The Meme, the meme the meme the meme the meme….

This entry starts with a reposting of a comment I made on the entry titled “Theft!” It’s in response to a joking comment made by my youngest sister, who has been visiting with us this weekend. (What a joy….more to come on that!)
“Sniff!??? And, do you not qualify as a “Baby Boomer,” too?
What’s really eating you is that YOU are the teacher of English and Literature in our family, and as such, you feel that you should have by-passed me on this, as you do in SO many other things! *G* I think I just had the benefit of schooling in a different high school, and I have a few years on ya.
I’ve printed a copy of the list and checked seventeen books that I will begin to add to my book orders, to expand my reading. And this morning, the editor of the crossword puzzle blog that I visit suggested a book by Amos Oz: “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” which I might look into.
Heck…this is turning into an entire entry, so I’ll just go post.”
Frankie and I chatted (very briefly) about the list of books in the last entry. She’s right in that it is not a definitive list of literature from the past several hundred years. I have no idea how this particular list came to be. I’ve seen others like it, or perhaps even this list in past years, and just accepted it as a list of suggestions gathered on someone’s blog. I know the American Film Institute has lists of the 100 best movies, or the 100 best dramas, or the 100 best comedies, and so forth. I wonder if there is a site that gives a similar compilation for literature?
As Frankie pointed out, there are genres which are not adequately represented here, but a “Personal Favorites” meme would not be concerned with that issue. I was astonished to find any science fiction, and that classic children’s stories were on the list.
We both, Frankie and I, need to learn more about “memes,” from how the word is pronounced, to a definition of the term, to how one gets started and passed around. Can anyone fill us in?

6 thoughts on “The Meme, the meme the meme the meme the meme….

  1. I think I must write first here as, of course, you got the meme from my blog. I have absolutely no recollection where I got it from. I saw it around on a few blogs (I have over 100 on the RSS feed of Google Reader) and before Christmas thought that I’d keep it and use it in the New Year. So I Copied the list onto Word and added it to my blog a week or two ago.
    I have to admit that I didn’t think much about who originally compiled the list, other than to be glad that it wasn’t the usual list, usually put together by pundits of say the Times, listing all the books one “ought” to read. My subconscious kicks in when I am told that I ought to read a book and I have huge difficulty in finishing said book (although a huge bookworm I never finished Lorna Doon after being forced to read it at school). With this list I was glad that it was full of books that I had read and that contained many of the books that have been around and popular in my lifetime.
    I, too, would love to know what a Meme really is. I am sure that I am missing something.

  2. I, too, thought the listing a rather strange one–one that couldn’t readily be pigeon-holed.
    Meme: The vowels are pronounced the same as those in “gene”, from which I assume it was sprouted. It takes the place of the gene in genetics (i.e., passing information from generation to generation), by passing knowledge from person-to-person. The knowledge is usually something “catchy”, such as a catch phrase.
    And, then…I went to Wikipedia. It has a lot to say on the subject of memes, but the most succinct was, “Meme – A unit of cultural information that propagates from one mind to another as a theoretical unit of cultural evolution and diffusion” I like that!

  3. Adele, I have that very same streak in me! I’ve started “The Red Tent,” which all the women in my family tell me they love. I’ve gotten to the point in the story where everything is going to go bad….and I set the book down. For some time, I have chosen not to read things that I KNOW are negative. Perhaps I’ll be able to get back to this book and share the experience with my siblings, but not today.
    Read on….Cop Car is going to enlighten us!
    (You throw around terms like “RSS” as though they were nothing! I’m very impressed. I wouldn’t be blogging without ~T~’s help!)

  4. Oh, Cop Car, THANK YOU for the enlightenment! I should have gone to Wikipedia and looked it up. I’m glad to see that I’ve been saying it correctly. I can’t wait to see what kind of meme Frankie will come up with, now that she can see the definition of the term!
    Frankie and her youngest left for home early this morning. I went off to exercise and called when I returned. They were halfway there by then. I really wish we lived closer together, but I wonder if we would see each other even less then? Who knows? I’m looking forward to her next visit her in Feb. and our trip to them in April. *S*

  5. I’ve been pondering that list of books in spare moments today and I do wonder whether the person who put together the list was British. I know well, or at least knew of, virtually all the books on the list. Even the children’s books on the list -in particular the Enid Blyton, C S Lewis, Graham and Carroll – are those that every British child of the 50’s, ’60s and 70’s would have been given to read, both at home and at school.
    Perhaps I am being far too parochial in my thinking and you, Buffy, and your fellow Americans will shout me down but the list reminds me tremendously of the sort of book list a Briton would put together. If the list was compiled by an American wouldn’t Dr Seuss (have I got his name right?) also been on the list, especially given the surreal elements in his book, as in Lewis Carroll’s Alice?

  6. Adele, I wouldn’t shout you down at all! I thought the same, but it didn’t occur to me that Dr. Seuss should have been on the list. I’m glad you pointed that out.
    I have the sense that this might have been a collaboration of Yanks and Brits with a Brit hosting the effort. Those of us sixty and older in the US would have read Dickens and Shakespeare and Austin and the other English authors who are considered standards of literature. I don’t have a good sense as to whether late 20th century writers are popular in both England and the US, so the children’s books give us the most input. I recall one of these book memes where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory showed up…..probably another meme hosted by a British blog. Wait….is he on THIS MEME?? I can’t remember.

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