Librarians should talk about books while they still exist…

November 19, 2006


Well here’s another idea ripped off from Jason Hammond’s blog.  To check out the original here .


One book that changed your life?

Class Warfare: Interviews with David Barsamian

Noam Chomsky

Not a novel but there are limits to how inspiring fiction can be.  This collection of interviews of Noam Chomsky was the gateway book to so many things I couldn’t possibly delineate.  The most important thing I got from any of Chomsky’s works is the importance of critical thinking when digesting information from any source.  Genuine critical thinking is something that seems to be actively subverted from the time we begin school but if we really want to understand the world it is essential that we reclaim the intellectual defence mechanisms that were once innate.  

One book you have read more than once?

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

Well I’ve already recommended this book before and even if you only have a tangential familiarity with the music of the time it is worth every second of time you spend with it.  The execution of the book is brilliant.  Don’t wait, read it today!

 One book you would want on a desert island?

The Portable Beat Reader

Ed. Ann Charters

Also from Jason’s Hammond’s list is the idea that I’d want something with various content that I would want to read multiple times.  I couldn’t think of anything better than the beat writers, whose works never go stale no matter how long they stay on the shelf. 

One book that made you laugh?

Slaughter-House Five

Kurt Vonnegut

It was the darkest humour in literature I had read up to that point and it really set me off into the realm of absurdist black-comedy as subversive social/political critique, something I would later find in Czech literature and film. 

One book that made you cry?

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

No book has made me cry but it’s a book that has more emotional attachment for me than most others.  Maybe it can be a tie with Catcher In the Rye by Salinger.   

One book you wish had never been written?

Well I don’t believe in any form of censorship including wishing a book out of existence .  However, works by Milton Friedman, while not really responsible for the rise of neo-liberal economics personally as no one in actually believes these ideas outside of economics departments.  His ideas formed an ideological basis for the dismantling of the new deal welfare state and the slow disintegration of barriers to international capital movement.  These may sound like neutral, abstract, or academic terms but they have real world consequences that have been disastrous for billions of people. 

One book you are currently reading?

Swann’s Way

Marcel Proust

The first volume of In Search of Lost Time, of which I plan to read the rest of the volumes. 

One book you have been meaning to read?

Dead Souls

Nikolay Gogol

I’ve picked this book up a few times but have gotten distracted for some reason or another.  I can’t think of a set of writer’s I’ve enjoyed more than the Russian writers from Eugene Onegin by Aleksandr Pushkin to The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.  It’s hard to find a corrolory period and place where there was such a density of production of literature of that calibre.


One Response to “Librarians should talk about books while they still exist…”

  1. ShivyD Says:

    Hi Mr. Librarian,
    I liked your book critique. I agree with you that Catcher in the Rye is an emotionally powerful book- others on your list I know very little about but I’m intrigued to read them..
    How you likin that Proust? Someone cool must have recommended it to you.. 😉
    Well peace out, keep up the readin!
    ShivyD 🙂

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