Friday, September 01, 2006

The One Book Meme


Seems that One Book Meme virus is still going around. I almost caught it from Whisky Prajer, but the right medications (bidding kiddies off to college) kicked in to take my mind off of it. Good thing, that. I felt the virus' pressure in my head; the search for the One was too much.
Now, Searchie's been infected. Her choice, Reading Statistics and Research, is a bit (and not a tiny bit) beyond my level of comprehension. In her entry, Searchie elegantly describes a transformation via a textbook. I don't know about you, but I can list off in my head at least 10 books that in some way, minor or major, have changed me. However, I'd be lying if I had even one textbook on that list. I applaud her for her choice. I think the authors of that textbook should be informed...immediately! Really, what textbook author would ever dream of changing a reader, transforming a person's mindset with their book. As she phrases it so well, "It dawned, is how I describe it now. Any preconceptions about my mathematical limitations lifted away, and I found myself writing furiously in the margins of Huck et al."
With her usual wit, she concludes her One Book Meme with, "I guess I’m just a grown up über-geek with good shoes, yes? If so, it's a very, very good thing to be." (A comment noted later: For anyone familiar with Searchie's entries, good shoes has got to be an insider's joke for her readers. I can't imagine her putting up with merely good shoes. She teases with that glibness.)
My own fond memories of anything statistical were confined to these two fine books,
Lies, Damn Lies, & Statistics and A Mathematician Reads the Newspapers ,neither of which occupy the head-throbbing classification of Searchie's choice. While I'm at it, I also thoroughly enjoyed another of John Allen Paulus' books, Beyond Numeracy, but I'm stretching the statistics connection with Searchie a bit much at this point.

Will I be joining Searchie, Whisky Prajer, or Texas Trifles in the One Book Meme? I'm still chewing over the limitation of the solitary. Perhaps after my fever drops and the dust settles on the meme, I'll slip in a list. Another meminfection will have hit the fevrishly hot item list by then.

Comments:
I thought I'd covered you both with my general invitation, but sheesh - you and Searchie really do crave that personal touch, don't you? Alright, pal: you've just been tagged.
 
WP,
Let me clear up a possible mis-understanding on your part and an unintended insult on mine. Yes, you did include me in your general invitation. I was simply laying low until all of the Big Boys of the Lit WOrld had emptied their canons.
I am duly prepared to launch my bullets...at a later point in time. I'm hoping this personal touch of an invite has no time limit.
 
But barefoot is best of all, methinks.
 
Go for it!
 
Of course, Zeno would say that you can't ever finish a book, although you can always read halfway -- which seems consistent with my experience with today's bloated, superficial, "and furthermore" books.

But the real logical question is how one can say that anything at all "changed your life," given that the supposition is a counterfactual because, after all, one didn't live that other life, so there's no basis for comparison.

I once had a neighbor who browsed vaguely through my bookshelves, and delivered himself of the customary "Lotta books" and "Have you read all these?" before noting (a line I've never forgotten...obviously), "I read a book once." These are the people we should be asking.

I like to go around in socks.
 
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