Number of Books I Own:
Uh, somewhere between five hundred and a thousand, I think. I don't think I've ever counted. Enough so that I had guest comment about the mess in my apartment, although it was less of a disaster than another, mutual, friend's place.
Last Book I Bought:
I'm going to assume that means the last book I had delivered, as orders can hang fire forever and a day, as the A Feast of Crows example shows. That would be yesterday's delivery of Glen Cook's two new books, Whispering Nickel Idols (latest in his long series of fantasy detective novels, still going strong in that distinctive Chandler/Twain hardboiled tall-tale style of his), and the Tyranny of the Night (haven't looked at it yet). Also, a recently published regimental history of the 6th United States Colored Troops Regiment. Bellefonte was supposedly a "station" on the Underground Railroad before the war, and there were enough free blacks in the town during the Civil War to contribute about a dozen files to the 6th USCT, according to the big monument in front of the courthouse. The 6th USCT was apparently a pretty hard-fighting outfit - they were prominent in the bloody, exceptional repulse on New Market Heights - and I'm looking forward to reading that regimental history. But first I plan to finish reading the first volume of Ness's Field Fortifications and Field Armies in the Civil War...
Five Books that mean a lot to me:
Oh, geez. I'm always bad with this sort of question - it's more a matter of free-association than a rock-fast sort of thing, because I always end up riffing on whatever floats first to the top of the murky depths of my memory.
Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
I spent my first semester of college reading that beast on my own hook, lazing around Pollack Halls in the summer of 1990. Gibbon's insanely latinate and rambling style has permanently warped my own rhetoric, and ever since, my personal style has been better-suited to personal entertainment and display, than any serious project of persuasion. I still find myself trying to construct those intricate, convoluted, perfect blocks of prose, uninterrupted by the rude impositions of conclusive punctuation.
Orwell's Homage to Catalonia
I think I read this after gettting out of school, although my memory is, as I have said, murky and prone to inaccuracies on the subject of time and temporal relationships. Orwell's bitter picture of the anti-fascist revolution and the death of idealism suited my natural biases and habits of thought, so of course I embraced it unreservedly.
Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep
Possibly the best space opera ever written. It's one of those brilliant, pitch-perfect constructs where a tragic, galaxy-shaking naval space battle stretching across thousands of light-years is the B plot to the main issue. The early-Internet interstitial material has aged somewhat, but it still holds up as a whole. And I thought I ought to include one of the dozens of SF novels which I re-read on a semi-yearly basis in this list.
Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic
As a sort of banner-carrier for the piles and piles of Civil War history which are straining my cheap bookshelves to the breaking-point, I suppose Horwitz's American-heritage-as-a-foreign-country travelogue is the best-suited representative of this particular aspect of my reading habits.
Steven Vincent Benet's John Brown's Body
I could only wish I could write poetry as well as Benet; I re-read this epic poem every eight months or so since I discovered him some eight years ago. Benet took America seriously. Even more than Whitman, Benet *understood* America, with a fury of love and disappointment and untrammeled hope. One of the great tragedies of American literature is that Benet died before finishing Western Star, without much more than a proper beginning. It would have been wonderful.
I tag Jessica,Fred,Mark(good luck on the kidney transplant, BTW),Dimitri of CWBN and Bill of ideofact.