Oh dear, I've been infected!

Deadpanann has tagged me for the book memage going around now. Because what Ann wrote is so great, I'm going to lift it verbatim. I know The Beckster will appreciate it. "If blogging is self-indulgent, memage must be the equivalent of masturbation." Truer words were never spoken.


On with the show?

1. Total number of books I've owned.
I don't know anyone who would actually be able to answer this question. Unless it was just someone who hated books and said, "Zero." One time, when I was about ten, I added up all the prices on the books I owned. I was just curious. At the time, I had a desk with two shelves on it that was full. I also had a four shelf bookshelf that was full, and I had doubled up in certain places. Like, two tiers of books on one shelf. Also, some of my books didn't have prices on them, so I just estimated. I had around $1500 worth at the time. Now? I really have no clue how many books I own, because 85% of them are at my parents' house, and out of the 15% I have here, only about 20 are actually on a bookshelf. When we moved here, Shark thought the bookshelf would be better served as a place for all our knick knacks than as a bookshelf. 1) What the hell? and 2) He fucking loves knick knacks. Currently, the shelf has several of our wedding gifts on it. On the top is a porcelain pitcher and a Waterford vase my in-laws gave us for Christmas (bought at the Waterford factory in Ireland!). On the top shelf are jar candles and a picture of me and my parents at my college graduation. And birthday cards. I don't know why we've kept them, except that one is for Shark from his sister and she made it. The next shelf down has a wedding picture on it, more candles, and this weird decorative bowl with rocks in it. We bought that on our honeymoon at Penis Rock. I'm telling ya, all this decorative crap is Shark's. He actually put rock gardens and oil and vinegar jars on our bridal registry.

Oh, but we were talking about books. I have no idea how many books I own or have owned. Let's just say lots and lots, but less than I used to because they've gotten really expensive. Even the $8 mass market paperbacks are a lot. Or maybe I'm just thinking of when I used to buy Sweet Valley High and they were only $4 a piece. *sigh*

Between Shark and me, I would put the total number of books owned around 1200. That's just a wild estimate, though.

2. Last book I bought.
Margaret Atwood's, The Blind Assassin. I'm having a hard time getting into it, so I put it down and am reading a borrowed book for now.

3. Last book I read.
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. Very funny, of course, but a little more depressing than some of his other stuff.

I am going to a reading of his on June 24. Yay!

4. Five books that mean a lot to me.
Time for reflection and introspection! #1 of course, for all time, is The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (of course you know who wrote it, but I'm going for consistency by giving all authors names, thankyouverymuch). I used to read this book at least once a year. It's been about three since I've read it now, sadly, but I think I pretty much have the damn thing memorized anyway. And, no, I'm not a crazy serial killer or anything. This is just my all-time favorite book. And at fourteen I had a crush on Holden Caulfield.

#2 would be Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. I bought my copy in Paris -- it was a British publication, which just seemed fitting. I got really sick for a day or two while I was in Paris, so I read this book when I was not drugged out asleep. (Medicinal dosages in France are much smaller than they are here. So I took about six pills at a time. Then I felt fine.) This is the only book I've ever read, put down, and started over again. In fact, one of my all time favorite quotes ever is, "
It's like you can never do the right thing by someone if you've stopped sleeping with them. You can't see a way back, or through, or round, no matter how hard you try." I think the reason this book meant so much to me -- and still does -- is that I was coming out of a very unhealthy relationship at the time and heading straight into the most damaging one of my life. Despite the negative time period the book reminds me of, and despite being happy with my life and married and all that now, it still represents to me a time when I wasn't happy. When I was searching for whatever it was that would make me happy. I don't necessarily think the main character in this book ever would end up happy, but the fact that he probably wasn't still resonates with me.

For #3, Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. For a very long time, I was a King Arthur nutcase, and I read everything I could about Arthurian Legend. Mists definitely wasn't the first thing I read about King Arthur, nor was it the last. It wasn't even unique in the whole telling-it-from-the-women's-point-of-view aspect (see #4). But it just had something. It was complicated and rich and sad and beautiful. And at the time, I wanted nothing else but to go to England and visit all these places. Because of this book, I used the name Morgan le Fey online quite a bit, or Morgaine, or Morgana. What a way to take a villainness and turn her into a victim of circumstance. I loved it.

#4 is The Guinevere Trilogy by Persia Woolley. Haha! Three in one! The books in this trilogy include Child of the Northern Spring, Queen of the Summer Stars, and Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn. I couldn't love Mists as much as I should have because I read this trilogy first. The trilogy chronicles Guinevere's life from childhood to queendom to traitor. And in these books, she wasn't a pious, meek little wimp like she was in Mists. She was strong, willful, pagan, and conflicted. I wrote a review at Amazon about these books. Mine is the very last one listed (the first submitted). At the time, Amazon was still new and did their review system differently than they do now. In 1997, my email address was listed, and Persia Woolley wrote me an email telling me how glad she was that I enjoyed her books. Maybe that's why I still hold these books so dear, because it really has been 8 years since I last read them.

Finally, #5 is... I have no idea. Right now, I'm going to put it at a tie. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier because it was the first book that ever made me sob and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski because it's so damn unique. And it reminds me of when I got to meet Mark and Poe and they both signed my book. And I went to a reading where Mark read from this book while Poe sang, "Hey Pretty." (Which was a different version from what made it to the radio.) Did you know radio stations actually told Poe that if she'd sing with a guy, then they could play her music? "There's just no place for women in rock and roll today," they said. So she and Mark had done this book tour together, so they recorded it and it made it to the radio. How about that?

5. Infect some people with this book meme.
The Beckster
I don't know anyone else on Blogger. YET.

I don't know why the font is all different sizes. I don't understand Blogger's Normal, Tiny, Small, whatever sizes. What's wrong with 10 pt, 12pt, etc? Bastards.


Anonymous sparklehead said...

Don't forget about the rooster vinegar oil thingy!

I don't get "Catcher in the Rye"... it's a book about nothing. Maybe I'm not smart enough?

Sat Jun 04, 10:54:00 AM PDT

Blogger deadpanann said...

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim was the next to the last book I read--right before that last Ian McEwan book. I thought it was hilarious, but it's the first of Sedaris' books that I've read. Where is he doing a reading? I'm sure it's some city far, far away from here, but I'm curious anyway.

I think you would like A Working Stiff's Manifesto by Iain Levison. It's a quick, light read, but full of truly funny stuff, in my opinion.

Mon Jun 06, 08:40:00 PM PDT

Blogger Cunning Linguist said...


"Seinfeld" was a show about nothing, too. And it's bloody brilliant.

I think The Catcher in the Rye is more about an outsider though... so it's more about something.

Mon Jun 06, 08:48:00 PM PDT

Blogger Cunning Linguist said...


June 24 - David Sedaris in New Orleans!
I know you're in Mississippi, but I still have no clue where anything in the nearby vicinity is. I've only been to New Orleans twice since I've lived here. But that might be worth a day? Also, Me Talk Pretty One Day is the funniest goddamn thing I've ever read.

I'll check the Levison book out from the library. Thanks for the tip. :)

Mon Jun 06, 08:52:00 PM PDT

Blogger deadpanann said...

New Orleans!? Sweet! That's like an hour from Hattiesburg!

Fri Jun 10, 06:11:00 PM PDT

Blogger Cunning Linguist said...

It's an hour from here, too. Maybe I'll see you there?

Mon Jun 13, 05:08:00 AM PDT

Anonymous Rachel said...

The Mists of Avalon was an amazing book, I didn't even know what it was about when I came across it but read it because I had nothing else to read... and I've never looked back, I'm going to have to find my copy and read it again soon

Sun Jun 26, 03:01:00 AM PDT

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