book meme

Annie from Going Underground has tagged me with the book virus currently doing the interweb rounds. So…

1. Number of books I own
1000+. There’s about 500 Doctor Who books alone, but even if you discount them I’d still say over a thousand. If people can actually answer this with a figure then I suspect they need to read more. Or are very good users of the local library.

2. Last book I bought
bookshop: The Palace Tiger by Barbara Clevery and The Silver Pigs by..er…it says over in the left ‘to be read’ column.
charity shop: Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L Sayers and Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Copeland.

3. Last book I completed
Busman’s Honeymoon. I was in the nmood for some light crime. This book did have the unintentional side-effect of reminding me to book my chimney sweep before the month is out. Before that, it was The Palace Tiger – more light crime. I like the idea of a ‘golden era’ pastiche series set in Raj India and it was enjoyable so I may try another to see if the series is worth reading. And I’m about three chapters from the end of The Secrets of the Jin-Shei which is a curious one.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me
Eep. Can I nominate myself? Very well, in no particular order:

  • The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
    Light and subtle, yet heart-capturingly sensual. From the light playing on the icy canals to the brush of vermillion on her apron and the heat rising from the markets, this novel slips into the brain and stays there, hauntingly.
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick
    Really, I should say “almost anything by PKD” but if there is one which captures my favourite elements of his work, it’s this one. A writer in a present-day (i.e. 60s) America – where Japan occupies the West Coast and the Nazis occupy the East Coast – begins to wonder if the reality he lives in is real. Maybe there’s another universe out there? One in which the Allies won the war? It combines the normal reality-shift narrative with the alt-history genre and was written when PKD was going through a more self-disciplined phase.
  • Warring States by Mags L Halliday
    I feel rather daft putting this here, but it is a book which means a lot to me. It’s the first thing I’ve written where I struggled to let go at the end and where the narrative and characters are personal to me. There were also massive personal crisises during the years I was working on it but I just couldn’t let it go. So it does mean a lot. It just looks terribly self-reflective of me to choose it.
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
    Back when I moved school, aged 13, I had a conversation with my new English teacher. He – and it was an old-fashioned type in a tweed jacket – was dismayed to learn my free time reading was filled with Raymond Chandler and SF. He gave me a copy of Persuasion and told me to read it. I got as far as the end of page 1. It was alien to me: not just the world it contained or the language but the narrative. Many years later, after studying Pride & Prejudice at college – and this was in the pre-Firth P&P era – I found I quite liked Austen after all. Many years after that, I finally dared approach Persuasion again, though old memories of that opening page made me wary. I loved it. I think books that mean something may not be the best literature, or the best work by an author, but the ones that come with personal history wreathed around them. Persuasion is about being given a second chance to love, so it seems appropriate that I gave it a second chance.
  • Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
    Gods, I’m just picking romances…This is a book in which it is the actual copy I own which means a lot, rather than the story itself. My copy was published in 1947 on the flimsiest of post-war paper and bound with purple cloth-covered card. Over the decades, the cloth has faded with the sun and the spine is worn thin. This is my mother’s copy and has travelled halfway around the world and back. When I left home, she gave it to me.
    Plus it has Cornish wreckers, a villainous vicar and a gypsy hero. What more escapist nonsense could you want?

5. Who shall I tag next?
er…
Ladylark because she is smart, Kalima because she knows sexy prose, Badly Dubbed Boy because I’m curious, Paul From the Orient because he is clever (and because he has a book blog like mine…).

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6 Responses to “book meme”

  1. trinalin Says:

    Someday I hope to have a database for my library. Then I’ll know EXACTLY how many books I own. :-)

  2. Annie Mole Says:

    Thanks for that Mags – I was surprised how much “romantic” stuff there was on it. Well du Maurier and Persuasion. Must try the Phillip K Dick at some point though plus well impressed that you have 500 Dr Who books.

  3. Mags Says:

    The du Maurier and Austen is because it’s books which mean a lot to me. If the question was “five books which I think everyone should read” or “five books I think are good literature” then the lists would be different. But book that have emotive meaning are not necessarily about the actual contents.

    If that makes sense.

  4. wonderful_electric Says:

    As soon as I can get my blog working again, I’ll think about this meme. Although my book choices are, frankly, quite embarassing. I just can’t seem to handle any activity that involves concentrating for more than 10 minutes…

  5. Paul Freeman Says:

    Is done; is here – http://www.dellah.com/orient/2005/09/23/book-meme

  6. trinalin Says:

    (Your feed thingy burped again, but when I reread this entry, I note that I can add to my earlier comment.)

    Since I commented on this blog entry, I have added a book database to my collection of software. And just this weekend finished adding all of my books. I have 1196 books in my library. In a way, I’m disappointed – I thought I owned more books than that. :-)


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