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Published on September 11th, 2006 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Tag! I’m It…

Shea blog-tagged me on this post about books. I’m usually terrible about following up on these, but since I missed contributing to TH’s “What We’re Reading” post, and since Shea’s been such a good blog-bud, I wanted to make sure to get this one up. The subject: books in my life.

A book that changed my life

It’s probably a cliche’ to claim this one in green blogging circles, but what the hell: Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael. The ideas Quinn presents in this book and its sequels The Story of B and My Ishmael literally changed the way I view the world and human beings’ relationship to it. An invaluable work that I return to frequently… and one of the major motivators for starting sustainablog.

Books I’ve Read More Than Once

Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. This little novella really packs a punch: in 140 pages, Pynchon creates an alternative explanation for the forces that shaped Euro-American history. It’s also funny as hell at points, and will have you looking over your shoulder for a few days.

A variety of Shakespeare’s plays. Should all students read Shakespeare? I don’t know. But I do know that after 500 years, his work does truly stand the test of time. Shakespeare could make you laugh, cry and think very hard all in the same play, and always understood what worked on stage. My current favorite: King Lear. One that I think is incredibly underrated: The Merchant of Venice.

Books I’d take with me if I were stuck on a desert island.

Tough call. Probably Quinn’s books, a few Carl Hiaasen mysteries, a few James Lee Burke mysteries. Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce. A few David Mamet plays to perform if there are any other primates on the island (I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Mamet’s work).

A Book that made me laugh

John Grisham’s The Rainmaker. The Carl Hiaasen novels mentioned above. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels. Any collection of Calvin and Hobbes.

A Book I wish I had written

Hmmmm… John Grisham’s A Time to Kill.

A book I’ve been meaning to read

John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.

Books I’m currently reading

Lester Brown’s Plan B 2.0 — phenomenal! (Thanks, Tod!)

James Patterson’s London Bridges — started it on the plane last week.

My turn to tag, so… Tod Brilliant, Siel (you didn’t think I’d miss a fellow English major), and Mikhail Capone — you’re it!




About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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