Sunday, February 11, 2007

"List 5 books that played and important role in your childhood and explain why."

Ugh. It's amazing how just one simple sentence can wreak havoc on your soul and make you feel all old and shite. Thanks a bunch, Fox.

Well, time to 'Cowboy up,' I suppose. (Incidentally, I heard a rumor of signing Juan Gone? Huh?)


The Five Most Influential Books of my Childhood

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Rudyard Kipling

Mr. Kipling taught me to love mongooses and hate cobras. Years later, these lessons still serve me, having befriended several mongooses (the most notable, Oscar, a good friend of Nipples), and laid the smack down on a cobra or two when called for (I had to dispose of one just the other day. Carmen and I were having a cocktail at a spot downtown. I went to the can, and when I returned, there was this cobra in a blue gabardine suit makin' moves on my lady! He's sittin' on the barstool all cool-like, drinking a vodka gibson and saying things like, "oooh, baby, if I had hands I'd sex you up real good." Well, I put a stop to that toot-sweet! I went up and told him there was a mongoose outside spreading a rumor that his mother was a whore. By the time he figured out my ruse, we had left. F*cking cobras; they fall for that every time.)

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Anyone who read this when they were young and deny any influence on their reading habits going forward is simply out of thier mind. This epic changed everything for everyone everywhere forever. Superlatives aside, I was one of three classmates in high school who passed notes to each other in Sindarin. Dîn broniant, estathar aen Tolkien!

The Amityville Horror, Jay Anson.

Yeah, I know. It explains a lot, doesn't it? I first read Amityville when I was around seven, and it did absolutely nothing for me. I read it again at age nine, and it scared the crap out of me for years to come. (I'm not kidding, either. I didn't drop another deuce until I was 11. It's documented.) But I loved it. I loved being scared in that reading kind of way; where you know you're safe, but you don't really know. I think it was reading this book, coupled with convincing my parents to let me stay up one night to watch The Birds that sent me off on my path of loving horror.
4. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

The whole series did it for me, but Wardrobe is the special one for me. As a kid, my mom would take me to the bookstore and get me books whenever I wanted. The only requirement was that I had to finish the book she bought before I could get another one. I remember getting this book, starting in the car, and finishing it right after supper. I read all seven books in a week and a half or so. I devoured them. Aslan was such a regal character. I later read The Screwtape Letters, and while it is completely a worthwhile read, it's a bit much at age seven.

5. The Cricket In Times Square, George Selden

I call every mouse I see Tucker. Those that have read the book know why.

Other considerations...

There are almost too many to list. I partially self-taught myself to read at age three or so, and have never stopped (my mom has a great story of my using her bedroom's bathroom, and coming out asking what a "menstrual cycle" was, having read all the boxes in her basket next to the bathroom. tee hee hee.)

Here are a few.

How To Eat Fried Worms, The Outsiders, The Pushcart War, Charlotte's Web, all Dr. Seuss (even though my favorite was a book showing the artwork that didn't make his books. Messed up, he was!), Animal Farm, Cujo, The Catcher In The Rye, and a children's book about a turtle who started walking aroud the world. He eventually got up so much speed, he hit a ramp and went into orbit. I cannot, for the life of me, remember the title. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Ooo, need a real explanation on the Rikki-tikki-tavi front, Ad. You're on the hook

Bizarrely, I was just today thinking about trying to find the movie on DVD

My 5?

1. Huck Finn. It's also my favorite book as an adult. Classic escapism on the surface, Twain made me actually care about Huck Jim and Tom, and I realised later it was because he described things effortlessly from each character's viewpoints without being heavy-handed. I had read Tom Sawyer, and even been in the crummy, insipid [redundant] play in the 4th grade, so I was primed to dislike Twain. Huck Finn is great literature on many levels for children and adults.

2. Well....the Pushcart War. I made a pea shooter the day I read about it. Which of course means that the book was a bad evil filthy heathen text on juvenile deliquency, and that I am now, and have been for over 20 years, a Victim. I should have known...now where is my check for restitution?

3. Treasure Island. Come on now, who doesn't want to go dig up buried treasure? I do, right now

4. The Three Musketeers. Ah, the French! Actually, the copy I had (and still have), has a preface in which the book is claimed to be culled from the memoirs of a Monsieur d'Artagnan. This was the book that made me read as if I was watching a film. I saw the events in the book, I imagined them as I was reading for probably the first time. This book changed Reading from an exercise in recitation to a form of entertainment for me

5.a book called (I hope I recall it correctly) "Audrey Rose". If this is the book I recall, it was supernatural horror, altogether different from any other books I had read, and not my style at least at the time, around age 8 or 9.

Didn't like it. Can't recall why i read it. The book was about a little girl named Audrey Rose (duh) that burned to death. I recall nothing from the book except for the unfortunate Audrey Rose crying "mommydaddymommydaddymommydaddyhothothothothot". It's creepy to me right now. But that stuck with me and never let go. Awful.