Sunday, June 26, 2005


OK, let's do this thing.

Number of books I own: Oh jeez. This is like those guess-how-many-jelly-beans-in-the-jar contests. In which I was invariably off by several orders of magnitude. 500? A million? More than 20, I know that.

At this peripatetic stage of my life, I'm accustomed to count books in units of boxes. Maybe 30, 40 boxes? If I get it right, do I win my own library?

Last book I bought: Myths of the Near Future, by J.G. Ballard, along with The Best of Myles by Flann O'Brien.

Last book I read: the Ballard. Working my way bits-wise through the O'Brien; not the kind of book you read in one go.

Books that mean a lot to me: Oy. This one's kind of in flux; the books that historically meant things to me I find I'm increasingly alienated from. In the process of replacing them:

The Gun and the Olive Branch by David Hirst; which gave me all the ammunition I could ever want for opposing Zionism

Bleeding the Patient: The Consequences of Corporate Healthcare, by David Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler and Ida Hellander; ditto for supporting single-payer healthcare in America

Norman Finkelstein's
The Holocaust Industry; ditto for opposing the commodification and exploitation of Jewish suffering in the nazi holocaust

The Scar, by China Miéville, for all kinds of reasons, literary and personal

A Very Long Engagement, by Sébastien Japrisot; now unforgivably made into a film starring the in-all-circumstances-inexcusable Audrey Tautou. A lovely, sensitive and strange novel about World War I, my personal locus of irresistible battlefield-porn. I'm just endlessly susceptible to the mud-drowned trenchpoppies, what can I say.

In a related vein, The Complete Poems of Keith Douglas, who should have been a WWI poet but fetched up in WWII, probably through a clerical error.

The French Lieutentant's Woman
, by John Fowles, whose prose style completely captivated me at 16; I have no idea if it would hold up now, but it was a touchstone for many years.

Others, others, others
. I'll remember a dozen more as soon as I'm in bed tonight.

Tag: Ooh, is there anyone left who hasn't done this? OK, for starters I'll smack my new Carnival-mates Charles, at Freiheit und Wissen, and Gretchen at Green Lantern. Walky Talky could bring a nice artistic perspective. I promised WIIIAI I wouldn't tag it, but guess what? I lied. And for completeness, let's have The Continental Op, whose tastes (outside politics) appear to form a cosmically-decreed yin to my yang, or vice versa.

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