Sunday, October 19, 2008

tags or elements

Finally a web-meme I can get into! Over at Mother Tongue Annoyances (a blog) I found the following meme (link) tacked on to the end of a funny rant on Henry “Dick” Miller:

A simple, two-step approach for generating your own, fully personalized, 21st century, Web 2.0-based reading list:

  1. Make a list of the top three books that have influenced your life, and make a note of the authors’ names
  2. Visit Literature-Map, plug each author name into the text box (one at a time, naturally) and generate a cloud of related authors. That ought to keep you busy for a while!

Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.

OK. Easy enough. My three life-changing books, off the cuff, were:

  • Voltaire, Candide. [map]
  • Joris-Karl Huysman, À Rebours. [map]
  • Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop. [map]

The first thing which struck me was the name juxtaposed to Voltaire’s, i.e., Scott Adams. In Paris, I once stayed at a hotel on the quai de Voltaire (across the Seine from the Louvre), and that key was named so because the building in which Voltaire spent the last years of his life and in which he died, then housed a café on its ground floor. I ate a lovely breakfast there, with strong coffee, croissant, and plum preserves. On the other hand, I once taught a Java class for a cohort of masters students from Pacific Bell, before it morphed into SBC and finally lapsed back into AT&T. Knowing that the author of Dilbert had worked there for years, I asked each student on the first night of class to introduce themselves, give any programming experience, and tell me the best story they knew about Scott Adams when he worked there. The only memorable story was that one of the students knew the woman engineer that the character Alice was based on. Go ahead and check out the maps for each of my three chosen authors. I did and enjoyed the fact that I had read works by about 50% of them.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Kalleh said...

Z, I love it! Those maps are wonderful. I am working on mine now. Thank you!

October 21, 2008 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

Oooh - I'm taking this to my blog! Great site! It does odd things with children's authors, too - lol.

October 29, 2008 at 4:59 AM  

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