Jun 23 2005
Mikel tagged me on this one…
How many books do I own?
Despite what Martine might think, I’m actually pretty good at culling the flock, so to speak. I currently have about 600 books, of which I’m about to cull maybe 25 or 30. The ones I keep are those that are (a) a particularly good read, (b) fun (or useful) to have around, or (c) for some other reason imbued with significance such that I can’t bear to part with them. However, I still bring home at least three or four new books every month, so I need to clear some space (or buy more bookshelves).
What are the last few books that I bought?
Recent acquisitions include: The Main, by Trevanian (a first edition from 1976, which I bought because of its local flavour — even though it wasn’t written by a local); Imagining Canadian Literature: The Selected Letters of Jack McClelland (good bedtime reading); and a stack of books that I bought in Seattle in May, including a signed first edition of T.C. Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain and a “book club first edition” of Wallace Stegner’s All The Little Live Things, from 1967. (I’ve been on a “first edition” kick lately. Don’t worry, it’s just a phase…)
What is the last book that I read?
Them, by Jon Ronson.
What are five books that mean a lot to me?
The answer to such a question is going to be fluid, as it is hard to narrow the field down to five. At any given time, one may feel more significant than another, depending on many factors. That said, the top five (at least for today) in no particular order are:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger,
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore,
Atonement by Ian McEwan,
An Answer from Limbo by Brian Moore, and
Fall on your Knees by Anne-Marie Macdonald
(Special question from Mikel …) What is the ratio of fiction to non-fiction in my book reading?
Probably about 65% fiction and 35% non-fiction. Most of the non-fiction I read is in the form of memoir, and often it is the time and setting that makes me want to read it more than the author him or herself.
Interestingly, it is that same aspect — setting, characters, etc., that I look for when I read fiction. I see a lot of similarities between memoir and the kind of fiction I like — I recognize that memoirs are full of embellishment and may not, strictly speaking, be “true,” and I also recognize that good fiction addresses universal, or “meta” truths, even if the characters and situations are made up.
Best unasked book meme question:
How important is “truth” in fiction?
Five people tagged:
Although I’m quite happy to be tagged, I’m not very comfortable in tagging others. So for this book meme, I’m going to play it safe by tagging five people who I’m quite confident won’t mind at all, since they’ll never actually see the tag. Here we go: Jason Kottke, David Duchovney, Warren Kinsella, Matt Drudge, and… uh… Spiderman!