So, quite a while ago, the nook tagged me
to do this. What with travel and then training, I have been away from my computer for too long ( I know, excuses excuses). So, with way too much delay, here are my answers:
(1) Number of books you own: So, here is the pathetic answer - yes, we have lived in the new house for about 6 months now. And yes, we are still unpacking. So, I will take a swag. I'd have to say over 300, but far fewer than bo... Hmmm, to give an idea, though - almost every book written by Asimov
(almost - a lot of the short story collections are repetitive), lotsa Physics for the masses type books (I majored in it, and feel like I have lost almost all of what I learned...), a bunch of comparative religion books (more the wife than I, but they are still an interesting read, if well written. How else to talk to someone unless you understand where they are coming from?). Almost no political books, as, believe it or not, they tend to annoy the crap outta me. Except for America
;-) However, I am still gathering books, and I have the bad habit of going cheap when I buy one, and getting it paperback. As I often reread books to make sure I didn't miss anything, or to look at it in a different light once I have had a chance to mull, this means I wear a bunch out. I am currently trying to slowly replace my paperbacks with hardcovers...
(2) Last book bought: Tom Clancy's The Bear and the Dragon
- I was on travel, I had finished the book I brought with me (see below), and needed a read. The bookstore at the airport was pathetic, and although this one is rather old, and I stopped reading Clancy a long time ago, it was better than anything else I saw. Besides, it touched on my recent misgivings about China, so I have at least be nodding in agreement with some of the assumptions as I read...
(3) Last book I read: Songs of Distant Earth
by Arthur C. Clarke - I own almost every one of his, too. More 'hard' science fiction than Asimov, at worst he points out advnaces that we are capable of with known technology, at best, he paints a picture of a more tolerant, humanistic future. This one falls in the center, closer towards the better, with the best quote from the book being, "According to the historians, the first true democracy on Earth was established in ... 2011, in a country called New Zealand." Let's hear it for the Kiwis! Reread whilst on travel.
(4) Five books that mean a lot to me:
1. The Hornblower Series
by C. S. Forester - My Grandfather introduced me to his favorite series when I was just starting High School. For that reason alone, I would love any book. But these are a great read. They have excellent action, good historical accuracy (mostly) of the Napoleonic Wars, and excellent technical details regarding sailing old tall ships. The first three, which were written to be the only books of the series originally (Beat to Quarters
, Ship of The Line
, and Flying Colours
) are without a doubt the best, but they are all good. For those of you that do not know, I have been sailing wince I was 6, and racing sailboats since I was, oh, 11, so I loved the detail given to how to sail and fight the old ships. However, what really endeared me to the series was the story of the title character, a flawed, very imperfect man trying to command good men as well as they deserved in trying times. The reason? My Grandpa (a WWII Navy vet) would talk with me about the books as I was reading them, and tell me what he thought of the leadership style, and how he thought it *should* be. He was the main reason I joined the Navy myself, and he was who I had in the back of my mind everytime I put on the uniform, hoping that I lived up to the ideals we had talked about.
2. Starship Troopers
by Robert Heinlein - I read this in High School as well, way before it was warped into that desecration of a movie
(even if it did have a most excellent view of gender integrated units). I never really got into many of his books - not enough "sci" in his sci-fi for me to truly grok him. However, I was intrigued by the idea that only those that had performed some sort of civil service were the only true "citizens" and many others didn't seem to value the ability to vote, but I did not really buy into the idea that only a certain class should be allowed full participation in government. Even so, I did feel even at that time that I owed it to my nation to serve myself, so I was at least gratified some felt that way, I suppose.
3. Red Storm Rising
by Tom Clancy - The first Clancy book I ever read, and his best, I think. A great "what-if" about WWIII with USSR vs. NATO. No Jack Ryan here, it is a stand alone book, and helped nudge along my already serious interest in subs. I will not, as some of my colleagues have done, say that this lead me towards the sub fleet. Please, that just seems, well, rather silly to make such a choice based on a book. It did confirm my interest, though.
4. Again, a series rather than a book: The Prydain Chronicles
by Lloyd Alexander. I can point to this series as hooking me on reading. I was in 3rd grade when I first read these, and they caught me. Due to these books, I would rarely ever a) be satisfied with a book if it wasn't as detailed as a series could be, and b) be found without a book in my pocket or bag ever again. I went from these books to his Westmark
series, and graduated to Tolkien
after that (based on a librarian's advice, even though I was still in grade school. Bless her for pointing me towards more challenging books than the school thought I was ready for).
5. How the Irish Saved Civilization
by Thomas Cahill. Hey, I am Irish-American, and I love history, so what is here for me not to love? Frankly, though, it is an interesting look at medieval times from a not oft-examined view.
Ok, so I mentioned authors and series more than actual books. Mea Culpa, but as I said, I really would rather read a series of books instead of one. I love a multi-plotted, intricate story. Probably why I love Asimov, because even though connecting his "Robot" series and "Foundation" series was tenuous, and the conclusion with Foundation and Earth was a little disappointing, it was a loooong and detailed read, especially when I started over reading the Robot novels once I realized he had gone and tied them into the Foundation series.
Despite my wife's jokes, though, I did *not* list the Reactor Plant Manual
as one of my top 5. Whew.-.