Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Thank you Melanie, for tagging me! Sorry it took me a few days to get going.

1. Total number of books in your house:
By a quick estimate, there are probably over a thousand books in our house. Most of it fiction, then children book, then knitting and photography, and various other bits and pieces. And there are probably a couple more boxes of books somewhere.We cull a few every once in a while, but I find it difficult to part with books. And my husband is worse than me. I also have a lot of books still at my mother’s house in Italy.

2. The last book you bought was:
My last shipment from Amazon was all reference books:
Folk Socks: The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear by Nancy Bush
Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals by Donald Hamilton,
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

But the books I really read, i.e. fiction, are generally donated to me by my husband. The last two were a Mother’s Day gift: The Benefactor, by Susan Sontag and Reading Lolita in Teheran, by Azar Nafisi. I have not touched them yet. There is a big pile of new books on my bedside table right now…

3. What was the last book you read before reading this:
I am reading The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag, and I am on the last few pages.
Probably the last book I read completely before this was Regarding the pain of others also by Susan Sontag.

And now I feel an explanation is needed: I took and English Composition class this spring and unwisely chose to do my final research paper on On Photography by guess who? Yes, Susan Sontag. I complained at length to anybody who would listen about the book, and probably said at some point that it made me curious to see what her fiction was like. Which is why my husband got me a number of her books. As for “Regarding the pain of others”, that was still research.

4. Write down 5 books that you often read or that mean a lot to you:
This is an impossible question to answer.
I do not often reread, but the following 5 titles I loved unconditionally. And if you ask me next week, it will be different:

The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Life is elsewhere by Milan Kundera
Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
The Time Traveler’s wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Eat me by Linda Jaivin
The good fairies of New York by Martin Millar
The 27th Kingdom by Alice Thomas Ellis

Hey, how did 7 titles sneak up there?

And now I am annoyed: we lent ‘The good fairies of New York’ to who knows who, and now, by checking the details on Amazon, I’ve discovered it’s like a rare and expensive book! I am very liberal about lending books, but I am beginning to realize that many people are very careless about returning them. I’ve lost a few in the last few years. And that bugs me!

I still want to be able lend books; I think it’s one of the great pleasures of reading to pass on a book that you have enjoyed. And I have always thought that people that were jealous of their books were just too stingy and uptight. Do I really have to rethink about this? Why can’t people just be a bit more considerate?

Time to go and track back my Rowan No. 8, that has been on loan for next to two years (to a nun though; you’d think you could trust them, right?)

5. Who do you tag? Maryse


Anonymous kay said...

I try not to borrow books because it is too easy for a borrowed book to end up on the bookshelf with the others and then I forget about it and that's not nice. When I lend a book, I think of it as giving the book away. That way, if it comes back, I'm happy but if it doesn't I'm not annoyed. It's easy to part with most fiction, because I know if I really want to re-read it, I can get it from the library. But art books and knitting books--they are 'collectibles'! Never lend a Rowan #8, not to a nun, not to a monk!

I'm intrigued and inspired by your list.

xoxo Kay

10:15 AM  
Blogger MeMoiJa said...

I lent one of my favourite books (at the time, I was in my teens) to a teacher of mine. Never saw it again. I still think about that and flinch. That is an interesting list of books, but I've given up reading fiction. Can you believe that?

12:40 PM  
Blogger MeMoiJa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:40 PM  
Blogger MeMoiJa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:41 PM  
Blogger benedetta said...

no, non ci posso proprio credere, Valentina! che cosa leggi?
i do read non-fiction, but not that eagerly.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Ah, Ben, don't you love how people see you reading an author and decide that you must *love* that author. :)

I'm looking forward to seeing you next week! (In a non-exclusionary way, of course).

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Like Kay, I assume a book isn't going to come back when I lend it. I usually put my name in it in the hope that it will reappear - but don't count on it. If the book's really important to me, I don't lend it (I learned this the hard way).

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