May 23, 2005

Book Meme From Robbo

Rob tagged me with a book meme that is very similar to one I did a couple of months ago. Some of the answers have changed over time, so here are the questions:

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned. Hundreds; likely more than a thousand.

2. Last Book I Bought: An unabridged (and heavily annotated but untranslated) version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

3. Last Book I Read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I started reading it out loud to my second son (first son listens in more than half the time, too), but got to a really good part and read it straight through to the end. J.K. Rowling could really use some vigorous editing, but she knows how to tell a compelling story despite the florid prose. I've also been enjoying quite a bit of short-form SF while plowing my way through a several-month backlog of Analog magazines. Does the Victoria's Secret catalog count? I just leafed through the latest one while taking out the recycling...

4. Five Books That Mean A lot to Me: I won't cheat on this one. Five books that made a remarkable imprint on my thinking - five key mileposts in my intellectual and moral development, if you will (in order of first reading):

  1. The Bible
  2. (It makes its way onto a lot of these kinds of lists; it is usually one of the first great works of literature that kids in the West are introduced to - even if it's not usually taught as literature).
  3. Cosmos by Carl Sagan (which first began to loosen my mind from the shackles of fundamentalism)
  4. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (could just as easily be Anthem or Atlas Shrugged, since I read all three in the same two-month period during the summer after ninth grade)

  5. Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein. (I had read many other of his books, but this one really matched my personal spiritual journey - a major part of my coming-of-age)

  6. Goedel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (difficult to describe, but made me look at music, math, logic, and language in an entirely new way; as I did in the earlier meme I heartily encourage Rob to add this to his "short list" of books to read.)

5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog. I usually don't tag others, but I would be interested in seeing the answers of:

Lysander (this should help him get a new post up for the month of May)
Timothy Sandefur


Posted by JohnL at May 23, 2005 10:55 PM

I remember trying to read an untranslated version of the Canterbury Tales in 11th grade english, and it was pretty close to impossible. Have you been studying Middle English?

Posted by: owlish at May 24, 2005 12:01 AM
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