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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Meme quarantine

Yesterday Revere over at Effect Measure slapped the meme sign across my bloggy door. Apparently this book meme is so infectious that it has turned even the most serious public policy blogs into vectors for its dastardly spread.

I figure that I'd better get it over with, so that my home can be declared free of meme and I may be allowed to circulate freely again. Also, I want Revere to get back to his important tasks. I used to scan the internets myself, looking for signs of the coming bird-flu epidemic; but since he does such a masterful job of it on his blog, he frees me up to worry about other things.

Number of books I own: Well, there are more than a thousand books in the house at the moment, and that's not counting the kids' books (though I am counting the children's books I bought for myself in years past). There are probably another 200-300 books of mine still taking up space at my parents' house. I collected a lot of books in my bookstore days. I've been making a concerted effort to get rid of books that I won't look at again, bringing them over to the library's used book sale fundraiser. (I'd love to take them over to PPB's wonderful place, though.) And I've been trying to borrow library books more frequently, instead of buying. There is only so much space in this house, and we're running out of brilliant ideas for storing our books.

Revere notes that he has not read through many of his books -- he keeps a reference library, I suppose. I have a tendency to do the same. Even so, I'd estimate that there are fewer than 100 books in the house that I haven't read through. Books that I've owned for several years without reading have been the first against the wall when the library book sale comes. I figure that if they haven't interested me yet, they probably never will....

Last book I bought: Oh, it's that book languishing over in the sidebar: Historic Storms of New England, by Sidney Perley (1891). I am such a sucker for that sort of thing. Weather -- 19th century narrative -- New England -- What's not to love? The only question is whether I will get to read it before my kids graduate from high school...

Last book I read: Truthfully? Thomas and the Castle. As in, Thomas the Tank Engine and his Marketing Juggernaut Visit A Castle. Yes, it is an abomination.

But if bedtime stories don't count, then I'm still in the middle of Brother Juniper's Bread Book (see sidebar). It's not very inspiring, despite the foreword by M.F.K. Fisher. But all you Peter Reinhart Google searchers didn't hear it from me.

I must insert a hearty "hear, hear!" in agreement with Revere's trenchant observation: "Before blogging I used to read 30 - 40 books a year. Since getting my sleeve caught in the blogging machine and being dragged into its gears, I think I've read two in six months. Pathetic."

Five books that mean a lot to me: Oh dear, you mean this meme requires me to THINK? Phooey -- I'll never get that accomplished before the husband and kids arrive back home from our friendly neighborhood ice cream place. Hmmmm.

Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy. Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Number Our Days, by Barbara Myerhoff. The Diary of Helena Morley, translated by Elizabeth Bishop. The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston.

I'm going to be a good public health practitioner and avoid spreading this meme through careless contact. But if there's anyone who really wants to do it, just ask -- I'll be happy to infect you.


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