Well, it had to happen some time. I've been tagged by Zippy with the book meme that's been going around. No I have to figure out what book changed my life other than Lord of the Rings and the Bible if I'm to not blend in with everyone else.
1. One book that changed your life: Plato's Dialogues -- My father very wisely put the basic dialogues of Plato in my way at age 14, which must be the height of what Sayers calls the "pert age". I'm far from being a complete Platonist, but hitting me as they did at just the right age, some of Plato's basic ideas like the relation of "the Good" to the gods (Euthephro) have become very deeply ingrained in my thinking.
2. One book that you've read more than once: Brideshead Revisited -- I've probably read Brideshead more times than Lord of the Rings, which is impressive since I started reading it three or four years later than LotR.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Dante's Divine Comedy -- At a practical level, I'd pick the bible first, but since so many other people had picked that, I figured I'd pick a runner-up. The Comedia rolls religion, philosophy, beautiful poetry and memorable characters into one package. If I had to read only one piece of literature for the rest of my life, that would be it.
4. One book that made you laugh: Three Men In A Boat -- Need one say more?
5. One book that made you cry: The Smith of Wooten Major by Tolkien -- a quiet but incredibly powerful little book which always leaves me misty-eyed.
6. One book that you wish had been written: The Return of the Shadow -- Some years after finishing Lord of the Rings, Tolkien started work on a sequel to be title The Return of the Shadow, which was to be "a supernatural thriller" dealing with an "orc cult" springing up among the men of Numenor a generation or two after the War of the Ring. He abandoned the project after writing a couple chapters.
7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Koran -- It may be un-ecumenical to say so, but if there's one book which has resulted in more blood and loss of souls from the Church, I can't think of it. Eat your hearts out, Freud and Marx.
8. One book you're currently reading: I'll cheat and list two, I'm actively reading A War Like No Other by Victor Davis Hanson (about the Peloponnesian War) in my spare time, but I've also been working (very slowly) through the 12 books of Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time for just over five years, since MrsDarwin and I got married. (My Dad gave me the set as a wedding present.) One of the best sets of novels from the post-war period, Dance to the Music of Time spans some forty years of story time and is in some ways like an English Remembrance of Things Past, which makes it a perfect work to read on and off over a long period.
9. One book you've been meaning to read: Again, I'll cheat and mention two: Modern Physics and Ancient Faith by Stephen M. Barr and also Worlds Apart, A Journey to the Great Living Monasteries of Europe by Tudor Edwards.
Tagging: The ATP, the Opinionated Homeschooler, and the LogEyed Roman. And since the "two shall become one" I shouldn't be surprised if MrsDarwin followed up with her own picks.