Ok, Ian, you tagged me, so you can’t complain about the stuff I’m
spending wasting my time on…
1. How many books do I own?
I bet there are people for whom this would be an easy question.
Organized people, with catalogued collections of books.
I’m not one of them.
A rough estimate of the books in my office would be around 360 (counting the books on one shelf and multiplying by the total number of shelves), but there’s still some boxes back in Edmonton, and some of my books in boxes downstairs, so I’ll say about 400 right now.
(That’s sad. I culled pretty thorougly before we moved here, and threw out tons of books… I thought I’d winnowed it down a little better than this.)
2. Last Book I Bought:
They were all wonderful books about the way people think. Inevitable Illusions made me annoyed at my brain for not seeing what I knew was there, and falling for half the dumb fallicies in the book. (Ok. maybe more than half.) Freakonomics was just plain fun, and of the three, Blink was the one with the most ‘take away’ wisdom.
3. Last Book I Read:
The book I finished yesterday was a novel — Term Limits by Vince Flynn. It’s about a group of commandos who start assasinating pork-barrelling politicians until Washington politicians stop acting like, well, politicians.
So disillusioned am I by politics, I can only describe this book as a ‘feel good’ novel.
4. Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
(in chronological order)
The Humpty Dumpty Book of Rhymes that I had memorized by the time I was three. It’s my son’s favorite too, and just like his mom, he can recite it from cover to cover. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t see what exactly it was that I loved so much about it. Nor do I understand my son’s fascination with it. But it says something that of all the books I had as a toddler, this is the only one that’s still in my possession.
Don Quixote by Cervantes — aside from being a really fun book to read, it was the first ‘classic’ I read on my own (by accident) the summer before I entered grade 9. It was the book that made me realize classic literature is not all dull, boring and tedious. It’s just taught that way.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein: I read all of Heinlein’s books when I was a young teen. I ‘borrowed’ them from my brother’s extensive sci-fi book collection. I actually read all the books my brother owned, but Heinlein was the only author I’d re-read over and over. His protagonists were so different, and his situations so mind blowing to a 13 year old, that I’m fairly confident that wresting with the issues of morality and individuality he presented shaped my reactions to many of the issues I would later be faced with.
Plato’s Republic: Over the years this book has messed with my head in more ways than I can count. I owe my first year Philosophy prof a debt of gratitude for introducing me to Plato and Socrates.
Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson : Given the title, it seems so improbable that I would have ever read this book, but about six years ago I happened to be stranded at an airport for five hours while the plane I was supposed to be boarding was diverted because of a medical emergency. And this book was also stranded at the airport, so we met and got acquainted.
If you’ve ever have had one of those ‘Eureka’ moments where things just become so clear in your mind, and all the loose pieces of things you thought made sense but you didn’t know why suddenly become strikingly obvious, you’ll probably recognize that an airport is not the ideal place for one. After watching me nod vigorously, talk to myself, and hearing my exclamations to no one in particular during those hours, the waiting crew and my fellow passengers probably thought I was certifiable. I’m surprised they let me on the plane.
5. Tag Five More:
Since the whole Canadian political blog scene has been tagged already, I thought I’d target some different folks: