1) What is the total number of books I've owned?Yes yes yes, we're all bibliophiles around here. But I don't think I've owned more than a few hundred. Not sure. I've moved around a lot, so I've had a lot of purges.
2) What is the last book I bought?
A few weeks ago I bought "The Feeling Good Handbook." It's been very helpful in my efforts to not completely lose my shit while I'm writing.
3) What is the last book I've read?
On the plane on Thursday I read Joseph Goldstein's book "Insight Meditation: the practice of freedom." On Tuesday on the way to the airport I read the latest book in the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series--"In the Company of Cheerful Ladies". (What a lovely series. Check it out if you haven't already.) The last thing I read out loud was a chapter of the first Winnie the Pooh book.
4) What are the 5 (plus) books that have meant a lot to me?
Two by CS Lewis: the Narnia chronicles and the Screwtape Letters.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull--my grade 4 teacher read it out loud to us in class.
Rosemary Sutcliffe's novels of Roman Britain made me want to study Latin.
Cyrano de Bergerac forever warped my view of romantic relationships. It also gave me my first glimpse of the joys and perils of translation. For a while there, every time I went into a book store or library, the first thing I'd check would be whether they had a translation I hadn't seen before. Eventually I had the French original and my favourite translation practically from memory. Ah, the joys of blank verse.
The Fountainhead--it blew my mind in high school, and I now think it's fuzzy-headed post-Romantic trash. Contemplating it and its "ideas" over the years has served as a useful barometer of my attitudes.
Paradise Lost. It's come up three times: first in high school, when I read it for a book report as a one-person protest against the slack academic standards at my school (or possibly just as a stunt; it's hard to tell with fifteen-year-olds); then in college when we studied it for real and my friends and I would take turns reading it out loud (we'd each read different characters' parts; Jesus got a special squeaky voice. ... Well, c'mon, he's incredibly smarmy); then in grad school when one of my friends in the dorm would recite the first book from memory, as a break from demonstrating his blowjob techniques on a winebottle. Good times.
Wislawa Szymborska's poetry, as collected in "Miracle Fair." It's the best thing to come out of my internet dating experiences.
Extra credit question, 'What book would you wish to buy next?':
I'm going to have to get the next Harry Potter book, so that doesn't really count. When I take a bunch of books to the local used book store to sell them, I'll probably end up taking store credit instead of cash and buying whatever catches my eye. mmm. books.
ooh, there's one that gets advertised on the Sojourners mailing list, "The Joy of Work" or some such, that I'm v. curious about. (Update: I've ordered it, also a hardcover copy of "Cauldrons in the Cosmos", THE book on experimental nuclear astrophysics, which is sadly out of print. I found it for a reasonable price. W00T!)
TAG! (5 people whose collections I want to pry into)
Corey, Julie, EvilScienceChick, Kevin and Christine Mitchell (is it cheating to tag both halves of a couple?)