1. One book that changed your life: The Preaching Life by Barbara Brown Taylor. Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest in Georgia, writes like a poet and preaches in a way I had never experienced before. Reading her book (which is both a memoir of her calling and a collection of a few sermons), smashed all my stereotypes of preachers and preaching, gave me a whole new understanding of what preaching could be and was instrumental in helping me recognize that I was called to preach.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Brilliant, subversive and delightful. I read this in high school and then read it again earlier this year, after seeing the movie. Austen is a master of the form.
3. One book you’d want on a deserted island: Hmmm, this is a toughie. I should probably say Don Quixote since I couldn't get through it the first time I tried 2 years ago and on a deserted island maybe I'd have more time and focus. But the truth is, a knitting book would probably keep me entertained and occupied for a lot longer (assuming I also had yarn and needles, which of course I would, but even if I didn't My Old Man can attest to the fact that I read and reread knitting books even when I'm not working a pattern from them). It would be a tough call, but I guess I'd choose Mason-Dixon Knitting since I haven't knit anything from it yet.
4. One book that made you laugh: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. Wickedly funny. I love me some Sedaris.
5. One book that made you cry: The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate by Marjorie Williams. Marjorie Williams was a brilliant journalist for the Washington Post who died last year of liver cancer (outliving predictions of her death by about 4 years). She left behind a husband and two young children. This book is a collection of her best columns, along with personal essays. Her husband collected these and published them after her death. She was a brilliant writer, and an incisive analyst of politics and political figures. I was devastated by the personal essays and found myself reading through tears numerous times. [I actually could've listed any numbers of books that have made me cry, as I tend to cry easily and to pick books that induce such.]
6. One book you wish had been written: Oh, probably any of the several novels I have either conceived of or actually started writing over the last 25 years.
7. One book you wish had never been written: Mein Kampf.
8. One book you’re currently reading: Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor. It's a little unnerving when a preaching icon like Taylor decides she's had enough of parish life. But I couldn't not read it, and it is every bit as moving and inspiring as every other book of hers.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I originally postponed this one because I didn't think I could handle another death book right after The Woman at the Washington Zoo. But that was 7 months ago. Don't know what my excuse is now.