I got memed! I have Arrived, blog-wise. I was pinged by evil scroobious
, naturally, who is a veteran of my literature seminars, so I suppose it's inevitable. I warn you, though, I shall cheat, and in some cases treat a whole series as a book. Rules, so boring.The Number Of Books I Own
. Good lord
, now I'm going to have to count them. *pauses to fortify self with tea and toast*. Actually, probably a good idea to count them, anyway, for purposes of insurance, in case the Evil Landlord and I ever decide to burn the house down...
Okay. Fantasy/sf collection: just under a thousand. Fairy-tales and criticism: 200 or so. Plus the stuff in my office on campus, another 300 or so. Medieval history: almost 100. Detective fiction: 250ish. Mainstream novels, i.e. not sf/fantasy, around 500. Oh, and the PG Wodehouse in the living room: another 50ish. What's that? In total, I must own around 2500 books. Pshaw. Paltry. (If I count cookbooks, actually, that's another 100 or so). The Last Books I Bought
. Lemony Snicket, number 8, The Hostile Hospital
, which, incidentally, is probably the best so far. Advance payment on the new Harry Potter. A. S. Byatt, The Little Black Book of Stories
. Wait, I've just put in an Amazon order, so I suppose absolutely the most recent books I have bought (but not the last by a very long way) are The Sun, the Moon and the Stars
(Steven Brust), The Family Trade
and Singularity Sky
(Charles Stross), and Distraction
(Bruce Sterling). The Last Book I Read
: redundant question, on this blog, which mostly seems to be cultural criticism. As you know if you've been reading, it was Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World
, Haruki Murakami. Or, if you want to count graphic novels as books, the first four in the Fables
series. (I don't count all the Dick Francis. That's not reading, it's distraction).Five Books That Mean A Lot
: like scroobious
, I meep plaintively, "Only five?", but, unlike her, proceed to cheat.
- JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings; simple and obvious, but true. I read this first in the car travelling down from Zim to a holiday on the Wild Coast. I was 12. It completely overwhelmed and possessed me, despite the fact that I actually didn't understand a lot of it. I have re-read it an average of annually ever since, including sharp frequency spikes in my first year at UCT, when I was miserably and horrendously homesick and re-read it three times, following the action on photocopies of the maps. (Probably the first time I actually worked out what was happening in a tactical sense). I also re-read it four times over the three years during which the movies came out. This book, she says with calm understatement, means a lot to me.
- James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks. Not for nothing are my cats called Todal and Golux. I deeply rejoice that I possess a first edition, which used to belong to my grandfather, who introduced me not only to Thurber, but to Tolkien and to sf in general. Look what he started. Any other Thurber fairy tales are also much-loved, especially The White Deer, but Clocks is my favourite.
- A. S. Byatt, Possession. And, in fact, the fairy tales in The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye and Elementals (the story "Cold" has huge resonance for me). Her writing is an endless delight because it's so layered, complex and evocative of other texts. Also, Possession both articulated and validated my very profound enjoyment of romance structures; it can't be that guilty a pleasure if a Booker prizewinner also does it.
- Sheri S. Tepper. Everything by Sheri S. Tepper. (This is where I cheat). I can't actually select one favourite above all the others. Her novels are important to me because they express feminism and ecology wossnames which are really important to me. She also has a highly acute awareness of story/narrative/structure. In fact, she pushes most of my buttons. Clever lady.
- Charles Dickens, Bleak House. I adore Dickens generally, and re-read them all frequently, but for some reason Bleak House has always been my favourite. I can't even say why.
Five is a ridiculous number. Left out of the above are a bunch of really important writers and books, including Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising
series, and all of Terry Pratchett. I reject that five. I spit upon it!
Looking back over that list, it's interesting that I've managed to bring three of them into my PhD, and one into my Masters thesis. Cause-and-effect wise, it's not that they're important to me because I've worked critically with them; it's that I've chosen to work critically with them because they're important to me. I possibly have the world's coolest job.One Book I Wish I Could Burn
: scroobious pipped me on the Stephen Donaldson one, so I shall have to think of something else. Probably George Eliot's Middlemarch
, a book for which I have a largely inexplicable, deeply passionate loathing. Or Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being
, although that antipathy is simply about circumstances of reading. Actually, thinking about it, I wouldn't actually want to burn either of the above; let's say a suspended torching, effective as soon as anyone tries to make me read either one again. I'm not generally big with the book-burning. I suspect that, given another year or two, I may be advocating it for JK Rowling and all her works, however...You’ve been pinged
. So I have. Now pinging... oooh (surveys blogdom with eye of connoisseur). d@vid
, you're pinged. Stv (comovedy
), so are you, because I don't know much about your reading taste other than Murakami ;>. Thak, you're pinged; stick it in a comment, if you don't want nameless hordes* rushing over to your blog.
* this is clearly a hopeless exaggeration. Dammit, scroobious, you've infected me with footnotes!