The Booky meme

Weeding Library CollectionsIt’s not my fault I’m posting a meme. Reed made me do it.

Total Number of Books Owned

What sort of question is that? On the principle of “One, two, three, many” (which really is the only way physically possible to count books) I own many.

I gave away a kilobyte of the things in 2002, exactly and spookily 1,024 of them so at that time I must have owned about 4 or 5,000, I suppose. And I am still giving them away and selling them on Amazon. The blasted things breed. They are two deep on the Legendary Bookcase, which does at least give me somewhere to hide my erotica.

Last Book Bought

Winter in Madrid, which I bought for the book group I’ve recently joined and stopped reading with gratitude three fourths of the way through once I’d been to the meeting. It was a good book, but with all the nuances that are present when you call someone a good woman. Worthy, humourless, hard-working, drear. Like Alice, I wonder what is the use of a book without pictures and conversations, and like the anti-hero’s friend in The Stornaway Way, my taste in fiction stopped improving when I was a teenager and my shelves are full of Pratchett.

The last book I bought for kicks was IT Governance – How Top Performers Manage IT for Superior Results which says something incredibly worrying about how I get my kicks.

Last Book Read

I seem to be re-reading Georgette Heyer at the moment which is basically comfort reading; the equivalent of curling up on the sofa after a bath with a towelling bath-robe, fluffy slippers and a mug of horlicks. I’ve also got a book about systems thinking called The Fifth Discipline lolling around on the bed with me, which I am taking a break from, and a book of womens’ sexual fantasies which doesn’t include anything about “The Fifth Discipline” but probably should. Before that I stalled part way though “Winter in Madrid” as already mentioned.

My Legendary Bookcase - 01Five books that mean a lot to me

Eeek. I started with a list of unimpressive fiction, but ripped it out and replaced it with some of the books that have contributed to how I think:

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins – framed my views about our place in the world. Probably the right book at the right point in my life. It’s not a book I’m particularly fond of, Dawkins is too strident for my liking. But though I prefer Carl Sagan’s company, this book probably had more impact on me.

Games People Play by Eric Berne – made me realise that there is more to how any of us behave than meets the eye. It’s over 40 years old now and over 30 since I first read it, and though transactional analysis is no longer the model de jour it’s still one of the most useful and accessible ways of questioning behaviour patterns that I know.

Not exactly a book, but hey: Wired Magazine changed my life. I subscribed to it in the mid and late 1990s and it introduced me not just to the internet, but to the new thinking about the new ways we would all start to interact. It is hard now, writing a blog post, taking time out to Instant Message friends, playing a round in Travian and a turn in Scrabulous, checking my online banking, downloading the latest podcasts from the Reduced Shakespeare Company and Business Week Magazine, checking where I have to go tomorrow on Multimap and looking up my most recent book purchases on Amazon, it is hard now to imagine a world where all this was unimagined. But it was Wired Magazine which got me off my backside and into the e-world where I belonged.

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman – structured my thinking about cognition, technology, culture and society. It describes how the medium we use to communicate affects the way in which we think, and how our cognitive processes have been changed, first by the printing press, then by the telegraph, and more recently by the radio and television. The new media coda to it is The Kids are Alright by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade who look at how the gaming generations, (those up to the age of about 35) think differently from the Gen Xers and Boomers who grew up without computer games. I really ought to read the Postman again though.

I’m struggling for the fifth one, but I am going to go with one recommended by Reed: Intellectual Impostures by Alan Sokal and John Brickmont – finally told me it was ok to loathe the self-serving, insouciant dishonesty of post-modernism and to dismiss them with the contempt that they deserve. This book told me that it wasn’t me it was them: post-modernist pseudo-intellectuals really are lying c**ts.

Right. If not already tagged with this, I am tagging Charlotte, Dr Z, Teuchter and YOU.

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7 responses to “The Booky meme

  1. Oh yay. Will get to it. I could lose a whole day trying to count my books.

  2. Gosh – will have to think v seriously about this one …

    Just talk amongst yourselves for a while, please.

  3. Around 14 – 15,000 books in the Burrow, at a guess. Lucky it’s an old, solidly built house, or the floors would have collapsed long ago.

    Just because a book’s 40 years old doesn’t make it any less relevant! [After all, the Bible has been around longer than that, and look at the damage it’s still causing.] Eric Berne was one of the most perceptive therapists, and his theories are invaluable for sussing out ‘what’s going on’. His take on current global events would inject a badly needed dose of realism into the escalating madness. But would anyone take any notice? I doubt it.

  4. I tagged myself with this one after reading it on another blog. Quite a lot of fun! Although now I have even more reading to do…

  5. I was also tagged by Reed and I am still struggling with the five books which mean a lot to me. I’ll get my post up in yet another day or two.

  6. Five books that mean a lot to me…

    The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Turned my idea of what science fiction could be upside down. Turned my idea of what *funny* could be upside down. The sheer density of ideas in it still amazes me.

    Neuromancer. Because it was a future I could believe I’d live in, albeit probably as a confused old sod who didn’t understand the pace of technological change. I have seen little in the twenty three years since to make me think differently.

    Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman. A Nobel prize winning physicist, I think it was Hans Bethe, said of Richard Feynman: “There are two kinds of genius. The ordinary, commonplace genius, you can see how they do what they do, and they leave you with the impression that if only you worked harder, or were a little smarter, you could do it too. And then there are the magicians, and you have no idea how they do it. Feynman was a magician.”

    Pure Effect, by Derren Brown. Because before, I was a geek with some toy tricks and I probably came across as a prat. After, I have left people breathless, amazed, baffled, and in the very best three or four cases, truly disturbed, because not only do they now know how I’ve done what I’ve done, they’re not even sure they know *what* I’ve done. And, crucially, I’ve achieved these results with precisely the same effects, presented with more thought and respect. And I wrote Derren Brown a fan email to thank him. And he answered. And when I met him, I thanked him for answering. And he said “Ooh, I hardly ever do that, it must have been a good one. What was it about?”, and seemed genuinely interested.

    Oh, of course, and the Nitpickers’ Guide for Next Generation Trekkers, Volume II. Because I’m a named contributor. Geek-tastic.

  7. Pingback: How I Love A Booky Meme « Charlotte’s Web

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