Pearl was kind enough to tag me for a book meme. As you all know, I’m pretty new to the blog world, and am unfamiliar with all the blog stuff there is out there. I’m learning, slowly. So for those of you who are learning like me, a meme is “an idea that is shared and passed from blog to blog, like a question posted in one blog and answered in many other blogs.” (from iamPARIAH)
When I first saw the word meme, I thought it referred to someone saying, Me! Me! since it’s a chance to answer questions about yourself. Like I said, I’m learning.
So without further ado:
How many books have you owned in your lifetime?
Jeez. This is a hard one, since I started collecting books as soon as I learned to read. At the moment I probably have around 150 to 200 books, but I recently gave away about 50. I was always in some book club or another when I was younger, and my favorite thing to do with gift money is to buy books. I would guess I’ve owned throughout my life – a lot.
What was the last book(s) you bought?
I just went to Half Price Books on Saturday and bought two lovely books to add to my collection. Both are about food: The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber and Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley. One food memoir, and one vegetarian cookbook. Recently I’ve been devouring food writing, including online. I’m spending way too much time on other people’s blogs.
What was the last book you read?
Well, I tend to read two or three books at a time, flipping back and forth depending on what sounds interesting at that moment. I just finished The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber and Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. I’m halfway through The Tummy Trilogy by Calvin Trillin, and I’ve just started Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser and Best Food Writing 2001, edited by Holly Hughes. And I’m also reading Good Poems, selected by Garrison Keillor. Did I mention I like to read?
Name five books that mean a lot to you.
1. The Earth’s Children series by Jean Auel. I know, it’s actually five books, but it’s my blog and I say it counts as one. I started reading these when I was in high school, and I go back to them often. The story of Ayla and how she goes through life as a strong and independent woman always inspires me. The writing is so detailed, I actually feel like I’m there, hunting mammoth or riding a wild horse across the plains. I treat these books as history; I’ll say things like, “Well, Ayla uses willow bark tea to decrease pain,” and “What would Ayla do?” :)
2. Listen to the Warm by Rod McKuen. I found this book at the library one day while I was wandering through the aisles. I then found it for sale at a library book sale for $1.00. It was probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent. This book opened my eyes to a different kind of poetry, one that wasn’t flowery or set in medieval times, that was easy to read and so real and nonchalant. I love, love, love these poems. Here’s an example of the simplicity of his writing:
Tomorrow I’ll buy you presents.
Pomegranates and breadsticks,
Tickets round the room and back
And red red roses like everybody buys everybody.
Everybody’s got a diamond ring
And Sunday shoes.
Neckties and petticoats,
Pistols and tennis balls.
What pleases you?
I’d hock my watch to buy you Greece
Or sell my car to bring you rickshaws from Rangoon.
Aaaah. Simple. Perfect.
3. Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber. This woman is my favorite writer. Her words are like chocolate’smooth and full and delicious. She describes things so lusciously. An example:
Then she rides her bike home from work, following the narrow swath of her light through the dense, sugary darkness, the crosshatching of headlights everywhere, and fingers of palm leaves arched over the sidewalk, some moss-soft or stiff as straw and serrated. Edges and holes seem to open up in front of her and shapes loom out of the shadows, aqueous and mutable as fish beneath the water.
I love this book. It’s so beautifully written, sometimes I feel like I don’t even care about the story. I just want to hear the words.
4. Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. This book totally made me value myself and my time more than the income that I bring in. It made me realize that working in a job you hate until the day you die isn’t the only option, and that buying into the American dream, spending on homes and cars and clothing and material goods is just one path you can follow. I got interested in the simplicity movement after reading this book, and though I can’t say I live simply, I definitely live simpler than before.
5. Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Bronwen Godfrey. I don’t know where I got this book. Some book sale, probably. I haven’t even read all of it, since the second half of the book is outdated vegetarian nutrition information. But I fell in love with the possibility of becoming a Laurel; someone who loved to be in the kitchen, who cooked simple, healthy foods, who poured love into every dish she made. This wasn’t the book that pushed me toward vegetarianism, though – that was Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman. And yes, I’m squeezing two books into this slot. Mad Cowboy is easy to read, easy to understand, and full of simple facts about meat, what’s in it, what it does in your body, and what it does to the environment. And although I have been eating meat lately, I still remember the information in this book, and find myself itching to go back to being veg.
So there you have it, my book world. It’s a large and food-driven world. And I haven’t even started to describe my cookbooks yet.
Note: Technically, I’m supposed to tag five other bloggers with the same questions I’ve answered here. Unfortunately, I don’t know five other bloggers that haven’t already answered these questions. Feel free to comment with your own book recommendations.