Book meme, finally

Alright, here's a brief one-eye-open-to see-if-it's-still-winter-out-there break from hibernation:

# of books I own:
No freaking idea, although I will say that it's down to about 1/4 of what it was two years ago -- honestly. We did some major book downsizing prior to moving back up here from L.A. It's still a few hundred easy, though.

Last book I read:
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris of NPR fame. (Ok, so maybe fame isn't exactly the right word for being well-known only by NPR geeks like me.) The book was a total disappointment -- I have always enjoyed his radio work and had high hopes for the book but much of it seemed unfinished and was far less amusing than he seemed to think it was. To be honest, I felt like he lived up to just about every "gay guy" stereotype I could think of and that bummed me out.

Five books that mean a lot:

The Word by God
I almost feel like this entry is cheap because it's 66 books rolled into one. And that's part of the beauty of it, there's just so much there, so many different styles and voices and genres, yet all joining together in an amazing inspired coherent volume.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok
This is an incredible piece of fiction that has so much to say about friendships, coming of age, the role of religion in life, cross-cultural issues, the list goes on and on. I avoided this book for a while because I thought of it as one of those books that I "ought to read" and that automatically put it in the category of books that I didn't really actually want to read. When I finally got around to it I was absolutely hooked by the end of the second chapter; it is a totally engaging book -- reading this book got me hooked on Potok as an author and I have read several of his other works since. I have recommended this book to several people and I don't know if any of them (other than Melissa) have actually wound up reading it. To them, and to the rest of you, I have only this to say: read this book!

The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee
This is a fantastic kids' book (I read it first as a pre-teen) about a boy who discovers a bicycle which not only can fly but opens his eyes to a massive behind-the-scenes battle going on for the lives and personhoods of the people in his town. Plus he gets a role to play in all this and gets ushered into danger and relationships and responsibility. There are like 6 more books in the series, some of which are quite good and some of which are a little lackluster, but this book is just incredible. It totally captivated me right from the start and looking back I'm really glad that I had some of those desires and awarenesses fired up by this book. Which of course leads me to...

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.
Every man should read this book. After they're done with it, every woman should read this book. I really dislike most Christian tell-you-how-to-live books, and Christian men's books are usually the worst offenders in that category. I know that some see this book as leaning too far in that direction as well, but for me what this book did was make me realize some things about myself and then really force me to think about who I am, who I want to be, what desires God has for me, and what directions I need to move in to experience the kind of life God offers me as a man.

Ahh, the last choice... so many cross my mind... so hard to pick the last one. I'm sitting here racking my brain because I know that no matter how good of a selection I come up with here, I will likely slap my forehead in frustration in a day or two when I think of the book that *really* should have occupied the final spot. The description "that mean a lot" will have to take me away from the Crichton and Clancy that I often enjoy, past the Get Fuzzy compilations that I love, beyond the technical how-to and fixit books that often keep me up late at night... The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis will have to be my final choice.
I love all of the Narnia books, but this was the one that totally stood out to me the first time I read it and it's the one that always draws me back to the Narnia books. This one is different, outside of the storyline of the others (as is The Horse and His Boy, of course, but I like this one better). The idea of jumping into a pool and coming out in another world -- such a simple conceit but boy, did it ever do the trick to grab my childhood imagination into endless daydreaming of worlds I could enter if I had a pool to jump into. Then of course there is the creation scene where Aslan sings the landscape into being -- that one didn't grab me so much at first but it means more and more to me each time I read it as an adult. Not so far off, I think -- Genesis says God "said" Let there be light but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a tune to those words.

Very brief (of at least, way briefer than it *could* be) runners-up list:
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein
How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
the rest of the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis
anything written by David Needham
How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot by John Muir (I'm being totally serious here, this book is awesome and has more to it than you might think by the title)
I love the short story genre; no compilations or collections made the list but I can't finish this without at least briefly plugging the short works of Steinbeck, Hemingway, O'Henry, O'Connor, Twain, and even L'Amour.

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