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The Book Meme Gauntlet Gets Passed Along

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Dani over at The Mothership invited me to do this meme, and since it has to do with books, I couldn't exactly say no. (Of course, I will now mortally offend Marla, who challenged me to do another meme weeks ago, but that meme was much more complicated, so it's still on the back burner, along with a lot of other blogging to do's -- like a lot of Mom University posts that need to go live).

Number of Books I Own: At least 3000 -- probably more. And this only refers to my own books. My husband has at least 1000 and my kids probably have a couple of thousand books, too. I only keep my collection down to this number by giving away books a couple of times each year. If I didn't weed out books, I'd be the book-world equivalent of a "crazy cat lady," living in a house that is totally over-run with books.

Last Book I Bought: It's a three-way tie. I just bought three books simultaneously: Suanne Kelman's All in the Family: A Cultural History of Family Life; Judith Viorst's Necessary Losses; and Harold Kushner's When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough: The Search for a Life That Matters. (I picked up the books at Half-Price Books while running errands this afternoon. They look like they're going to be fabulous reads.)

Last Book I Read: I'm about 95% of the way through Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott, so I'm going to bend the rules slightly and say that this is the last book I've read. This book is the follow up to her earlier book Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, which is hilarious and thought-provoking. If you read the Amazon.com reviews for Plan B, you'll see that extreme fundamentalists have a lot of trouble with Anne -- her anti-Bush "rants," her "unrefined distastefulness and disrespect for God," her "anger towards her mother, her son, and God," her "harsh tone," etc. One reviewer had the good sense to suggest that people who don't agree with Anne Lamott's viewpoint should simply steer clear of her books: "Don't call her "mean-spirited," which is an all-purpose catch phrase for people who don't agree with you. Just put the book back. Don't bother with her." Sounds like sensible advice to me.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me:

In no particular order....
1. Anne of Green Gables: My Grandma Bolton gave me a copy of this book when I was just learning to read. It was one of the first full-length novels I ever read and definitely the book that got me "hooked" on reading. (It didn't hurt that my Mom took me to see Anne of Green Gables being performed live in Toronto around the same time.)

2. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith: I read this book when I was going through a very tough time in 2003 after my Mom died, and I found it to be really encouraging and inspirational.

3. Finding Your North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live: This book does a great job of encouraging you to think about what you really want out of life, both personally and professionally, and what steps you need to take to create the life you want. It's written by the always witty and engaging Martha Beck.

4. On Writing by Stephen King: While most writing books focus on the "how to" of writing, King's book focuses more on the "why" of writing -- why someone becomes a writer and what it's really like to be a writer. It's a frank, honest, and totally compelling book. (If you thought his horror novels were impossible to put down, wait 'till you dive into this book!)

5. Safe Counsel: I inherited a copy of the 1898 edition of this Victorian advice manual from my Grandma Bolton, along with 13 cartons of her other books. This was the start of my collection of vintage parenting, pregnancy, and marriage manuals. I recently expanded into a new category -- horrible advice books for teenage girls! I tend to add to my collection each time I hit a used bookstore. (And you wonder how I ended up with thousands of books.)

And now I'd like to toss the book meme gauntlet on to these lucky people: Mombie, Running2Ks, and Marla. (Of course, it's quite likely they played this game months ago, since I'm so late to the game. If so, please feel free to shake a dusty book in my general direction.)

| posted by Ann D @ 6:03 PM