Saturday, May 21, 2005

I've Been Tagged (sorta)

1. Total number of books I've owned:

I have no idea. Thousands I am sure, I still have boxes and boxes in the basement that can't find shelf space. More to the point, in University, I used to work part time in the library. A university library is an amazing thing. I guess I didn't own the books, but I felt I had some kind of claim on them. Every night, I had to sort & card all the returns, so I would notice books I had never thought of reading. The Egyptian Book of the Dead, 1890 something version. The Journal of Psychadelic Drugs. Complete sets of Punch from the Victorian era. Swift. Liddel-Hart. Gibbons. Oh my.

2. Last book I bought

I do believe that that would be Reversable Errors by Scott Turrow. Used bookstore, cost a buck. I love and haunt used bookstores. Not a bad book, not as great as Presumed Innocent & The Burden of Proof, but much better than The Laws of Our Fathers. I'm not much into mystery & legal stuff, but the man sure does write well. Sorta like I read everything by John Le Carre, I'm not much into spies and action, but goddamn can that man write.

3. Last Book I Read

This is actually tough, because I usually have about three on the go at any given moment, and sorting out which I finished last requires some effort. I think it would be Merlin's Booke by Jane Yolen, another used bookstore buy. I'm just about done with The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen J. Gould (one of my heros).

4. Five (or so) books that mean something to me

Hmm. This is really really tough. I'm gonna go not with the best or favourite books, just the ones that shook me up one way or another.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller left me shaken, weeping. The ending was so terrible & sad after all the ha-has that the only hope I could see was that someone had written it down. And that people had read it; perhaps there is some hope.

Little, Big, by John Crowley, a book so amazing that it is impossible to describe, except to say its a fairy story. Maybe. (I've always thought Helprin's A Winter's Tale was a kind of pale companion.)

Sex and Destiny by Germain Greer. Its a polemic, so it perhaps overstates the case a little (ha), but it sure summed up a great deal of my thinking at the time. Still does.

Nova, by Samuel R. Delany. To my mind, the best science fiction book of all time. A poetic romp, just sheer joy to read each page.

The Narrow Road Through the Far North, by Basho. Quite possibly the deepest book I have ever read, and it is very short indeed.

Bonus: I suppose I should add the Bible. I'm not a conventionally religious man, and I certainly don't go to any church. But that book is so seminal to everything in our culture, both good and bad, that it bears reading and rereading. It maintains a permanent place in my bathroom. I prefer the poetry of the King James version, myself, though perhaps the American Standard captures the New Testament feeling a bit better.

5. Pick five people to tag

Nope, ain't gonna do it. I only did this cuz Lili asked me to. I don't believe that blogs are a kind of cult that need to support and link each other up all the time. In fact I'd be happier if no-one ever read this, its just for me, really. I'll just stay here in my little corner & play with my own toys, thankyou very much.

Besides, I am far from sure that I want any five of the people I relate to to know that I relate to any of the others.


Blogger Lili said...

LOL! "Does not play well with others."
I don't usually either. I don't usually do the popular blog thing.

I too love used book stores. I love the smell, I can browse for hours.

Thanks for answering.
I won't link this, as you like your privacy. :-)

10:36 AM  

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