Friday, January 15, 2010

451 Fridays

451 Fridays is based on an idea from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In his novel, a group of people (Bradbury calls them Book People) are trying to keep the ideas found in books alive. Instead of actually saving the books, the Book People each "become" a book - memorizing it, word for word, and passing it down to the next generation.

451 Fridays asks what books you feel passionate about. What book do you think is so important that you would be willing to take on the challenge of "becoming"?

For our first 451 Fridays feature of 2010, I'm happy to welcome Jeanne, of Necromancy Never Pays. (Yep, that's really her blog name. To find out why, pay her a visit.) Jeanne can just about always talk me into reading whatever she's most recently reviewed, and she occasionally does Trivial Pursuit for Book Lovers posts, which are a lot of fun. Welcome, Jeanne!

What 5 books do you believe are important enough to be saved, and why?

Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

This is one of the first books I ever loved so deeply that the love has remained untarnished by sentimentalism into my adulthood. I named my first child Eleanor after both the 12th century Queen of Aquitaine and the flower of Lorien (also Sam Gamgee’s daughter).

Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

I identify strongly with all the characters in this novel, in turn. The ridiculousness of the Pearl’s desire to have “extra” children is so pathetic, for instance, and seems to me so true to life.

Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Because I can’t forget Codi’s question “Didn’t you ever fly in your dreams?” and Loyd’s reply “Only when I was real close to flying in real life.”

Shakespeare, Othello

Can there be any more impassioned and deluded utterance in the entire English language than Othello’s “It is the cause”?

Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Through ridicule and absurdity it makes some serious points, but its readers are laughing too hard to mind.

Of those 5, which book would you choose to "become"?

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Favorite quotes from that book, so we know why you love it so much?

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering. It has been built on the fragmented remains of…it will be built on the fragmented…that is to say it will have been built by this time, and indeed has been—

One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidentally becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can’t cope with. There is no problem about changing the course of history—the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveler’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own mother or father.

Most readers get as far as the Future Seminconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term “Future Perfect” has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be.

Jeanne, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us YOUR list of books which must be saved.

I've decided to make 451 Fridays a bi-weekly feature; my well of participants is running a little dry, and this will allow me to keep the feature running as long as possible. As always, if you or someone you know is interested in participating, please let me know!

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