Wednesday, June 22, 2005


You may have noticed that the blogosphere has these chain letter-type viruses, sometimes politely referred to as "memes." Well, I've been infected (thanks a bunch Chad). Here's my obedient response:

Total number of books owned, ever: Everyone says they have too many to count and I'd like to be the one who says something snotty like only eleven but the truth is I have too many to count. A hallway lined with bookshelves, all full. A wall of the study lined with bookshelves, all full. Books stacked up on several small tables and the floor. I'm out of room, and I don't want to get rid of them or move to a bigger place so I've become an avid library user. Our local library system has a great web interface that allows you to place holds on books, then e-mails you when they become available. It's like Netflix for books and I'm hooked.

Last book I bought: My Little Pony: Pony Party. What can I say. I got kids. Girl kids.

Last book I read: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis (see this post for my thoughts on the book). I'm about a third of the way through Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia, by Tom Bissell. It is a sort of travel diary about the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. It strikes me as a great beach book, albeit one that makes one grateful one is not on an Aral Sea beach (if such things exist).

Five Books that mean a lot to me, From heaviest to lightest:
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas S. Kuhn. This is not a book virtually anyone will be able to read without the incentive of potentially embarrassing class discussion and a grade hanging over one's head. I had the benefit of those incentives and I'm glad I was forced to read the book. It was perhaps the first that influenced me to think about stuff that happened outside of class using the framework I had learned from class.
  • The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, by Judith Rich Harris. This book also influenced the way I thought about non-book phenomenon, but it's far more accessible than the Structure book. The author is fully aware that her ideas are (or were, when written) highly controversial so she lays out her case painstakingly. I bought it wholesale, and this book is an important reason my kids go/are going to parochial school. (King has other reasons).
  • The Corrections: A Novel, by Jonathan Franzen. Yes, of course I enjoyed it, but the reason it means a lot to me is that I read it when my youngest child was about one and a half, and it was the first book that I was able to read all the way through without losing the plot line and having to start over. A tribute to the exciting story (just force yourself to slog through the first section with the pompous and annoying protagonist, it's worth it), and the decreasing sleep interruption. Whatever, this book marks my return to grownup reading after a years long diet of Pat the Bunny and mediocre magazine articles.
  • E.F. Benson's Lucia series (here's the first one). I have read this series, set in England between the two world wars, over and over. I began my honeymoon in the town that is its setting. Why? Somehow I find it immensely comforting to read about this small society of English gentry, having conniptions about pretty much nothing at all.
  • And, at last and of course, Eloise, by Kay Thompson.
5 more people to pass this on to:
Influenced by Sisyphus at Nihilist in Golf Pants, I also tag:
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Dick Durbin
Jacques Chirac
Paris Hilton
Jimmy Carter


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