Speaking of awards, here’s one I didn’t get. The Booker Award. I know I didn’t get it because my friend Elyse over at FiftyFourandaHalf just got it and didn’t pass it on to me! The one award I think I would really like, and I don’t get it. What’s up with that? And this award comes with a cool slogan, “For those who refuse to live in the real world.” That is so me, or the me I would like to be. Now, I’m sure she picked five deserving real world anarchists and I was probably number six so I was oh so close, but there has to be a numerical cutoff and I just didn’t squeeze in. Oh well.
I like Elyse. We have much in common. We live in fear of weredeer. And we like to read, not just books, but each other, though not in some weird weredeer way. We just read and enjoy each other’s blogs. If you haven’t read her blog, you should. Her acceptance speech was fabulous, but beware she can get feisty, especially about political stuff. I like feisty. You probably do, too, so you’ll like her.
But just because I didn’t get the award, doesn’t mean I can’t pretend like I won it and then follow the rules. This will be just the opposite of what I usually do when I win an award which is not follow the rules. But this rule I really liked. The other rules I’m going to ignore. But the unignored rule is to talk about your five favorite books or five most influential books or the five books that changed your worldview. It was something like that. When I realized I hadn’t been awarded this award, I went into a bit of a downward spiral and am just now starting to feel better. It was a rough thirty-five minutes for me, but I’m back. And I’m unclear of the exact wording of the rule but the number five and books were mentioned. I don’t want to revisit her post even though it is fabulous, to check on the wording because I know revisiting is rife with the potential for another downward spiral.
In any event, I’m using this opportunity of not accepting an award because I am not a Booker Awardee to write about five books. Now, just because this is a list with numbers doesn’t mean I’m assigning any one book a greater significance than another. All books are equal if not equally liked in my library with a garden view.
A list with numbers may seem an odd choice for a non-math person, but these are numbers I can live with and a couple of them are my favored numbers. Onward now to the list of five books that a non-Booker Awardee would recommend.
2. Dune by Frank Herbert.
7. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
69. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
25. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
It’s quite a list. I bet you’re curious about the pairing of specific favored numbers with specific books and the order in which they are listed. You’re wondering if there is some deep truth to be revealed by all these numbers and books. Or maybe you’re wondering when this will be over. It doesn’t matter. What matters is there is a certain brilliance to it all. It wasn’t planned. When I was thinking about what I would say about the numbers and books as I had listed them, I realized this weird connection and an undeniable truth because truth cannot be denied. It can be ignored, but not denied.
And I realized that the way it flowed and the truth revealed was brilliant. That doesn’t mean I’m brilliant, but the subconscious influence on the random pairings of random numbers with the first five books that came to mind in the top to down order previously listed and how the reasoning so beautifully connects is kind of brilliant. I attribute it mostly to simplicity and a purity of thought, whatever that means, and I think it means something different to different people.
It’s possible I’m overstating it a bit. It’s also possible I won’t be able to remember everything I thought that led me to believe it was brilliant. So many thoughts drifting through my mind, yet each so ethereal it vanishes as I reach for it. But I will give it a go.
2 is always an interesting dynamic. It can range from opposite ends of an extreme to barely different from each other. There is symmetry in 2, though not in the way the number looks, but in the way that it is an even number and even numbers imply balance. There is also the intoxicating possibility of true intimacy with another soul. Yes, 2 is a favored number.
Dune was a dazzling dance of imagination and philosophical concepts. I think I read it for the first time in college. There was something about it that immediately resonated with me. I was also fascinated with the “Fear is a mindkiller” philosophy presented in the book. Though looking back, perhaps I should have taken that philosophy more to heart.
I have always had a thing for 7. I think it’s because I was born in the 7th month. I like the look of 7, too. There is a simplicity and yet 7 can take on so many tiny variations. 7 is also a strange combination of bold and shy. It has that forward top thrust to the right, but then the line calms down and lands a little to the left. Yes, 7 is an interesting number.
Cat’s Cradle was my first Vonnegut. I discovered him in college and fell hard. Several more books followed. I was entranced by a new perspective on the world. Vonnegut helped me to realize that the best way to travel through life is with an open mind. Keeping a mind open isn’t always easy, but it is definitely a better way to go. Sometimes the most amazing thing about an open mind is what eventually takes hold. It can be a surreal journey.
There is a beautiful symmetry to 69. It looks a bit like depictions of yin and yang and it has a circular yet not quite connected feel to it. It also looks like the traditional symbol for my astrological sign. That might explain some things to those who follow astrological stuff. I follow astronomy stuff. I know astrology stuff, that’s how I know about the symbol, but I don’t follow it. It being astrology and not the symbol, though in this case it’s almost the same thing.
I read The Lathe of Heaven when I was in my twenties and it blew me away. Well, not literally because I’m still here, but figuratively. It is about dreams that change reality with the underlying theme of be careful what you wish for. It is an excellent read.
25 was a great age. It’s that time in life when you don’t need much to be happy though many of us forget this lesson rather quickly. It is also about the time your life begins on a path. Sometimes the path just sort of takes on a life of its own and you simply follow it to its conclusion. Sometimes the path makes a sharp turn. And sometimes you get so far down the path and the farther you go, the less you feel like you. You’re not sure you will be able to find your way to another path, but try you must. Yes, 25 teems with possibilities.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind was required reading in a college class on Zen Buddhism. It is not so much about keeping your mind open as it is about discovering what your own mind is and then emptying your mind to connect to a universal consciousness. It is a journey to selflessness. This is a book I return to again and again.
1 is a lonely number or so the song goes. I think of 1 as strong, independent, resilient, but it also represents unity. There is but one way for each of us to follow to spiritual enlightenment though we may take different paths before we realize the commonalities and discard the superfluous. Achieving oneness with the universe and the underlying energy that connects all living things requires not just an open, tolerant mind but a selfless mind.
I read To Kill A Mockingbird earlier this year. I was familiar with the story and saw the movie when I was a kid, but never read the book until this year. It is brilliant. I think it should be required reading for everyone. It is the antithesis of Randian philosophy. It is a beautiful celebration of integrity, honesty, tolerance, compassion and understanding. It helps us to realize that we can never truly know another until we are willing to see the world from another’s point of view.
Not only did you get my non-Booker Awardee picks for five books that had an impact on me and not because they fell on my head from a great distance, but you also got a glimpse of the philosophy that guides me unless I lose sight of the path and that sometimes happens. But I pull the weeds that blur the edges and then the way becomes clear again.
So thanks, Elyse, for not giving me the Booker Award. By not giving me an award, you inspired a post that may prove to be inspiring to others to write a post about what inspires them.