How many books do you own?
Well, that's an interesting question. I have about 7000 books in my apartment, about half of which are science fiction and fantasy. Maybe another 700 or so are poetry, 500 or so are books on Taoism, another batch of similar size are on conspiracy lore. The rest are largely ancient and modern history, scholarly geography, (mostly concerning climate, agriculture and globalization), science and environmental studies. I suspect I am the "mutual friend with a much larger mess" that Mitch alludes to.
I also have about 225,000 books in my used bookshop, Webster's. Whether I own them or not is something you will have to ask the bank.
Last book purchased:
Well, hard to say. These came in the last shipment from B&N, so I guess they are probably the last things I purchased:
- Will in the World, How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt
- The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
- Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer by Peter Turchi
- A Change of Regime By J.N. Stroyer
Five (err Six) Books That Mean a Lot To Me:
- Pablo Neruda's The Captain's Verses Wow. So much emotion in so few words This is the essence of poetry for me. I am also much taken with Wislawa Szymborska's poetry for similar reasons. No spare words. Glorious imagery and thought.
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller The first book that I ever read that made me want to figure out the mechanics of how it was written. Just a wonderful amalgamation of character, plot and description. I reread it every year.
- Beastmaster by Andre Norton This book saved my life as a teenager. It was the first book I ever read where a Native American was the hero. Up until then I really thought that only white folks could be heroes in books. This book and Ms. Norton's other novels with Indian characters gave me hope that a smart half-breed kid could find a place in the world.
- Mental Maps by Peter Gould The book that made me realize that I was a geographer. I read it in high school, then had the great honor of studying with Professor Gould during my undergraduate days. A marvelous book by an incredibly generous and intelligent man.
- Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature An awe inspiring book about Goldsworthy and his ephemeral art made from bits of nature, set in natural settings. Twigs, leaves, rocks, mounds of earth, ice, all become part of his pallet. His work pulls me toward that place in nature where we are at our calmest and at one with the world around us.
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu I've read at least 60 translations of the Tao, but the one I love most, for its glorious poetry, is the Stephen Mitchell. It may not be the most faithful to the ancient texts, but it's the one that speaks the strongest to this particular secular Taoist daily struggling in a western world.
And tag, you're it: ae at arse poetica, heretik at The Heretik, and corndog at corndoggeral