Kristen from From Here to There and Back tagged me for an irresistible book meme. Maybe you'll want to play, too.
Total number of books?
For many years, I kept every book I read, packing and unpacking them and carting them around with me from college residence hall room to college residence hall room and from apartment to apartment. Sometime in my post-Bud years, though, I decided that I just didn't need them all and I cleared the bookshelves and donated them away with wild abandon. These days I only hang on to the books I lovelovelove and the books I think I might read again, which comes out to about three (smallish) bookshelves full. How many books is that? I'm not sure. I'm not good at that kind of estimate. A bunch. A good number. More than a few; less than a ton.
Last book read?
Sadly, I have not had a good run lately. I've stalled with A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini , not because it's not well written (it is), but because one particular plot point stopped me cold, hitting me too close to my emotional center. That happens sometimes. I'd like to say that I'll go back to the book, but I really don't think I will. (I'm being intentionally vague about the plot point for those who plan to read it. It's not the book; it's me. You should read it.)
Before A Thousand Splendid Suns, I started but didn't finish another book that will (in the spirit of The Believer magazine) go unnamed. After several chapters, I still didn't care about any of the people in the book. Life is too short; I moved on.
Before that, I read What You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Child with Autism, which frankly doesn't really feel like it counts. It was more a handy reference guide than a BOOK.
So, by process of elimination, I'm going to have to go with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Not especially high-brow or impressive, but, then, neither am I.
Last book bought?
Again, Harry Potter. I borrowed A Thousand Splendid Suns, and the other two were sent by the publishers. Before that? I'm not sure. I tend to seek out hand-me-down books more than I buy new ones. It might have been Andrei Codrescu's New Orleans, Mon Amour. (An excellent book, and a bargain at any price.)
Five meaningful books?
Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism by Paul Collins - This book was meaningful to me in many ways. It was one of the first autism books I read in which I "recognized" the child - on page after page, Collins' son Morgan reminded me of Bud. (He still does, in fact; in this interview with Collins and his wife, they report that Morgan is currently fascinated by TV and movie logos. I have spent many an hour drawing TV and movie logos for Bud. I'm not sure whether or not I should introduce him to the YouTube videos that Morgan finds so fascinating.)
On another level (and in a story that was more interesting to live than it would be to read), Not Even Wrong set me on a trajectory that ultimately got me writing this blog. Interestingly, I discovered Not Even Wrong via an e-mail from my sister that included a link to the book's page on amazon.com and a one-line message that read "I think the universe is telling me that I'm supposed to let you know about this book." (Thanks, Sis.)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - This book blew me away. Blew. Me. Away.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare - Hamlet might be my favorite thing ever written. I find myself thinking about Hamlet a lot - which is interesting, because throughout the play, all Hamlet really does is a whole lot of thinking. Really, though, thinking about Hamlet's thinking helps me to remember to get out of my head when I find myself getting all "to be or not to be" on myself. (And I don't mean suicidal here, folks. I mean painfully introspective and grossly self-indulgent.) Enough said.
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott - This book kept me sane in the first months of Bud's life. It made me feel more normal and less incompetent as a mother. Or maybe it made me feel incompetent, but in good company.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - This book replaced A Prayer for Owen Meany as my favorite book of all time. In fairness, I should go back and read Owen Meany again before I state that publicly, since I read Owen Meany in 1989 and Kavalier and Clay in 2005. But, too late; it's already done.
I'm not going to tag anyone specifically for this one, but I invite everyone to join the bandwagon. Leave your answers in the comments here, or just let us know that we should follow the link to read your answers on your own blog.