Monday, February 11, 2008

Broaden My Horizons

Has this ever happened to you? You're watching Jeopardy, and a clue about some musty old tome by Proust or Dickens comes up, and you shoot out the answer like you were the author's best friend? Then, as the first commercial break begins you realize that while you may have heard of Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, the only reason you can answer any question about it is because someone else got it wrong three seasons ago? This happens to me all the time. Little snippets of data are lodged in my brain and come out sounding like full-fledged knowledge when they more closely resemble the wafer-thin skin of a grape. We have discussed 'The Classics' here before, and my general ignorance thereof, and I have tried to rectify that over the last couple of years. I read The Catcher In The Rye, and it was a fun read. I tried to read Moby Dick, but Melville rambles so far and so often from the main story that I lost interest. I tried to read 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but Verne's main goal seemed more to list the Latin taxonomies of every marine species known to men at the time rather than to tell a tale. And my most recent failure, Don Quixote, just seemed to go on forever. So here's where you come in. Tell me of a classic novel that you think is something no human should go to the grave in ignorance of.

And here's a bonus question. I was trying to think about the first non-children's song I ever remember hearing. I am pleased to say that mine is Bungalo Bill, by The Beatles. I say I'm pleased because it is one of the more absurdist songs they ever recorded, and I'm rather fond of absurdism. So what's your earliest musical recollection?

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, amen.



Stinkypaw said...

It was a Johny Cash song, "Ring of Fire"...

Monkey said...

I've got to skip the book thing- as I am a ringer but music? My first 45 I ever bought was a Beach Boys 45 at a rummage sale "Surfin' USA"

Alysoun said...

First non-kids song I remember hearing?

"I wanna hold your hand" by the Beatles.

Classic book you MUST read and CANNOT live another minute without?
"The Plague," by Albert Camus.

Bonus; Classic novel you SHOULD never read because about 80 pages in you'll want to HANG yourself?
"Vanity Fair," by William Thackeray. Only book I could NOT finish.

Turtle said...

I have to agree with "Vanity Fair". Gack.

Hmmm.... Books... "Heart of Darkness" by Conrad is an excellent insight into the darkness of human character, but a bit of a hard read, owing to the different writing style of the time... Still an excellent book.

"Jane Eyre" by Bronte.

"Call of the Wild" by London.

"Kim" by Rudyard Kipling.

For pure silliness, and the recapturing of youth, "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. Everyone should own a copy.

To be honest, I really don't remember the first "adult" song I heard...

celebhith said...

"Lord Jim" made an indelible impression on me,as did "Animal Farm". . . the first "adult" song of my era (not my parents') that I recall is "100 Pounds of Clay," by Gene McDaniel (and no, NOT Clay Aiken! For once, there is NO connection!).