Saturday, July 16, 2005

Book Meme, or where are the books?

I saw this meme in in LIS-Dom here, and it has been sitting in my notes for a while. I figure it's about time I get to it now that I am relaxing a bit at home, so here goes:

1. Total number of books I have owned: Hmm, this is a tricky question. I have had books pretty much throughout my life, from the moment my mother began to put them in my hand to today. That is a lot of books if you want to look at it from owned in my life up to this point. Then, there are textbooks for college (but we don't really want to count those, do we? Maybe some). I moved to my job last year, so I had to do some serious weeding before I came here. So, I guess I better go with about how many I have in my workspace at home now. Give or take, I'll say about 300. It's probably more, but I am "eyeballing" it now as I type.

2. Last book I bought: Paulo Coehlo, La Quinta Monta~na (Spanish edition of The Fifth Mountain), Frederick Pohl, ed., The SFWA Grand Masters, vol. 3. I don't think I am buying as much since I am reading more from the new books we get at the library. However, I still buy a few.

3. Last book I read: Reymundo Sanchez, My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King. You can read my blog post on it here.

4. Last book I finished: Same as above. However, I am a firm believer in the right not to finish a book if it is not engaging or interesting. There are too many books out there to waste time on something that is not good.

5. Five books that mean a lot to me: Hmm, another tricky question. I am not sure I have five. Off the top, I can name:

  1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cien A~nos de Soledad (translated in English as One Hundred Years of Solitude). This is probably my all time favorite book. It is the one book that I feel I have to reread every so often. Macondo is a special place I can revisit again and again. This is one of the books I would want on a deserted isle if I had to choose a number of books for such a situation. I find it engaging, interesting, engrossing.
  2. Paulo Coehlo, El Alquimista (Spanish edition of The Alchemist). I read it last summer, and it is now another one I will likely reread. The fable of a man in search of his personal destiny came to me during my search for this job. I gave up a doctoral program to pursue my MLS and then become a librarian. It was a leap of faith, and once I made it, I knew it was my place in the universe, if one can see it in such terms. That job hunting summer was a harrowing experience with ups and downs, and the book gave me inspiration as well as reassurance.
  3. Fabulas de Iriarte, a book of Tomas de Iriarte's fables which one of my aunts gave me as birthday present when I was a boy. Sadly, the book got lost somewhere when my parents moved. I have fond memories of that little illustrated volume because it was one of the first books I owned as well as one that I loved reading through.
  4. Eduardo Galeano, Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina (translated as Open Veins of Latin America). I read this in my first semester as an undergraduate. I started out as an engineering major (if you can believe that). I read it for an elective class on Hispanic Culture, Language and Identity. The class was one of the places where I learned I was more suited to be a teacher and educator. The book also helped to shape some of the ideas and beliefs I hold about social justice and responsibilities.
  5. Robert Fulghum, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I don't think this one needs much explanation. It is significant as one of the books I was reading as I was getting ready to student-teach years ago. It is one of those books that reminds me that certain simple values are important. The world would be a much better place if more people remembered what they learned back in kindergarten.

5. Five (more or less) people I'd like to see do this as well: Pretty much anyone who may venture to read this. Some of my colleagues at work, I would be curious what they would say. My mother, who is an avid reader and inspired me, in so many ways, to read in learn , though not sure I could get her to do it online.

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