Thursday, June 23, 2005

i don't have time for a meme....

...but i feel guilty as i've tagged a few people myself... frankly, i'm not all that good at them, but here goes:

Total # of books owned:  I have no idea. i have two 8 foot bookshelves in the house filled with MOSTLY my books, plus two large ones in my office overflowing. Very rough estimate based on a count of one shelf and multiplying by number of shelves, not including books in storage: 800+

Last book I bought:  Cliff Notes to The Bible -- as a gag.

Last book I read:  The Wages of Genius by Gregory Mone. Interesting little novel about a guy who so needs to be extraordinary that he's convinced himself he has strange and important links to Albert Einstein. Ultimately, he is very very ordinary and can't cope with that fact.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me: This is like asking me my favorite movie. I have a very hard time (a) narrowing it down; and (b) remembering all the significant ones. But here goes:

(1) Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney: I read this in high school, at a time when I had abandoned wanting to be a a writer and had decided to become a lawyer. McInerney's use of second person to tell the story grabbed me imediately -- I had never seen that before -- and the story was at turns cynical, satirical, and touching. I actually cried. I re-read it every now and again and I still love it. It reignited my love of words and made me want to be a writer again. Damn you, Jay McInerney.

(2) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: Douglas Adams, a lover of and gifted user of words. You can tell he loved the language and enjoyed playing with it, making it do things you didn't expect. I didn't get to see the recent film version of the book (though I want to), but I always contended that the reason a film version wouldn't match the book is that the book's humor and brilliance was directly tied to Adams' gift for words. That doesn't get translated to the screen. The images are funny; the words are brilliant.

(3) Ingmar Bergman: Essays in Criticism, edited by Stuart M. Kaminsky: One of the first film books I bought as an undergrad, when I was thinking about studying it. It really opened up my eyes to the concept of film-as-art.

(4) Life After God and Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland: I'm grouping these as one (even though I could separate them and be done with this post) because Coupland's work is all linked in my mind, touching me with his stories of youth in search of meaning, in search of God, in a world that is decidedly "post-Christian" (hence the title Life After God). Always real, even when writing about apocalyptic events as in Coma, he strikes me as one of those authors I'd really like to spend some time with.

(5) How Movies Helped Save My Soul by Gareth Higgins: Not because it has profound insights, but because it's about having a dialogue about the spiritual elements in films. As a Christian who is also a filmmaker, I find that many Christians want to limit what a Christian filmmaker should be -- to making overtly Christian films where people find God and nothing really too bad happens. But this book looks at the spiritual dimensions of films of all kinds, and I find it inspiring that there are other Christians out there who can enjoy a film as a piece of art, looking for what it is trying to say about humanity and the world, whether we agree with those sentiments or not.

That was a tough list to make. If you asked me tomorrow, or if I was doing this from home where my 'home books' are, I might have had completely different answers. I would also have liked to include plays like Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and a number of Shakespeare's works, Beckett's works, etc., but I didn't think I should since they're not really 'books' per se. And The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon, is another notable absence, even though I just re-read it recently, I'm sure I'm going to want to edit this later. Picking these lists is like picking amongst my children -- I always feel like I just can't choose ONLY five. Ten, twenty, maybe more, but that would make this meme rather unwieldy, wouldn't it?

And on a side note: does anyone else out there ever wish they HADN'T read certain books, mostly so they could go back and read them for the first time again? It's so hard to have that joy of discovery anymore. I read a lot less than I used to (or, I should say, I read a lot less BOOKS that I used to), and there seems to be so few that meet that standard (or maybe my standards have just gone up over the years?) I find, with most books, I'm just trying to finish to say that I did.


At 4:21 PM, Blogger AAP said...

Hmmm. What's wrong with cliff notes to the bible. I wanna get one! I mean, who has time to rad the bible...

At 5:20 PM, Blogger TerminalMFA said...

I read it once cover-to-cover. I figure I owed it at least that much effort and respect.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger MOVIEBIBLE said...

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