Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tagged by Portia: Important Books

This inquiry into what people are reading and what books have been important to them has been going around the blogosphere. I'm honored to be part of the buzz but I must confess by the time I get tagged, more often than not, just about everyone I know has already been tagged, aren't blogging anymore, couldn't care less and rarely, if ever, read my blog to know that they have even been tagged. So even though I'm willing to participate (answer the questions), I always feel like I'm the jerk who dropped the torch so to speak. Nevertheless, here I go:

What is the total number of books you have ever owned?
A lot. I shudder to think exactly how many. Books have become friends throughout the years. Some are enlightening and instructive, others are humorous and lighthearted. Whether thick or thin, beautiful or plain, I've owned plenty. My best guess would be 1500.

What is the last book you have purchased?
I just received 4 books in the mail this week! Some were new. Some were used. One was a gift for someone else. Black Rednecks and White Liberals, by Thomas Sowell, A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper, by John Allen Paulos, Modern School for Xylophone Marimba Vibraphone, by Morris Goldenberg and The Music of Chance, by Paul Auster. Try to guess the one I'm giving away.

What is the last book you have read?
How the Mind Works, by Steven Pinker

What are 5 books that mean a lot to you?
The Wind and the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. I read it in 3rd grade and it ignited my lifetime interest in books.
Narcissus and Goldmund, by Hermann Hesse. Hesse rocked my world in high school. I read many of his books , all English translations since I did not read German. Funny. I tried re-reading Hesse a few years ago when I was in my late 30's and just couldn't get into him.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. A timeless story of vanity and selling ones' soul to the devil.
Anatomy of an Illness, by Norman Cousins. When laughter really was the best medicine.
Free to Choose,by Milton and Rose Friedman. The foundation of my economic thinking.

It was hard narrowing the books down to only 5 . There are so many important books and this list seems ridiculously incomplete. Where are all the wonderful biographies, gardening and philosophical meanderings, history, science fiction and poetry books? Honestly, I could select an entirely different bunch next week.

It occurs to me that this list actually is a timeline of my early life and that something important was happening in my life when I read them. So the substance of these books and what I was doing at the time when I read them are tightly entwined.

I now would like to tag Pat at Dr. Sanity
Norma at Collecting My Thoughts, Bryan at Off the Wall and J.T. at Absence of Arbitrage.