A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen Number 4: Pages of my Life


1. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. A beautiful, beautiful book. One of the abiding principles of my life is this: "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

2. Sweet Thursday, by John Steinbeck. With its companion Cannery Row, we get the lighter side of John Steinbeck. And you know, some days ARE no damn good.

3. Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein. Actually, anything by Heinlein is an abiding interest for me. He was my favorite science fiction writer ever. Front!

4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. The thing about the whale and the flowers? Hysterical!

5. Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse. Another metaphysical book. I read all the Hesse I could find after this, and truly enjoyed it.

6. The Code of the Woosters, by P. G. Wodehouse. What's a lad to do when his Aunt demands that he pinch a cow creamer or be banished from the table of the peerless Anatole? He says, "Right ho," and waits for Jeeves to save the day. If you don't laugh at these stories, you don't laugh at anything.

7. The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien. An entire world that draws the reader in. I visit there at least once a year.

8. And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes, by Angie Debo. Miss Debo was the premier Oklahoma historian, and her account of the treatment of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole nations was a groundbreaking work that made me want to study history.

9. Crocodile on the Sandbank, by Elizabeth Peters. This book introduces the intrepid Amelia Peabody, an amateur Egyptologist during the Victorian era. It's mystery and a love story, without all the mushy stuff. Perfect.

10. The Seven Storey Mountain,by Thomas Merton. The story of one man's search for peace in his soul.

11. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig. My English teacher in my junior year recommended this to me, and I will be forever grateful.

12. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T. E. Lawrence. This man had a vision. Even if half of it is true, this is still a magnificent story.

13. Dune, by Frank Herbert. The book was so much better than the film. Kyle MacLachlan, tchah!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. ron davison
2. one gal's musings
3. culbert's classroom
4. miss profe
5. west of mars

..... You're next!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


At 2/8/07, 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good T13! I knew some of the books on your list but not all. I loved the Lord of the Rings and Dune. Although I wasn't a teenager when I read it, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver really drew me in.

You can see my T13 at http://www.culbertclassroom.org/thoughts

Happy Thursday!

At 2/8/07, 7:31 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

I was enthralled with Hesse too for a while, and I still adore Siddhartha. I love teaching it too.

Somehow his book, Beneath the Wheels, I think, was so depressing that I stopped reading him altogether.

If you like Steinbeck's playful side, you can't miss Tortilla Flats.

Love the line from To Kill a Mockingbird and expect to steal it soon. I also loved Stranger in a Strange Land as a teen, but I doubt I'd grok it half as much nowadays.

If you haven't read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and its half-dozen consistently excellent sequels, you're missing something extraordinary.

At 2/8/07, 8:53 PM, Blogger The Gal Herself said...

Love your list. It reminds me that I STILL haven't read any Wodehouse. One of those authors I mean to get to, really, I do. The most influential book of my high school years was Gatsby. The prose was gorgeous, and the whole "ends don't justify the means" message really got through.
My decidedly less intellectual T13 is at http://onegalsmusings.blogspot.com

At 2/9/07, 12:13 AM, Blogger Ron Davison said...

Now that was fun to do. Thanks for the prompt to recall old friends. You can find my list at

At 2/9/07, 7:21 AM, Anonymous Miss Profe said...

Your TT is a testament that there are too many books, and too little time. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my all-time childhood faves. Great TT post!

At 2/9/07, 2:56 PM, Blogger graycie said...

Six out of 13 -- Mockingbird, Stranger, Hitchhiker's Guide, Lord of the Rings, Motorcycle Maintenance, Dune -- We really must be sisters under the skin -- I do have to admit that I was way past my teenage years when I read them.

At 2/9/07, 4:18 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I read Poinsonwood Bible as an adult, and really liked it.

NYC- I think my favorite Hesse was Damien, but I never read Beneath the Wheels. Thanks for the warning. i also loved Tortilla Flat and the Wayward Bus-- if you know me, you know I am obsessive about authors I like. And you are scaring me-- I have read every one of he Ladies Detective Agency books!

gal-- while I enjoyed Gatsby, I guess I got a biyt impatient about Gatsby himself. And really, make some time for the Wodehouse. It is absolute tonic for what ails you-- especially when mixed with a bit of Scotch.

Ron, I loved your TT. I am honored you shared your thirteen books!

Miss Profe, you have summed up my credo.

Graycie, but of course we are!

At 2/9/07, 4:34 PM, Blogger Susan Helene Gottfried said...

WOW. I ws expecting more traditional ones -- Catcher in the Rye, more Steinbeck, Hemingway -- but you really did a lot of cool reading!!!

Happy TT from your designated Meet-and-Greeter at West of Mars.

At 2/9/07, 9:32 PM, Blogger Jill said...

I wanted to come earlyer, but forgot!! And now since you are the first one that I didn't comment on, here I come!!
I've try reading LOTR the fellowship this summer, and got bored after150 pages(but I've adored the movie!!) And for myself, I don't remember liking reading To kill a Mockingbird!(My only english class book that we had to read)
For me, the book I've recall touching me in my teenage years are:
-The twelve days queens
-Ces enfants d'ailleurs by Arlette Cousture(Sorry, don't know the name of the translated tittle!!)


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