Monday, June 20, 2005

The Book Meme Got Me

I was "infected" with this meme (via Vitriolic Monkey) some time ago. It lay dormant, thoughtfully waiting for me to wrestle the more serious mystery infection into something resembling submission. Anyway, now that my brain seems to be back up to snuff - at least, as up to snuff as it can get - I figure I'll answer these.

1. Total number of books I've owned.
This is a silly question, especially considering those school book sales they used to host in the early grades. Man, I would raid those places! Of course, I focused on Mad Libs but books were also purchased, much to my mother's relief.

Currently I have just under 300 books in my Queens apartment, but many more are at my parents' house in Virginia; unfortunately, small apartments don't allow for a proper library.

I'm something of a bibliophile. I love to - no, must - smell books and run my fingers down the different papers or up the binding; it's a perversion, really, but one that I'm quite comfortable with. As for how many books I have ever owned...I've no idea.

2. Last book I bought.
A three-way purchase:
Foop!, by Chris Genoa, a debut novel by a college buddy of mine. I'm halfway through and enjoying it.

Shoveling Fuel For A Runaway Train: Errant Economists, Shameful Spenders, And A Plan To Stop Them All, by Brian Czech, a conservation biologist and founder of The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits, by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, the acclaimed photographer; this is more of a coffee table art book than a good read.

3. Last book I read.
I'm currently reading nine books and attempting to keep up with my many magazine subscriptions so things can get confusing. The two books I finished most recently are:

Tigers & Ice: Reflections on Nature and Life, by Edward Hoagland, one of the best American essayists of the twentieth century and almost certainly the best one working today.

Living Wild & Domestic: The Education of a Hunter-Gardener, by Robert Kimber; Quite simply, one of the best books I have ever read dealing with the philosophical hand wringing of hunting, fishing, and agriculture and how these relate to conservation and, more importantly, each of our lives.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me.
I will list four books and one category.

Childhood favorites that I still cherish; The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, Watership Down, by Richard Adams, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling.

On Human Nature, by E.O. Wilson

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, by E.O. Wilson

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, by Jared Diamond

Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabakov

There are so many also-rans (not in the pejorative sense) that it becomes hard to narrow it down to five. Also, excepting the childhood reads, I have not included any fiction. I still enjoy reading fiction and some of my favorite books are novels, but my recollection of such writing is fleeting; my "artsy side" seems more attuned to visual art and film.

5. People who I'll infect with this meme.
I think all the bloggers I know have either already been "infected" or host sites that are focused on things other than book lists. I don't want to end the meme, however, so I'll pass this along to the following sites, but with the understanding that they don't HAVE to do it, especially you, Chris, since it might seem very out of place at Organic Matter.
Get Up Stand Up
Dirt and Soundwaves
Organic Matter


paddalumpakins said...

Yeah. Rabbits rock. Watership Down is excellent. Too bad the rest of his books don't measure up...

Mikhail Capone said...

Good idea, I'll think about it and see what I come up with.

But please, tell me more about the Nabokov book. I loved Lolita and ADA (longest book ever, but great stuff). Nabokov is certainly one of my favorite writers along with John Fowles, etc.

Devo said...

I'm with Mikhail on this one... I loved Pale Fire a whole lot. In fact, I highly suggest it if you're a Nabokov/Post-Modern fan. It's postmod at its height, before it went all crazy and stupid.

But I wanna hear more about the book you mention.

chris@organicmatter said...

I was already "infected" once by the milkriverblog, and utterly failed to respond not out of lack of desire, but because of time limitations. I foresee and end to said limitations though, and anticipate a response sometime this evening.

Hungry Hyaena said...

"Speak, Memory" is Nabokov's autobiography. As a man who managed to make time for both his creative impulse and his passion for biology - a near obsessive fascination with butterflies - I was curious to read his life story. Little did I know just how moving it would be.

His novels and short stories are hit-or-miss for me. Many of them I adore, while others leave me wanting. Regardless, the quality of the writing always sustains me, even through the less satisfying Nabokov tales.

Chris: I'm glad you'll do it this time around. I'll check out MilkRiverBlog soon, too.

St. Snafu: Rabbits do rock, though I think images of bunnies are overused by contemporary artists. I'm not one to talk, though, as I did a large painting featuring many rabbits only a year ago. That said, they were dying of disease or being shot by cannon-like guns, and I suppose this was a reaction to my decision to include them in the first place. Actually, that painting sold really quickly, which is always great...but it was one of those rare paintings that I wouldn't have minded hanging on to. Anyway...

paddalumpakins said...

Hum, that imagery sounds very Watership Down. I remember that movie really scaring me as a child...I'm not sure it would hold up now. I hadn't thought about rabbits being overused in contemporary art until you mentioned it. Perhaps you are right, but I think there are trends a lot more pervasive, and um, annoying, than rabbit overuse.

I'm imagining this painting being something like Barnaby Furnas - but with rabbits. Perhaps I shouldn't though, since I'm assuming you're the deer painting guy...

Hungry Hyaena said...

"The deer painting guy." Oh, no.

I think that damned painting will chase me around for a long time. Yep, that's me....the deer painting guy. No matter what I paint, everyone who is at all familiar with my work refers to me in that way or constantly asks why I don't do more work like "the deer painting." Ultimately, they're complimenting the painting, but for the time being it remains a monkey (cough, deer) on my back, epsecially since my new work is totally unrelated. I do like the painting, despite myself. It's living in Europe now, with a collector who probably refers to me as the "deer painting guy."

I agree, though, that rabbit overuse shouldn't provoke a call to arms. It's just a pet peeve and a pretty senseless one at that.

chris@organicmatter said...

I'm intrigued - is there a photo of said deer painting somewhere?

(Entertainment value: Google image search results for "deer painting")

Devo said...

Now I too would like to see the "deer painting". Showmenow!

Hungry Hyaena said...

Oh, hell...

Bastards, the both of you. ;)

BTW, Chris, some of those "deer painting" pics are fantastic! Thanks.

Updog said...

I always suspected that you were a book-buggering bibliophile.
By the way, have you read Wendall Berry's rant against Wilson's Consiliance?
He raises some good points, but I find it to contain far too much of the 'bitchy Berry'" that occasionally mucks up his otherwise excellent writing.

Hungry Hyaena said...

I have not read the Berry rant. Do you know where I might find it?