Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

A Break in the Routine

with 3 comments

Mary Agnes’s funeral is today, and it’s a long drive.  To get there, I’m going to have to get into the car and go no later than seven o’clock, and I should leave earlier.  So I’m feeling a little addled.

I agree with a lot of what Robert said about Unger and the myriad problems that all seem to have the same solution, but what I was thinking about were people for whom the very idea that harm might come to anyone, anywhere, wipes out any other kind of thought.  So if I tell you there are children starving in Africa, their reaction is that we must all send food now, and if you bother thinking about things (like, say, Saddam Hussein stealing the food shipments from the oil for food program and letting his people starve) then you have to be a heartless bastard with no morals.

But the issue with Unger, and Singer, is much more complicated than that, and I can’t keep my mind on it at the moment. 

So, I thought I’d propose a little break in the routine.

A couple of nights ago, on FB, a friend of mine posted an exercise:  name the fifteen books that “stick with you.”

You’ll note that the instructions are not to name the fifteen books that you like best.  On my list, there are a couple I don’t like at all.  But I did come up with fifteen books that have just bored themselves into my brain.

My list looked like this:

‎1 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
2 For Love by Sue Miller
t The Razor’s Edge by Maugham
4 Rebecca by DuMaurier
5 A Moveable Feast by Hemingway… See More
6 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Christie
7 Confessioons by St. Augustine
8 The Blank Slate by Pinker
9 The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
10 The Nun’s Story by Hulme
11 Blindness by Jose Saramago
12 Eleanor of Aquitane by Weir
13 A Taste For Death by P. D. James
14 The Shining by Stephen King
15 Death in the Afternoon by Hemingway
So, I thought, you know, people could send me lists–books you’ve can’t get out of your head, whether you loved them or hated them, no thinking, just going right ahead and doing it.
And I’m going to do some driving.

Written by janeh

July 22nd, 2010 at 5:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses to 'A Break in the Routine'

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  1. I can never do these things. It does tend to come down to books I like, because I don’t much remember books I dislike, and now no longer even try to finish them. Well, except ‘Maria Chapdelaine’. I remember that one. Maybe someday I should re-read it and see how good my memory is.

    If it’s books I re-read so often I could probably recite by memory, I get the works of Norah Lofts, Georgette Heyer and Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, any one of which would come to 15 books all by herself. Books I actually do know bits of by memory and still re-read – the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible.

    Non-fiction that interested me more than once – I don’t always remember titles and authors, but there were biographies of Elizabeth I & Mary Queen of Scots, ‘A Distant Mirror’, ‘Akenfield’, a book with a title something like ‘Life after death’ (just try to google that!) which is a study of various British murderers after they get out on parole. ‘Hunting Humans’ about serial killers.

    I got into science fiction reading Norton and Heinlein and Asimov, but now Cherryh and Bujold’s books stick in my head more and the others have faded into the background.

    Too many books sticking in my head.


    22 Jul 10 at 8:26 am

  2. I can’t do it either. Most books I read and forget. But two by Mary Renault did influence me. “The King must Die” got me interested in history and “The Last of the Wine” was about Socrates and got me interested in Philosophy.


    22 Jul 10 at 5:24 pm

  3. As regards Para. 2: I know those people. They can’t think straight under any circumstances. On to the booklist

    Now We are Enemies, Fleming
    Parkinson’s Law, Parkinson
    Devil’s Cub, Heyer
    El Cid, Krepps
    Ishmael, Hambly
    Season of Evil, Lee
    Superfolks, Mayer
    Don Quixote, USA, Powell
    Merchanter’s Luck, Cherryh
    The Oath and the Sword, Shelby
    Many a Green Isle, Turnbull
    The Demon Breed, Schmitz
    The Black Swan, Sabatini
    Patience of a Saint, Greeley
    Atlas Shrugged, Rand
    Shards of Honor, Bujold
    My Enemy, My Ally, Duane
    Key to Many Doors, Loring

    (John Ball’s Last Plane Out JUST missed the cut.) Note that a “story” rather than a “book” list would be quite different. Poul Anderson, Robert Howard and Leigh Brackett especially got stiffed for being short story or novella writers. Also, three of those titles are paperback originals with no printing in decades. We REALLY need the Google settlement.

    Of your 15 I’ve read six, but I notice only Rand made both lists.


    22 Jul 10 at 5:53 pm

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