The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

September 23, 2006


GAUTAMI TRIPATHY, who claims to be a fast runner, would have been like the turtle to the hare as soon as I read that she had tagged me for this book meme thing that's been going around.

I left her in the dust, actually, in Delhi (a beautiful, magical city, by the way).

I thank her for the honor, of course. But the fact is, despite the fact I write for a living, I do NOT actually read all that much and do not have the voracious appetite for books that might seem to be automatic.

Professionally, I actually find it's a GOOD thing I don't read so much. Because when I interview people, I'm not necessarily asking them things I already know about or have formed an opinion about from previous reading.

I have a curiosity and a lack of bias. And I find people appreciate and respect that and open up more as a result. Anyway, that's my rationale and I'm sticking to it.

Nonetheless, I HAVE read many books. And here is my response to the questions in the meme...

1. Name a book that's changed your life.

I'm not sure ANY book has really "changed my life" but if there is one, this is it. I first read it when I was up in northern Canada working at a fish plant, processing fish caught in South Indian Lake by aboriginals.

I had plenty of time in between shifts, waiting for the fish to be flown in on a float plane. Then we'd work for 12 hours straight. This book talks all about the predictable stages of our life cycle in a very human, feeling way. It was groundbreaking at the time (the late 70s/early 80s).

The timing probably had a lot to do with its impact on me. I had just returned from a landmark event of discovery in my life, a five-month overland bus trip from England to India and back, and I was starting to figure out what I wanted and who I was.

I read it twice that summer, so this book is also the answer to question No. 2, Name a book you've read more than once. Weirdly enough, I have also now started reading it again, before Gautami tagged me for this meme.

(Another strange twist is that Delhi, where Gautami lives, is one of the most incredible places I visited and got to know a bit on that trip, which was spent for the most part travelling throughout India).

3. Name one book you'd like to have on a desert island.

I don't give two hoots about all the goofy controversy over this work of art and Christianity's attempts to knock it off the block. I was gripped by it right from the get-go and would read it again in a heartbeat. I could not put it down.

4. Name a book that made you laugh.

I've since gotten a little tired with his style, but if you're in the mood and have the kind of sense of humor I do, you can't help but snicker all your way through this.

5. Name a book that made you cry.

And many others like it as my marriage broke up out of the blue several years ago, but in retrospect not really so out of the blue. I needed answers and perspective. I'm now divorced. I'm single, although happily that way now and enjoying being involved with other women.

Child support is a huge financial burden and I don't see my kids on a daily basis. I'm a part-time dad. Enough said.

6. Name a book you wish had been written.

This book probably HAS been written, but I just haven't stumbled upon it:


Why people complicate their lives by planting their seeds so far underground they'll never germinate and give them the growth or answers they're thirsting for

7. Name a book you wish had never been written (you might want to go on to No. 8 if you are a devoutly religious person).

My intent is not to offend. But this is my honest response, and I was raised in a Catholic family and was an altar boy in a Roman Catholic church.

The Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran and any other volume that was written centuries ago that people in the year 2006 use as the basis for their religious faith is included in my list, although I can only truly speak about the Bible, which I have not read in its entirety.

And never would.

My problems with any religious texts are many. Who wrote them, how accurate are they, that was then this is now, the fear factor (believe THIS or you'll go to hell), the competition among the religions, how these words using "thou" and all can be germaine in the 21st Century.

But most of all, how they can strip every individual of their freedom and responsibility to make their own observations about what's true and false or right and wrong and act accordingly, rather than having it dictated to them by scripture of unproven origin or logic in today's world.

8. Name a book you're currently reading.

Actually, the reading material I find myself most with are things like National Geographic, Men's Health, Psychology Today and Time. But a book I'm currently re-reading is the following:

It's not a religion so much as a way of life that makes some sense to me. My dad amazed me a couple of years ago by actually having this book in his collection. He gave it to me. And I like the message.

9. Name a book you've been meaning to read.

I wonder what differences there are between Passages and Men's Passages. We'll find out.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Nice choices - you and I should edit our own New York Times Review of Books for Middle Aged Guys.

    Good choice of music tonight too - hard to believe that song is almost 16 years old.

  3. Fronty:

    Let's do it, man! We're both whacky and smart enough to pull it off, and a whole bunch more!

    Forget about books that make me cry...this song -- by a Canadian with one of the purest voices I've ever heard -- gets my heart beating and tears welling every time.

  4. It leaves me thinking something's missing in my life.

    Damn, now you've done it. I'm going all mushy and stuff.

  5. Wish I'd not read that about men's passages - will be having lunch in a minute.

  6. Interesting -- I've read very few self-help books but did read Passages and found it to be really eye-opening. Maybe I should read it again.

    I was listening to a CD by my favourite female vocalist of then (Sarah Vaughan) when kd lang, probably my favourite female vocalist of now, kicked in. And this is my favourite song of hers.

  7. Fronty:

    Geez, man, NO! It can't be! Grown men don't cry! (Ha!)


    Sorry, hope I didn't ruin your lunch or spoil your appetite. I'm sure Men's Passages aren't that much different from women's.


    kd is kinda krazy, but kool. This song just transcends anything and everything. A great one.

    Passages...I consider it more a life's lesson book than a (argh) "self-help" book.

    Whatever, it's great.

  8. Naw, no crying. Just putting my chin in my hand and sighing. God, like that isn't bad enough. But after a late-night round of possum rustling, I'm back to my stoic, pseudo-Gary Cooper self.

  9. Possum-russlin'? Sounds fun.

    Stoic pseudo-Garry Cooper works, for the most part.

  10. frontier editor - if that song doesn't make you cry, nothing will - come on, be a man and let it all out ;).

  11. For whatever reason that song is like fingernails on a chalkboard..I know that I may be the only person on the planet who feels that way...I think that they played it to death, resurrected it and then played it to death again...

    Sweet Surrender is my Sarah favorite.

    You don't even read your own 'Paper' so I know that you have never actually read any of these books...
    that being said the tone of this confessional exposes your vulnerability and desire to please others and makes up for all of these big, fat, fibs.

  12. Thanks for taking up and buzzing me!

    For someone who claims he does not read: my, my, I am impressed.

    I don't have any reason to doubt you as homo implies!

    I got the Budhdha book. Yet to read that.Infact I bought too many book and somehow unable to catch up.

    Yes, Delhi is beautiful despite the dust, humidity and rude people!

  13. BTW, I agree with h.e. about that song feeling like fingernails scratching on

    I have scratched my fingernails on the chalboard often enough to recognise that sound...:D

  14. Gautami,

    Dust? Humidity? Rude people? Sounds just like my town! >B^D>

  15. gautami,
    Don't forget that my 'job' is to taunt and tease WW until all of the 'Ladybloggers' come running to his rescue and the cows come home...
    the old good cop/bad cop...
    works like a charm.

  16. where's the fridge???

  17. Lee/Fronty:

    Yeah, Frontier Editor, let it all out (but by that I am not referring to last week's discussion between you and Gautami about "whipping it out."

    Homo Masturbatum:

    Thank you, Dr. Freud. Or was that Dr. Seuss.

    I saw the monumental social upheaval about that Sarah McLachlan song and changed it this morning.

    People have no respect for Vee-Jays nowadays.


    Yeah, you tell that Homo.

    He's right however in his response to you, when he says it's his life's work to mock me, tease me, bend me, shape me, criticize me, laugh at me and, by the way, live vicariously through me.

    And yes, I've changed the dang video already!


    Good point about dusty.


    THE FRIDGE! Oh yes. It and perhaps even my oven are coming soon to a blogosphere near you.

  18. when I said that to "fronty" about the song I was thinking about the kd lang one.

  19. I finaly met my match in a book, i thought i could read anything, war and peace i devoured,, anna karenina i adored, solzhenitsyn a walk in the park, But i could not finish Ullysses-james Joyce. First time since the little engine that could in frist grade that actually made me sweat.

    I hate posts about books everytime i read them the list grows, so much to read.

  20. Lee:

    I think that's the one I figured you were talking about, Constant Craving...a beautiful tune.


    A guy who wears a Santa hat can be a bookworm? You ARE incredibly versatile, me man.

  21. I read BLOOKS now. find out what BLOOKS are.


  22. Keshi:

    OK, cool...I guessed right before I found this in Wikipedia:

    "One definition of blook is a book serialized on a blog site. Chapters are published one by one as blog posts, and readers can then subscribe to a blook with an RSS feed, tag it, comment on it, etc. This type of blook was popularized by Tom Evslin in September 2005, with the launch of, a murder mystery set in the dot-com bubble."

    OK, I get it. But unless you go to bed with a laptop or curl up on the couch with it, don't you miss reading a book the old-fashioned way?



If you choose to use anonymous to comment, it is only fair that I reserve the right to obliterate your comment from my blog.