September 13, 2006
One Book Meme

I've been tagged so here goes:

1. One book that changed my life: Although it is overly dramatic to say it changed my life, when I read Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom in college I realized that I had left behind my liberal Democrat upbringing (when I was a child my father had a McGovern pin on the visor of his car) and embraced liberty.

2. One Book I've Read More Than Once: Steve Landsburg's The Armchair Economist. A bit contrarian but a fun read.

3. One Book I Would Want on a Desert Island: I'm tempted to say The Wealth of Nations so I'd finally have an opportunity to read all of it, but the depressing circumstances of being stuck on an island leads me to choose something humorous. My choice--Parliament of Whores by O'Rourke.

4. One Book that Made Me Laugh: I've used O'Rourke already and it's tempting to choose an early offering from Tom Wolfe, but let's go with A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. My hiking buddy Chris gave me a copy and it's a stitch. Although Bryson is a bit crunchy for my taste he also ridicules the Forest Service for its ineptitude.

5. One Book that Made Me Cry: I haven't read any 9/11 books but one of those would almost certainly do the trick. The sheer evil of 9/11 upsets me more than most tragedies; I remember taking my son (then about 4 months old) home that afternoon and wondering what sort of world my wife and I had brought him into. (BTW, like Brad, I am offended by folks--like here and here--who think 9/11 is some sort of government conspiracy. There's a difference between favoring limited government and being just plain nuts.) As for a book I've actually read--All But My Life by Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein.

6. One Book that I Wish Had Been Written: Something by me. I don't mean to sound flippant or narcissistic; I mean it as an indicator of respect for people who have written books.

7. One Book I Wish Had Not Been Written: Instead of serious answer like The Communist Manifesto, I'll offer a somewhat whimsical one--my father wrote a chitlin cookbook. A truly awful concept; fortunately, I had left home before he started trying these out on the family. My father has also written several local history books, perhaps similar to the one on Granville OH that Brad is reading. I only wish he'd stuck to history and left the stomach churning cooking to someone else.

8. One Book I'm Currently Reading: The Shackled Continent by Robert Guest. The human misery inflicted by predatory African governments would actually make this book a good candidate for the made me cry category.

9. One Book I've Been Meaning to Read: I have a draft of JC Bradbury's forthcoming The Baseball Economist that I've been meaning to read. Technically it probably shouldn't be considered a book yet since it hasn't yet been published. Instead, I'll go with Bees in America by Tammy Horn; I hope to have a bout of nostalgia thinking about the fun I had keeping bees as a kid.

Now to pay the tag forward--I'll tag Aeon Skoble, George Leef, and co-bloggers Tim Shaughnessy, Michael Munger, and Mike DeBow.

Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 05:13 PM in Culture

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. -Adam Smith

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