Thursday, September 21, 2006

So I took up the challenge

That is the Tippler's challenge

1.One book that changed your life - the hardest question first.
This is worrying but true, John Locke's Second Treatise on Government. It provided a structure to a great quantity of thoughts and ideas that had been blowing around my mind for years and explained to me how a range of what I thought were disparate ideas all coalesced into an identifiable whole. Sounds oh so fat headed but, well, sorry about that.

2. One book that you've read more than once.
Lots, but the ones that come most immediately to mind are the Hannay adventures by John Buchan. The 39 Steps, Greenmantle and the like sterling stuff. Generally about goodness and pluck in adversity

3. One book that you'd want on a desert island.
Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. Two reasons. Firstly it is packed with deeper and deeper insights into the unchanging aspects of the human condition. Second it is very very long, thus providing the literary equivalent of painting the Forth Bridge. By the time you have finished it you have forgotten the beginning.

4. One book that made you laugh.
Again lots. Lord, I laugh at daily papers, politics and think tank tomes. But deliberately, 1066 and all That by Sellar and Yeatman, Hitchhikers trilogy, Woodhouse, Flashman.

5. One book that made you cry.
Don't often cry over books unless I have left the in a pub at the point where I get to the last chapter. Definitely felt prickles over Anne Applebaum's Gulag. William Barnses' poems can do it too.

6. One book that you wish you had written.
The Book of Common Prayer. The lyricism and cadence of its language, the pungence of its phraseology, and the fact that it was linguistically out of date when it was written but has been such a powerful influence on the English language and the thus the way that public and private discourse has been shaped for hundreds of years. Otherwise The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, astounding and utterly engrossing novel in a lunchtime. Changes the way one looks at the world for ages afterwards.

7. One book you wish had never been written.

The Social Contract. If that numpty Rousseau hadn't come up up with the idea that man is naturally good, then all those idiots who believe that we can be made good by law or regulation wouldn't have got their stupid ideas. Marx, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot the whole lot base their ideas on the perfectability of man on the Swiss hypocrite.

8. One book that you are reading at the moment.
Lord Cochrane's Memoirs of a Fighting Captain, Terry Pratchett's Going Postal and Booker and North's history of the EU, The Great Deception

9. One book that you've been meaning to read.
One? Take me to a bookshop and I will show you a hundred

10. Five others that you'd like to do this.
Richard North, but far to frivolous for him, The Aunt, Guido, Harry, Didi

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