Monday, October 01, 2007

Books, Books, Books

Wonderful Absolute Vanilla... (& Attylah) has tagged me for this meme and although I’m usually reluctant to speak – even worse, write - about me, I’m writing this gladly, books being a topic I would eagerly discuss anyplace, anytime.


Total number of books owned

Many, yet never enough. I have several walls covered in bookcases now, in my library, and I grew up in a house that has several rooms with many more of these book-covered walls. I am used to books, I live with books, I couldn’t live without books. I dive in their well of knowledge, and experiences, let myself permeated by strong feelings, and come out transformed most of the times, my soul enriched with a piece of somebody else’s soul. The ones that touch me the deepest also make me cry when I close their covers, as if I were saying good-bye to a dear friend. I have books of science fiction, history (ancient, mostly), just fiction, astronomy, art, children’s books, mathematics, Earth’s enigmas, dictionaries, cooking books, poetry, etc., etc., etc. I have many interests, more than I could list here… I’m still dreaming of the mysterious library at the abbey in Melk (from Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose”)…





Last book bought

I’ve just bought a few from Amazon Canada:
“Holes” by Louis Sachar and “Tunnels” by Rodercik Gordon And Brian Williams, both of these because of Jon (in the best of ways, it’s meant as a compliment, Jon, if you read this), “The Gate of Worlds” by Robert Silverberg, dare I say the greatest?, certainly one of my favourite authors of science fiction and fantasy, and “Roget’s International Thesaurus.”

Last book read

I always read several books at the same time, so that I can switch between them according to my mood, the time of the day, or the place. “The Ants” by Bernard Werber is the one I’ve just finished. More than science fiction, by this very good French author, it is a satire and an invitation for us to consider more carefully the intelligences just beneath our feet…

Five books which mean a lot to you

Ah, this is the most difficult one. Which to choose, which to choose out of so many? In no particular order, this is a list of (only) five:

“Voyage to the Centre of the Earth” by Jules Verne – this I read when I was about ten years old and reread many times since, including once this year. Everytime, it is just as fresh as the first. (Beware of most English translations, though.) This book has instilled in me a love for science, which has never left me since, and has opened for me the road of imagination not limited by the confines of our reality. Anything could happen and does happen in the world of science fiction…

“The Desert of the Tartars” by Dino Buzzati - an existential parabola, the story of Giovanni Drogo and others whose destinies are linked, by their own will or lack of, to this unnamed timeless fortress, at a vague northern border of Italy, where some leave, some die, and some are waiting their lives away. What keeps them tied to that place is the absurd hope of a “war,” of an invasion of “tartars” from beyond the mountainous desert. Although the human existence is ultimately tragic, it matters how you face your enemy, be it the “tartars” or the final one, Death…

“Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell. In my mid-adolescence years, I was Scarlett and Melanie, and fell in love with Ashley, and Rhett, and the rich cruel history of the South. I lived in this book. I still feel like Scarlett…

“The Magus” by John Fowles. I am still astonished by the elaborate, fascinating deception set up for the one of the main characters in this book, in this intense “godgame” in which the border between reality and ireality finally disappears – I often wonder, how much of our own lives are like this…

“Foucault’s Pendulum” by Umberto Eco, this amazing manipulator of semiotic material. This philosophical tale embraces everything that, over the ages, has been given the rank of mystery: gnosis, secret orders, white and black magic, astrology and alchemy, the Hebrew Golem and the philosophers’ stone… all intertwined in a text of an amazing richness. It takes a strong will and desire to go past the first pages, but once you do that, you’re irremediably caught in it…

And now it’s my turn to “challenge” somebody:

Bernita, Dewey, Jon, Pearl, Poetess, you’re “it”!

13 comments:

Dewey said...

Thanks for thinking of me! But I already did this meme, here. Wasn't it hard picking just five books that mean a lot to you?

I also enjoyed your post about Montreal. I haven't been there in so long!

Dave F. said...

You're only hearing from me because of a post on Bernita's blog and your love of Umberto Eco. And I don't have to do much thinking or spend a ton of time to complete the questions.

1. # owned: Who knows, as long as I don't hit the end of the "to read" pile.
2. Last Book: An Arsonists guide to writers homes in New England
3. Last read: The Reincarnationist
4. 5 books: hmmm:
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
Fermat's Enigma by Simon Singh
A Gentle Madness by Nicholas Basbanes

Bernita said...

Dear One, I must decline.
I did this meme recently.

Vesper said...

Oops, Dewey and Bernita, it looks like I haven't "dug" deep enough in your blogs! Well, maybe next time... :-)

Dewey, yes, very difficult to choose, I have more on my list...

Dave, it's good to hear from you! Thank you for visiting and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Oh great post, Vesper! It seems we're twin souls on books, books and more books. And like you, I can't read one book at a time, there are always a few on the go at any one time! I'm going to see if I can track down Ants on amazon now :-)

colleen said...

It makes me wonder if this meme about all the places this meme has gone since I did it last year.

red dirt girl said...

hi Vesper!

just a return hello and a peek around your place here! I LOVE all the books you have stacked up, lining the walls. Nothing feels cozier to me than to walk into a home full of words ...

It's been a long time since i have read Umberto Eco .... it looks like i might have to contact amazon myself for Foucault's Pendulum. And like you and Vanilla, I generally have 2 or 3 'in reading' at all times (though one is always poetry...)

Gone With the Wind ??? ahhhh a girl after my own heart ... being raised right down the road from Margaret Mitchell's original Tara, and living with her niece in college .....yep, I'm a red dirt Georgia girl.

Tell you what: I've always wanted to see Montreal - not from a tourist's perspective, but really experience it. Show me your Montreal and I will show you my South ....

thanks again for stopping by!

red

Vesper said...

Vanilla, I have a feeling we're (at least) sister souls in many ways... "Ants" was considered by some critics as "too didactic," but I liked it - I hope you do too, if you get to read it.

Colleen, it's been around since last year?!?! Oh, no wonder then people I tagged have already done it!

Red, WOW! Tara? Margaret Mitchell's niece? Otherwordly...
Hello and welcome, Georgia girl!
Please come back, I'd love to show you around Montreal - or, at least, my mind... :-)
And you can bet I'll be visiting your South!

red dirt girl said...

vesper,

It's a deal, girlfriend! first, let me tell you about fried peach pies ...

smiles,
red

Pearl said...

I did it. I did it. :)

Taffiny said...

We have a huge used book sale coming up here, starts Saturday (I go every year)- I am already making mental rules to keep myself from buying everything. (I have been known to clutch a book to my chest, and look menacingly around, with fear that it may get snatched away).

I missed out on Eco's Rose last year, because I was waiting for half price day (and some other horrible person came along and bought it).

I haven't yet read any of those on your list, I do own two of them though. I repect the fact that you read so much of what you collect.

Ropinator said...

Well, I found your blog through Szélsőfa's. I would like to recommend "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the god" by Robert Graves.

Vesper said...

Red, mmmm, yes, I want to know all about them! :-)

Pearl, great, I'm on my way!

Taff, you see, that's why I avoid going too often to places where books are sold. :-) Good luck to you on Saturday!

Ropinator, welcome and thank you for visiting. Oh, those two books are superb! I read them not just once. Thank you for reminding me of them!