Emily at Portia Rediscovered tagged me (all the way from Californee!) with the book meme that’s in circulation. What a relief! I’ve enjoyed reading the responses to this on other blogs and wondering when I was going to get hit, and beginning to think it might turn into one of those “last one picked” traumas that would scar me for life!
What is the total number of books you have ever owned?
“Owning” reflects such a capitalistic mindset – I prefer to think of myself as a Protector, stewarding these precious resources for…. Oops! Which one of my college textbooks did that come out of? I don’t know how many books I’ve owned, or even how many I have now. Right now there’s probably at least 100 within arm’s reach on shelves (and a quick glance at one shelf in the “L’s” has Louis L’Amour, Elmore Leonard and C.S. Lewis having an interesting conversation) and I know I’ve got the entire Travis McGee series in paperback in a box somewhere. While some might say,”If you love something set it free and if it doesn’t come back it was never really yours to begin with,” this doesn’t fly with my personal collection – or my local public library. However many books I’ve owned, I’m sure the number is dwarfed by the number I’ve checked out from the library. At any given time I usually have two or three books out – and, thanks to time spent blogging, I’m the least voracious book reader in the immediate family.
What is the last book you’ve purchased?
Hard to say, since the library is my primary channel. Probably “Blog” and “In, But Not Of” by Hugh Hewitt. I do know the book I’ve purchased most often and given as a gift is “Einstein’s Dreams” by Alan Lightman, and I expended the most energy in tracking down the “Swan Lake/A City in Winter/The Veil of Snows” Mark Helprin and Chris Van Allsburg trilogy. Oh, and I did score the “Captain Underpants” boxed set.
What is the last book you have read?
I just finished “Two O’clock Eastern War Time” by John Dunning, a novel set in the early days of World War II. It’s primarily a mystery, but it lovingly describes the early, exciting and creative days of a mold-shattering new media: radio. It’s a great perspective, and reminded me a lot of what is going on in the blogosphere today. I’m also just about finished with “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.” (See the “On the Nightstand” entry in my right-hand sidebar.
What are five books that mean a lot to you?
- Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin – my all-time favorite novel. Even though it’s very long and “chewy” I’ve read it through at least four times and often just pick it up and read a chapter at random.
- The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. An amazing and often convicting book that, regardless of whatever religious background (or none) you come from, will turn your doctrines and the things you thought you knew inside out so you can see them in a new and oh-so-holy light – and what more can you ask of any book?
- Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. I mentioned it already, but this book is the most interesting juxtaposition of science, vision and unbridled creativity I’ve ever come across and all elegantly articulated in a small, thin book that fits in your pocket. The book is a series of small vignettes supposedly describing a series of dreams Albert Einstein had in the months leading up to him publishing his theory of relativity. Each “dream” world has a different way of perceiving and measuring time and the short essays – most no more than 500 words – do a mind-blowing job of describing the effects each concept of time has on its world. It may sound like “high concept” but the writing is clear and easy to understand yet incredibly evocative. It also served as a dynamic workbook for assignments when I was teaching my oldest daughter composition and creative writing.
- Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder. I actually bought two of these books in order to always have one available to lend out. It’s a true story that starts with the sinking (and the compelling tale) of the U.S.S. Central America in 1857 with 21 tons of California gold and goes on to tell the just-as-true and just-as-compelling tale of the will and genius of inventor and scientist Tommy Thompson who set out to find and salvage her, in the process inventing or refining much of the undersea technology in use today. Kinder, who was along for the ride as the story happened, does a great job of bringing it to life that the book often reads like a page-turner novel and even the “techie” bits will leave you awestruck rather than bored. Entertaining and inspirational.
- The Bible (multiple contributors) I strongly urge everyone to read it. What a story! What characters! It will change your life.
Of course, what’s a good meme without passing the assignment on to others. I’ve enjoyed reading the selections described by other MOB members who I’ve already gotten to know a bit through their blog writings. There are several new MOB members, however, who I’ve been looking in on and I’d like to get to know them better so I’m tagging them here. So, Actually a Chef, anything on your shelves besides cookbooks? Feet to the Fire, your feet are, well, to the fire. Always Right, Usually Correct – how did you get that way? And North Star Liberty, your site is a bit “wonky” – have you read anything but position papers lately? I invite each of you to answer the questions above. I’ll watch your blogs and link to you when you post your responses. By all means, feel free to inflict this on five others (each) as well.
Hmmm, that’s four. Okay, blogger number five I already know pretty well, but good readers usually start young, so Tiger Lilly, what are you getting out of those 15 books you check out of the library every week?