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Archival Post - Five Books Jack Has Read

Just re-posting this here from sg1_five_things. Don't mind me. These are not the books you are looking for...

Title: Five Books Jack Has Read
Season: Any
Spoilers: for Abyss
Warnings: Nope
Synopsis: Yep. There are five. Actually there are more than five, but he is soooo not letting the general public know that. They might think he had more than two brain cells!

1. The Scarlet Letter He's still sorry he wasted those hours of his youth, but Mrs. Mooney was a scary old biddy, and he needed to pass her class, or he'd have been kicked off the hockey team. He'd faked it with Emerson's "Essay on Self-Reliance", skimmed Huck Finn, and the parts about whaling in Moby-Dick were interesting enough to make it worth his while. Grampa had read him Last of the Mohicans as a kid, but The Scarlet Letter was tedious, dense, and had characters he just wanted to kick soundly until they sucked their heads out of their asses and got on with it.

2. Seventeen Kings and Forty-Two Elephants Many, many, many, many times. It had colorful batik-like illustrations and rollicking and ridiculous rhymes, and Charlie had a passionate and unaccountable attachment to it for a while. Jack and Sara had both been able to recite it from memory, and thought that they would be able to forever, but it turned out to be like that "'till death do us part" business. Surprisingly less permanent than originally assumed. In Ba'al's prison cell, desperate for something to keep his mind from traveling down the darker available pathways, he'd tried reciting it, and got stuck on "Going on a journey on a wild wet night, Baggy ears like big umbrellaphants, Little eyes a gleaming in the jungle night" and had been able to go no farther. That hurt as much as the knives.

3. The Lord of the Rings He'd missed out on reading it at the end of the '60's when everyone else in his generation had read it. As a matter of fact, he'd steadfastly refused to read it then, simply because so many people insisted that he had to, it just kind of put his back up. But there'd been a dog-eared paperback copy of all three books in the hospital library in Germany while he was there, after Iraq. It had taken a while for them to consider him well enough to ship back stateside, and a bit of escapist literature seemed like a good idea at the time. It turned out to not be as far from his daily life as he had expected, and a pretty good yarn. He would have liked to have been Aragorn, but unfortunately the character that really reminded him of himself was Frodo, small, scared, stubborn, and - ultimately - damaged. It gave him hope to look at what the little guy could do when he set his mind to it.

4. All the Oz books. His grandma had ancient, much-loved, broken-backed copies of each of them from her childhood, and at first she had read them to him, but as he got too old for that (at least in his young mind) he started reading them to himself. There was satire, base punning, and a wealth of wonderful, magical things, and he enjoyed the way the child protagonists just took it all in stride and coped, and how they were inevitably able to cut through all the posturing and nonsense with a pointed question or a practical suggestion. Alice in Wonderland had been puzzling, and not a little disturbing, but the Oz books were just plain fun.

5. The Bible Every last begat and shall not, in spite of what he tried to make Teal'c think. Mrs. Mooney had had nothing on Sister Benedict and Father McGuire. The stuff of nightmares! Besides, for a while Jack had considered that if a career in the NHL didn't pan out that he might consider becoming a priest. Then puberty had hit, and it had become abundantly - nothing whatsoever wrong with his vitality, thank you - clear that this plan simply would not work. Not unless the world were miraculously cleansed of girls, and perhaps even of hands. There was some good stuff in there, some weird stuff, and a lot of what Jack considered filler. He was always puzzled by the earnest types that showed up on his doorstep some mornings trying to convince him that everything, every single thing, in the Bible was true. Hadn't they read it? Jack figured folks like that would have God quirking His lips in amusement, if he actually existed. Almost as entertaining to Him as a Goau'ld in full "Bow-before-" mode. The God of the Bible was not too big on pride, as far as Jack could tell.

Edited for inconsistent Html. Bad Thothmes!


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 5th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this very much.

1. I completely agree with Jack about The Scarlett Letter!

2. This is bittersweet and poignant and excellently written, especially the last sentence.

5. I can totally see this!
Mar. 5th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
The Scarlett Letter is right up there near the top, if not on the top of my Most Hated Books of All Time list. I've given Jack my feelings about the book because I really and truly feel that he would have felt just that way about it. Daniel might have put on his sociology glasses and enjoyed it as a mirror of the sensibilities of the day, and Teal'c might have been able to say "The rules of the community are the rules and cannot be lightly set aside," but Jack would have hated it. I suspect that Sam would have dutifully read it, but tried to hide the smile when one of her classmates expressed a point of view similar to Jack's (and secretly her own).

Glad you enjoyed it.
Mar. 5th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
Me too! It was by far the worst thing I read in high school. A friend from another school was reading it at the same time, and we'd called each other and bitch about how much it sucked. And yeah, Jack would totally have hated it, too.
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
Love them! And of course he'd have read the bible cover to cover.
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
Yes, he would have, but he'd also hate to reveal that. It says far to much about the man within.

Glad you liked them. This one was fun.
Mar. 5th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
I've never read any of those books. lol. XP And especially not the bible. :P Parts of it, probably, back before fourth grade while I was still forced to take CCD classes at church after school, but nothing that I remember. heh.
Mar. 5th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
Shhhh! Don't tell my uncle, a Mark Twain expert, but I haven't read Huckleberry Finn. It just never appealed to me. My mom recommended The Last of the Mohicans to me one too many times, so I still haven't read that one. I've read much (not all!) of the Bible (in the King James) because my dad's an English prof, and English Literature depends on the King James.

The rest of them I've read. Oz books were a tradition on my mom's side, Tolkien on my dad's (he still has the first American edition The Hobbit that he was given as a young child). Emerson's "Essay on Self-Reliance" (eeeewwww!!!!) was somehow assigned for three (3!) years in a row at my high school. The whaling parts of Moby-Dick really are the most interesting parts of the book, although I see its value in teaching symbolism, foreshadowing, etc. The Scarlett Letter was awful but required for those taking the Regents Exams that were a necessity for the college-bound in New York State, where I went to high school.

I've read Seventeen Kings an infinite number of times. My daughter (Charlie O'Neill's age) liked it well enough, but my son (four years her junior) alternated between that and Drummer Hoff as his favorite book for about two years.

Edited at 2010-03-05 07:44 am (UTC)
Jan. 16th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
And Drummer Hoff....fired it off.

(I was a librarian for 30 years, I did that for story hour a few times!)
Mar. 5th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)
The only school-assigned books I really liked were in tenth grade when we read The Things They Carried and Catcher in the Rye. Oh, also in ninth grade when we were in groups that got to chose our own books. My friends and I picked The Silence of the Lambs. I really liked it. heh. :)
I couldn't get through Huckleberry Finn in school because of the 'slang' narration, but strangely enough, discovered a very old edition of Tom Sawyer in my grandfather's basement when I was like 11 or 12, and read some of it, but never finished. And I'm pretty sure I only started reading 'cuz of that Disney movie, "Tom and Huck." lol.
I would pretend to run away, then sit out in the woods (sans shoes, of course), reading and plotting adventures and building a raft. lol.
Mar. 5th, 2010 07:42 am (UTC)
I love Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticutt Yankee in King Arthur's Court, but that was probably the Tudor and Arthurian subject matter. I wasn't too captivated by Antebellum Missouri, so his more celebrated books never "took" with me, although like you, I've read some of Tom Sawyer
Mar. 5th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not much for great pieces of literature. lol. I like Stargate SG-1 novels, and books with dogs in them. lol. I also like Vietnam war stories if they're told the right way. Tim O'Brien is the best for that. And then I've got Fight Club, 'cuz I loved the narration in the movie. Haven't got around to seriously reading it yet, though. :)
Mar. 5th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well my dad was (he's retired now) an English Prof, and he was the non-custodial parent, which made him the parent I most desperately wanted to please and impress. This means I've read a lot of the classics, but in general I read historical fiction, mysteries, romances, and kid's books for fun. But I'll read anything if I'm desperate enough. The worst punishment my mom ever devised (she only had to use it once, and it was because I was found reading instead of cleaning up my room) was being denied the right to read anything for two hours. I was a painfully honest kid, and went around averting my eyes from the cereal boxes in the pantry, and the books in the bookshelves that were in every room in the house. It was awful! Nowadays I read very little outside of fanfic (*sniff*) because I simply don't have the time. Maybe when the seven year old Whirlwind of Distruction starts on Ritalin, and I can leave the room to pee without worrying about the consequences to the house...
Mar. 6th, 2010 04:25 am (UTC)
Or start carrying around books on tape. ;)
Mar. 6th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
I get those for my husband, who is devoted to them. They drive me nuts. I think it's because I'm such a visual learner that I forget massive amounts when I take it in on tape.

My eldest daughter (an extremely auditory learner) used to bring home notices from school and dart swiftly around the living room reading them to me ("So you'll remember!") while I pursued her as fast as I could, leaping over the dog, the cats, and her little brother, trying to snatch it from her hands with the plaintive cry of "Let me see! Please just let me see!" Finally one day I realized what was happening, and bellowed "Stop!" When everyone froze, I explained the problem to her, and from then on in she brought them in and stuck them right under my nose. Much better.

Nice thought, though! ;)
Mar. 6th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
LOL. For me it's more like, read, read again, read one more time, store information. ;P
Mar. 5th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this! I like the mix of things from school that he hated and others he loved, from reading to Charlie to reading for his own benefit. Really nice way to show the span of this man's life.
Mar. 5th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Jack's so much deeper and more well-rounded than he lets on.

Glad you liked it.
May. 19th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
I like these a lot! You can tell so much about people from what they've read. I like the detail about reading the Lord of the Rings in the hospital.
May. 19th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Tolkien was my dad's favorite author, so he made sure that he personally read each of us all of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by the time we were eight, after which we were presented hardback copies of our own. So I was fully conversant with his work before the big Tolkien craze hit in the 60's. Tolkien was a veteran of trench warfare in the First World War, and The Lord of the Rings was largely written during World War II, partly - or maybe even largely in reaction to it. It struck me as something that Jack would initially reject as hippie nonsense, but that would have a great deal that he could relate to if he ever did read it.

Dad and I each have First American Edition copies of The Hobbit. Dad's was given him when he was a child, and was bought the year it was published in the States. Mine was a birthday gift, bought second hand for me by my husband. It was apparently Tolkien (in part) that inspired my dad to become an English prof. (of Creative Writing) and a published author.

I'm afraid Jack's reaction to The Scarlet Letter is my own. I really think that he would feel that way too, though.
May. 19th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
I'm with Jack on the Scarlet Letter!

My dad also loved the Lord of the Rings. I used to be able to do long passages entirely from memory, like a bard....
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )



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