Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Book Meme

(Via Sya.)

1. Estimate the total number of books you've owned in your life.

I have no idea -- at least a thousand, I guess. I have book cases everywhere, in both houses, and a bunch in my office at work.

2. What's the last book you bought?

Tin Horns and Calico, by Henry Christman. I'm not sure it is the last book I bought -- I also purchased several from at about the same time, but Tin Horns is the last one that arrived -- yesterday. It is about the Rent Wars in the Hilltowns of Albany County, NY. The current large parcel controversy in the Town of Olive reminds me of the Rent Wars, and a friend suggested I read it. It is out of print (from the 1940s) and finding it was no easy task, but the marvel of the Internet didn't disappoint. My first edition came all the way from a library in Nevada. The last reprint was in the 1970s, and what's interesting is that the '70s paperback edition is more expensive than the first edition.

3. What's the last book you read?

I am currently reading another book from the 1940s, My Home is Far Away, by Dawn Powell. My sister lent it to me over the weekend.

4. List 5 books that mean a lot to you.

Wow, only 5? I'll give it a try, although some authors mean a lot to me, so for a couple of these I am narrowing it down to an author and then choosing one book he or she wrote.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain, by who else? He's my favorite author, and I especially love this book. I can read it over and over. Whenever I feel sad, I pick it up and he makes me laugh. I could have filled this favorite five list with titles that he wrote, but I'll resist.

Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. She is my favorite contemporary author, and again, this list could have been filled, or at least dominated, by her books.

The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi. This would have topped the list when I was a kid, but not the crummy, dumbed-down Disney-fied version.

The Winter of Our Discontent, by John Steinbeck. My favorite of his books, this really resonated with me when I read it years ago.

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy. A favorite from my teenage years, the language and absurdity of the situations are very funny. I have read three other books in the series (I think there are over a dozen? Something like that) which aren't quite as good. But one serious caveat, there is some anti-Semitism toward the end of the first book in the series, which has always bothered me. It was sanitized from modern adaptations of the story.

5. Tag 5 people!

No, I don't forward junk mail, or tag people with memes.

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