Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. tagged by ktsaurusr3x
- Childcraft Enclopedia, “About Animals.” When I was just a couple months old my dad went on Jeopardy. He won a little bit of money and these kids’ encyclopedias. There were separate volumes for different subjects, but I gravitated toward “About Animals” and literally read it cover to cover, and then revisited my favorite bits whenever I felt like reading anything. There were volumes on math, on plants, all sorts of subjects, but they all looked brand new except for the well-worn animals one.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. This is the only fiction book ever assigned to me that I didn’t hate out of the bitterness of having it assigned to me. It’s about an unpopular tween girl who bends time and space to save her brainy little brother and (in so doing) the universe.
- Encyclopedia Brown, multiple volumes. Whenever I found these at yard sales I bought them. They’re basically very short Sherlock Holmes mystery stories for pre-teens. Observation and deduction, and the bully always got his comeuppance.
- Cerebus: High Society by Dave Sim. No graphic novel has ever been re-read so many times and still produced so many tears of laughter.
- Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. A medium-defining text in the form of the medium itself. Explains simply and humbly why combining words with pictures results in the greatest art form ever invented.
- Taking Animals Seriously: Mental Life and Moral Status by David DeGrazia. An antidote to the histrionics of Peter Singer and his ilk, this book takes a reasoned, scientific approach to what “ethical treatment of animals” means. (Eating insects=ethical, eating cephalopods=not ethical)
- My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist by Mark Leyner. What if William S. Burroughs wrote comedic science fiction short stories? Matt Kilburn and I spent most of 1989 listening to Paul’s Boutique and reading out loud from this book to one another, laughing our asses off.
- Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution by Raymond Coppinger and Lorna Coppinger. The Coppingers argue convincingly that dogs are descended from wolves that “tamed” themselves, a necessary adaptation to feeding on human garbage.
9. Palestine by Joe Sacco. A gorgeous work of journalism in comic book form. Sacco gets the stories directly from Palestinians and Israelis and presents them unflinchingly (although he does depict his own pained expression fairly often). Should be a companion text to Maus.
10. Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer. The best science journalist currently working discusses the most important life forms in the world, and how they control the behavior and evolution of all other life forms.