Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Book tag 

Thanks for the tag, Timmy G at Voice in the Wilderness I have added you to the blogroll.
I googled "book tag" and got 15,000 hits, so I couldn't track down where this started, but its growing exponentially all over the blogosphere.
Here are my answers:
1. Number of books I own: probably about 400 at this time. I try to keep mainly the books I will likely want to reread someday, but the others do pile up, too. Last summer we did a major book clearout and at least we got some of the bookshelves opened up.
2. What was the last book you bought? Well, I buy a lot of mysteries -- John Grisham's The Last Juror was probably the most recent one I bought. Grisham is one of those big-name, prolific authors who gets trashed by the hoity toity -- until you read some of his books and you understand why he is a big-name author. The quality varies a bit too much with Grisham, but I liked the pacing of The Last Juror -- its a bit of a mystery, but only at the end. Most of it is just a gently paced story about a small-town Mississippi newspaper editor and the stories he writes and the people he meets and what it is like to work at that kind of journalism and live in a small southern town in the 1970s.
3. What was the last book you read? Interspersed with other reading, I am rereading my way through Michael Connelly, so I am in the middle of Trunk Music right now. I often prefer to have a book I have already read for my pre-sleep reading, just so that I don't get so interested in the book that I never get to sleep.
I have liked the Harry Bosch series since the beginning. The series character can be both a writer's greatest strength and greatest weakness -- the strength of a series character is that the author can build the character's personality and experience from book to book; the weakness is, when the author gets bored then the series can get pretty boring too. As a general rule, the very best series character book is book two or book three; the slow decline can set in as early as book four, though with Connelly, his Bosch books have stayed pretty interesting all the way.
4. Five books that mean a lot to me.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I read these for the first time about 35 years ago, and I have been rereading them every two years or so, ever since. When I broke my leg a few years ago, and went through multiple surgeries and a two year recovery, it was Frodo's journey that helped me keep going.
Smiley's People. Fascinating characters, complex plot, subtle writing, not as dark as some of LeCarre's other books because Smiley finally wins in the end.
The Day the Universe Changed. James Burke's 1985 book gave me a unique perspective on history and on human progress, making me realize that human societies did not necessarily progress onward and upward, but sometimes could go sideways and backwards (as, I think, American society is going now under Bush.)
Chaos: The Making of a New Science. When I read James Gleick's book in 1989 it was just about the first "science" book this humanities major had ever read. It was the first time I saw that science has as many fascinating stories as English literature does, and that science theories, like chaos theory, could be useful and applicable in other disciplines.
The Blue Castle by Lucy Maude Montgomery. When I was a lonely teenager, this book gave me hope that I could have happiness one day. And I have.
Now I tag a whole bunch of people whose book stories I want to read about:
Sean Incognito
Canadian Cynic
RossK from Gazetteer
Edward T Bear in Blankout Times
Mike at Rational Reasons
Trucker Bob from Over the Road
People's Republic of Seabrook
And just to spread this across the pond, UK's Albion's Alchemist

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