I've been tagged by Faithful Progressive to answer this particular iteration of the Book Meme that's floating around the blogosphere. So, here goes:
Number of books I own:
Good heavens, I don't have any idea. Thousands, certainly. We tried counting them last time we moved (six years ago now) and gave up in the high several hundreds when the magnitude of the task became clear. The year after college I worked in a bookstore, where the pay was terrible but the employee discount was good, and I brought home more books than our one-bedroom apartment could really hold. Fortunately we now live in a house; our book collection has grown to fit the size of its new container.
My mother says one can't have too many shoes. I say the same of books.
Last book I read:
Thursbitch by Alan Garner. A small and spectacular novel which interweaves an early eighteenth-century storyline with one set in the present day. Explores life and love, puts forth some fascinating pre-Christian Yorkshire ritual, and uses language more beautifully than anything else I can think of. I recommend it really highly. Here's an excellent review of it, from the Guardian.
Chasing the Sea by Tom Bissell, which I read on vacation last week. He does a fantastic job of balancing his own Uzbekistan narrative with a solid overview of the region's history. Top-notch travel writing -- makes me feel like I was there alongside him, teaches me stuff I didn't know, and leaves me feeling invested in a whole new part of the world.
Books that mean a lot to me:
I'll limit myself to five, else we'll be here all day:
- The Jew in the Lotus by Rodger Kamenetz, which set me on the path I'm currently following;
- Hyssop by Kevin McIlvoy, another small and spectacular novel which I have read more times than I can count (and find more in, each time I return to it);
- Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer, though it's a bit dated now, because it was the first work of travel literature that I really connected with (and now travel lit is one of my favorite genres);
- Otherwise, by Jane Kenyon, who is one of my favorite poets (I'm kind of cheating; it's a new-and-selected collection, so it allows me to include several of her titles at once);
- and Stone Work by John Jerome, a reflection on work and its rhythms, and a chronicle of the passing year.
Tag five more:
Also, if any of my readers has done this meme, or chooses to do this meme, drop the url in the comments? I'd love to read all of y'all's responses to this one!