Friday, March 16, 2007

Time for a meme

Now that the Miles Franklin longlist has been announced, Peter Debnam has all but conceded the NSW election, and Senator Santo Santoro has, astonishingly, resigned after the double-backhanded shares/donations/God-botherin' wimmin-hatin' scam, it's time (as Ampersand Duck would say) to Remember to Breathe.

So I have asked Suse at Pea Soup to give me a letter for the Scrabble meme, and she has given me an E; the rules are that you have to write a list of beautiful things that you like and that begin with the letter that has been allocated to you. But that is quite hard and needs to be thought about, so while I'm thinking about it, here's another one instead, one with only two questions.

(And thanks to Fyodor the Blogless for the suggestion.)

You are one of the people at the end of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and you have elected to memorise a book, to save it for posterity. Which book, among all others, would you choose?

And -- no abstaining allowed, either, so let's say you have to throw one book on the fire in order to be allowed to memorise another one -- which book would you burn?

Feel free to explain yourself, if you wish. Or not. Whatever blows your hair back, as my friend Leonie would say.

For me it would depend on what day it was, but today I'd burn, oh, say, Men are From the Planet of the Apes (and Women are From Toorak Road) or whatever the hell it's called, so I could earn the right to memorise The Tempest. 'Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises / Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.'

Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are corals made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Hark, now I hear them
Hark, now I hear them
Ding dong bell


Mindy said...

Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson. All you literary people can memorise the smart stuff and I'll remember one for the kiddies. Not to mention that it is probably still my fav book.

Genevieve said...

Mindy has a point. I might go for The Little Prince in French, I think. And burn one of those pop psych gender slicing books, as you've suggested.

Meredith said...

It would be a sad new world without Where the Wild Things are. Continuing the Jewish theme, I'd burn something by that holocaust denier, David thingumy.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Hmm, this thread is already an interesting test of Godwin's Law.

Bradbury's trope of book-burning is a clear allusion to Hitler. Meredith has upped the ante with the words 'Jewish' and 'holocaust'.

But nobody has as yet actually mentioned Hitler, and AFAICS this isn't an 'argument' as such.

Does someone actually have to use the word 'Hitler' or 'Nazi'*, and does it have to be an actual argument, fo Godwin's Law to apply?

* I have now, of course, but I'd argue that that was meta and therefore doesn't count.

Mindy said...

Well since I haven't said what book I would burn I think it would have to be Mein Kampf, by that Nazi guy, Hitler.

Does that help?

Pavlov's Cat said...


Cozalcoatl said...

I love Fahrenheit 451, but isn't the memorising of the books at the end movie version not the book. I really liked the movie aswell . Not that it matters at all. Must go reread again.

I love 'Which Witch' Mindy. 'Ever day in every way I'm getting blacker and blacker..."

I really can't think at the moment which I would choose...ummm
'Blue Castle' by L.M Montgomery cause its sweet.

I would burn (and wanted to) a Homeopathic healing book i found in our collection when moving....uggh god know how it got there.

TimT said...

No, the memorising of books occurs at the end of the written novel too.

Hmmm ... I would possibly memorise Edmund Spencer's 'The Fairy Queen'. If that was unavailable, perhaps the collected fables of James Thurber.

I have two books by Eva Ibbotson, both of which are marvellous: I must buy 'Which Witch' ASAP!

Anonymous said...

I'd memorise "Comet In Moominland" and quite happily burn any or all so-called "self help" books.

ThirdCat said...

I would memorise Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy (omnibus edition, so technically I'd memorise all four books in the trilogy), and then burn it so that I could pretend I was the one with all the answers to everything and I would be the new Boss of the World.

Pavlov's Cat said...

ThirdCat: 42.

Sorry -- 42, Ma'am.

lucy tartan said...

Meredith, aren't there about six words in Where the Wild Things Are?

I would memorise The Importance of Being Earnest, and burn 'A New Simpler French Course' by W.F.H. Whitmarsh.

Bernice said...

Memorise: VW's Street Haunting
Burn: Anything that came to hand of Jeffrey Archer - (cf. english language post WWII link to Godwin's Law)
In fact as autumn seeps its promise of winter cold upon the highlands, I could do with some dry kindling...

audrey said...

I thought the point initially was to burn books that you love? A true sacrifice for a true gain.

In which case, I'd probably force myself to burn the spectacular "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith in order to memorise "Pride and Prejudice" - the latter of which is traditionally typical I know, but gosh darned it, so clever and funny.

Would you give me a scrabble letter please Dr. Cat?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Audrey, I think in introducing the idea of burning a book that one loves, you have added a complex new moral dimension. It's a sacrifice because of the sinister meanings implicit in burning any book. I didn't want to make it TOO difficult.

Re Scrabble, even though I have not done my own yet, I think the element of not being allowed to choose one's own letter is important. There must be at least one non-variable in any game, otherwise (as Auden said about writing free verse) there is no fun.

I therefore grant you an M. Use it well, Grasshopper.

TimT said...

There's something about the wilful destruction of art that feels wrong. The destruction of architecture during war, the burning or smashing of musical instruments, the explosion of Afghanistan's stone Buddhas... all for me fall into the same category as the burning of books. Some 1400 years after the event, the final destruction of the books in the library of Alexandria is still remembered.

Firedoor said...

Book to memorise: Candide, en francais, s'il faut. Still makes me laugh after all these years.

Book to burn: it's too easy to put something crap in here (e.g. anything to do with vegetarian cooking springs to mind), so from (moderately) SERIOUS/Teh Literatoor books I propose Terry Brooks' "The Sword of Shannara", for being such a piss-poor ripoff of Tolkien. Also, anything by Matt Reilly could be safely immolated with minimal collateral cultural damage. I'll stop there, as my latent fascist is beginning to enjoy this too much.

boynton said...

Re: Meme
Would a Random Scrabble tile be useful here?
Or is the granting of the letter part of it?