Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Babble on.

Alan (not Lefty, I'm talking about the Libertarian Boil) has tagged me in a web-game. Not very interesting blogging, I'm sure, but as it involves books, I'll play along.

# of books I own: Well...let's see...four sevens are...carry the six...squared...about three hundred, not including a couple of book cases stacked with the collected works of Dr. Seuss and the like.

Last Book I Bought: That was Dragon's Kin by Todd & Anne McCaffrey. Incidentally, it was the second-last book I read too...

Last Book I Read: Well, this is going to sound silly, but it was I Want To Go Home! by Gordon Korman, just this past weekend. Yes, I'll wait until you've stopped laughing before I continue...when you're quite finished...

I've been looking for the next level of story to read to my four-year-old Boo - something beyond I Wish That I Had Duck Feet. Instead of dropping a chunk of change at Chapters, as I am wont to do, Litlbit encouraged me to rummage about in my parents' basement through some of my own old boxed books first, to see if there was anything suitable buried down there. Well, not only did I find some stories I'll be reading to my boy this summer - we've already started Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - but I also discovered a treasure trove of the 'young adult' material that sustained me before high school: Alfred Hitchcock's Three Investigators series, the Danny Dunn books, all my Roald Dahl books, the Narnia series, and more. Included amongst these was my Gordon Korman collection: This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall, Who Is Bugs Potter?, and the rest of them.

On the way home, Litlbit had to stop at the mall, and as both Boo and Mini-Boo were sleeping in their car-seats in the back, I decided to stay in the car and pull out one of my old favourites: I Want To Go Home! I read most of the book in the car while my wife shopped, and finished it up over a sandwich when we got home. Good memories, but light fare.

5 books that mean a lot to me: This is a tough one. I think I pick something up from most of what I read, fiction and non-fiction alike. And different books have affected me greatly at different times in my life. I mean, the first time I read Ayn Rand? As a young and idealistic Officer Cadet, diving into Tom Clancy before the Berlin Wall fell? I still remember the night I devoured Roald Dahl's short story The Swan from The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, because I was going through some difficult times with bullies at school myself. So, how to choose? Ah well, here goes:
  • Jonathan Livinston Seagull by Richard Bach has been in my life for as long as I can remember. In fact, I used to listen to Richard Harris reading it on vinyl in a dark room at my grandparents' house as a small child. I can still see the glowing blue dial on the hi-fi across the room from the couch where I lay. Yes, I was raised by a reformed hippy, in case you were wondering. My current copy of the book is hopelessly dog-eared, as it should be.

  • Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk were my introduction to good historical fiction. Wouk was truly inspired writing these - nothing else he's penned feels quite the same. His passages written from the perspective of a fictional Wehrmacht general imprisoned as a war criminal are downright creepy, he gets so deep into the twisted psyche that drove the German war machine.

  • The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov opened my eyes to the world of science fiction, and led me to his short stories (especially the ground-breaking Robot stories), which led me to his contemporaries like Heinlein and Bradbury. Just the original three books, mind you; we won't talk about the prequel or sequels.

  • Can I name Tolkien's Lord of the Rings epic without sounding trite? The books completely consumed my twelve-year-old self at first reading, and I've revisited them every few years ever since. My love of McCaffrey, Jordan, Whyte, Martin, and others flowed from this well-spring.

  • This will undoubtedly have some of you reaching for the Gravol, but I absolutely love Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books. This historical fiction saga with a fantastic twist, a great love story, and some of the most fascinating characters I've met anywhere in literature has captivated me. They are most definitely not romance novels, and I don't see why some ignorant book-sellers and reviewers have mischaracterized them that way. Hmmph.

By naming series, I've stretched my five, and still I've missed W.E.B. Griffin's Brotherhood of War and The Corps books, John Christopher's White Mountain books, the collected works of Roald Dahl (which sustained me far beyond my childhood), the techno-thrillers of Clancy who led me to Bond and Coonts and untold weeks of enjoyment, Jack Whyte's extraordinary Dream of Eagles multi-generational saga, and many more.

This is an impossible task.

Tag 5 More:
Let It Bleed
The Tiger In Winter
Ghost of a flea
Jerry Aldini
Sinister Thoughts

Worse than a frickin' chain letter, I tell ya...

Babble off.


At 9:32 p.m., Blogger The Tiger said...

Bastard. I couldn't even answer the first question.

The others were fun. Though there were so many books I couldn't find the room for.

At 1:06 a.m., Blogger Matt said...

Thanks for the trip down "Young Adult" memory lane. Some of those books were (are) absolutely awesome, especially the Roald Dahl ones.

If you haven't read Boy, his autobiography of his youth, then you need to start trolling ebay.

At 8:15 a.m., Blogger Greg said...

I am a tripod series fan too, B.! It's a great introduction to SF for kids.

At 12:52 p.m., Blogger Declan said...

Gordon Korman doesn't get enough respect - ' I want to go home' was a classic (in the light fare gnere of course).

At 3:26 a.m., Blogger Candace said...

Thanks for plugging the "Outlander" et al series - I agree that while they can be construed as "romantic fiction" they are much more than that. Check out "Lady of Hay" by Barbara Erskine - very well done (and a forerunner to the Gabaldon series).

Books for children: Don't forget "The Velveteen Rabbit" or the classic "The Little Engine that Could" and any of the Robert Munsch books (even if they have what seems to an adult a weird flavor, like "Mortimer" (not sure if that's the right title) they will be a huge hit). And you MUST check out the (British, I think) series of "Mr. Men" (if you haven't heard of them, - huge hit with children and very very funny (which is important if you're going to be reading it 100 times).

Another good children's book is "Mr. Got to Go" (set in Vancouver) - very cute, good moral etc and something you can live with 100 times (there really aren't that many of those around, are there?).


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