May 31, 2005

Okay, since Bakerina asked real nice.  (Or maybe she ordered me to participate, I have a selective memory about such things).

'Mouse responds:
Total number of books I've owned.
Not too many.  Probably under 1000.  Certainly under 2000.  From second grade, when I learned to sign my name in cursive in order to get my own library card I've loved libraries.  I check out at least 150 books a year -- far more than I could afford or store if I was buying 'em.

Last book I bought.
Probably The Fan Man, William Kotzwinkle.  I bought it and sent it to Orionoir and tried to get him to send it along to Bakerina.  Alas, the second part of the plan fell through.  I may have to buy another copy for our lovely hostess.  I cannot generally recommend this book to everyone.  Many won't like it or understand it.  But those who do will quote it for the rest of their life.

Five Books Which Mean A Lot to Me.
Illusions, Richard Bach.  If I recall correctly there's a saccharine Christian message not-exactly hidden in this little gem by the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  Normally I'd rebel against that, but for some reason this book follows me around and it's one of the few books I've read more than three times in my life.  Comfortable like an old pair of slippers.

The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey.  This, along with the ubiquitous Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and a whole lot of Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson defines my "question authority" period.  The Monkey Wrench Gang, with its eco-terrorism before the term was invented, and its sidekick who measures distances in beers, not miles represents the late-Sixties, early-Seventies, makes me cry for our country today.  It very nearly motivates me to buy a few hundred pounds of sugar to add to the gas tanks of every fuck-head who "needs" a 5000+ lb. vehicle to drive their precious kiddies to school. Alas, times have changed.

Speaking of changed times and past eras,

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot
by John Muir.  This is THE ORIGINAL idiot's guide.  Never drive an old VW without a copy in the trunk.  With this book you can literally re-build a VW engine on the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere.  I know.  I've done it.  There are few experiences in life better than fixing and tuning your own aircooled engine, unless it's helping birth a baby goat (see below).

UPDATE-- (thanks mom) Country Women -- A Handbook for the New Farmer by Jeanne Tetrault and Sherry Thomas Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1976 This was my mother's bible for the back-to-the earth movement when she packed up the family, bought a farm and we raised goats, chickens, pigs and went years without refined sugar, white flour or television.  (Easy to sigh wistfully about it now. Huge parts of the experience completely sucked.  The eggs were good tho.)  As I recall it, this book was the complete idiot's guide to country living.  It included instructions on, among other things, shearing sheep, spinning wool, making butter and cheese, castrating pigs, and, my personal favorite, reaching into your goat to turn a breech-position kid.  At the age of 11, as the one with the smallest hand and arm, I had the honor of getting nearly shoulder-deep in a goat to help her give birth.  Try that sometime for a thrilling connection to the natural world.  (Update:  I called my mother to verify the title and she said she'd recently stumbled across her copy while cleaning the garage - She spent many minutes in reverie.  This book's going to be a family heirloom - bet I know what I get for Xmas this year.)

And a tie for the fifth entry:
The Joy of Cooking and The Joy of Sex.  In my opinion the former should be issued to every 10-year-old and the latter to every 12-year-old without fail.  Sure there are better, more updated cookbooks and sex books, but these are solid and stand the test of time.  Both are left lying around the house for my children to borrow whenever they feel the urge.

Nah.  Everyone I know has been tagged already.  Oh, wait.  Keith, have you? Jo?

What I do think this meme really needs is something like "List five books all my friends should read before they die, arranged from light to heavy" or perhaps, "The five most recent books I've read that I'd heartily recommend (or didn't hate)."  As I thought about this I found very little overlap.

Therefore, I'm adding:
Five Semi-Random Books My Friends Should Consider Reading Before They Die
- Time Enough for Love, Robert Heinlein
- The Fan Man, William Kotzwinkle
- Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Annie Proulx
- Lolita, Vladimir Nabakov
- 100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Five Books I Read Recently that I'd Recommend (or Just Liked Well Enough to Pass Along)
- Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christopher Moore
- The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
- The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences and Observations of Peter Leroy ("Little Follies"wink, Eric Kraft.
- About a Boy, Nick Hornby

Ouch.  Hard to stop here, but I must, before I think of several dozen others.

Posted by 'mouse at 08:55 PM in • (3) Comments
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