryan. it’s touted as a controversial teen novel about lesbians and coming out. i just think it’s poorly written and depressing. however, i will say one thing for it: it’s prompted me to write my own (graphic) novel.

    8. best of mcsweeney’s vol. 2. i heart short fiction so!

    9. the rest of please save my earth, banana fish, alice sebold’s the lovely bones… the list goes on.

    10. i won’t tag anyone, but thank you erica for inviting your readers to comment! i look forward to your posts :)

    – lill.

  13. Thank *you* for commenting. I really am interested in reading everyone’s responses. :-)

    Catch-22 is a great book. :-)

  14. Anonymous says:

    1. One book that changed your life?

    Alas, I haven’t read such a book yet. Yes, there have been several that have influenced my life in one way or another, but to significantly change it? I dunno.

    2. One book you have read more than once?

    Ah, there’s too many of ’em! I’m gonna say Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch. There are books I’ve read more times – heck, there are other Pratchett’s books I’ve read more times – but in the long run, this is one book I can see myself reading over and over again.

    3. One book you would want on a desert island?

    Umberto Eco’s The Island of the Day Before, because I haven’t read it yet, and because it fits the theme.

    4. One book that made you laugh?

    Terry Pratchett’s books are all outrageously hilarious, and the bit about numerology in Foucault’s Pendulum is indeed brilliant. But to choose just one… Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. There’s just so much different stuff to laugh at in it.

    5. One book that made you cry?

    Another one for Night Watch. That bit towards the end where Vimes and Vetinari talk about the statue always makes me break up. Thud!, also by Pratchett, has some very tear-inducing scenes, too.

    6. One book you wish had been written?

    “Umberto Eco meets /b/”

    6a. One book by someone else you wish you had written?

    Journey to the East, by Hermann Hesse. There’s just something about how the story plays around with space and time like it was nothing that makes me really envious.

    7. One book you wish had never been written?

    Would it be terribly wrong to say “The Bible”? Christianity would be so much better a religion if it wasn’t burdened by a holy book that speaks Teh Absolute Truth.

    8. One book you are currently reading?

    The Drawing of the Three, by Stephen King. I guess I’m kind of late into the whole Dark Tower bandwagon, but hey, at least I don’t have to wait ages for the next part to come out (like with George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series…)

    9. One book you have been meaning to read?

    Macchiavelli’s The Prince. Call it morbid curiosity, if you’d like.

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