Playing favorites

At some point in the ongoing set of “biblioblogosphere” discussions, I believe someone suggested that I should go ahead and list my “favorite blogs” and why they are my favorites–just as a number of people have now commented on lesser-known blogs they particularly like.

I haven’t done that, partly for the same reason I’m uncomfortable with a number of surveys: Something that became pointed when, a few years ago, the person who arranged a speech and who learned that I read science fiction asked me to name my five favorite science fiction authors.

I couldn’t. For some reason, my mind doesn’t seem to work that way.

I can’t give you a list of my five favorite science fiction authors, or my five favorite books, or my five favorite cuisines, or my five favorite movies, or my five favorite cruise destinations, or my five favorite songs or albums or musicians…or, for that matter, even my five favorite magazines. And certainly not my five favorite weblogs.

Or, for that matter, my single favorite in any of those categories.

[Yes, I can name my favorite cruise lines, but only within the relatively narrow confines of those I've been on, and within the small realm of cruise lines in general. Crystal, Radisson Seven Seas, Windstar, *maybe* Delta Queen. But since there's only one other surviving cruise line that we've been on--as well as a bunch of bankrupt or otherwise-departed lines, that's not a very meaningful list.]

I’m not claiming broad experience or a love of diversity or any of that nonsense. I just don’t seem to choose favorites in a lot of areas, at least not that I’m aware of. It may be a failing; it may just be a personality quirk. (I may not be normal, but nobody is, as Willie Nelson sez.)

Oddly enough, this allows me to check off a note that’s been in my “blog or C&I ideas” notebook for a long time–maybe a long time because it’s a personal post rather than an “about” post. It’s a piece of an unlikely-to-be-written memoir…

6 Responses to “Playing favorites”

  1. Meredith Says:

    I know I have trouble listing favorites, because, at least in my case, my favorites change so often. This is partly because of my own changing tastes, but also because the things themselves are changing. Right now there are certain blogs I love to read because they are writing really thought-provoking or entertaining stuff. In a few weeks, they might be in a writing slump and another blogger may be writing great stuff. Restaurants can be fabulous one night and just so-so the next time you visit. Same with cruise lines and hotels. It’s hard to rank stuff like that because we’re constantly adding new experiences to the pile that change our views. I’d be hard-pressed to name my favorite movies and I doubt I’d ever name the same 5 twice. Well… Annie Hall would probably be somewhere on every list. :)

  2. Dorothea Salo Says:

    I thought I was the only one whose mind went blank when asked for favorites. Doesn’t always happen (I can name my favorite SF author — LeGuin), but often enough to be noticeable.

    Please write that memoir. I’d buy it.

  3. walt Says:

    When I wrote First Have Something to Say, I thought of that as about as close to a memoir as I’d be likely to write. That’s probably still true, for a number of reasons. I am, frankly, not all that interesting a subject–and I haven’t kept notes.

    I mean, come on: One marriage (27.5 years and counting, entirely faithful). An absurdly functional family (except maybe for my brother-in-law the Intelligent Design leader). Grew up neither affluent nor needy (Received $0 scholarship support at UC Berkeley–but back then, you didn’t need much money to go there), in a family that respected intelligence and reading without shoving anything down our throats. No children. Two employers over nearly 40 years. No bouts with various addictions or breakdowns. No blazing career path (no career path at all, actually). What kind of a memoir would that make? Insufficient conflict; insufficient triumphing over the odds; just not a fascinating story.

    My writing is a matter of public record, as is some of my speaking (which has come to a near-halt in any case). My awards and honors almost entirely come from the writing and speaking. All of that speaks for itself.

    Bit by bit, I’m blogging some notes about aspects of my life; this was one, and there will be others. If I keep at it for another few years, it could constitute a memoir of such–but not one I’d particularly want to write, much less read. Thanks for the kind word, though!

  4. Ruth Ellen Says:

    “(except maybe for my brother-in-law the Intelligent Design leader).”

    Ooohh!! That sounds to me like something worth writing about!

  5. walt Says:

    Not really. Phillip Johnson’s an emeritus Boalt law professor, wrote a couple of distinguished legal texts…and then wrote Darwin on Trial and a bunch of works following it. (Is there any scientific issue that you couldn’t use legal methods to raise doubts about?)

    It’s fair to say that I avoid discussing it on increasingly rare family occasions. I won’t offer my opinion of the books because I haven’t read them and don’t plan to. (Not because I’m afraid they’d shake my belief in the scientific method, but because life’s too short, and I’ve heard just enough to have an opinion of Phil’s motives…he sure has given a lot of speeches, mostly sponsored by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and the like…)

  6. Brian Says:

    I suspect that many library people embrace Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (aka Pastafarianism) as an alternative theory to intelligent design. After all, because of our commitment to sharing books, CDs, videos, etc., without collecting royalties from each user, we’re pirates of a sort, and it’s just a short leap from there to *dressing* in full pirate regalia …


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