2. Monday, as tilly_stratford reminded me, was Talk Like William Shatner Day, in honor of which my sister and I paused dramatically at each other a great deal, and watched two episodes of Star Trek. Since then we've watched four more episodes, and I'm now endeavoring not to relapse into an obsession, because I really don't have time for that... but god. That show. I have never in my life been exposed to anything, anything more addictive and consuming than that show. I can handle drugs, you guys, but one hit of Star Trek and it's all over for me.
3. Here, have a book meme. From rhombal.
Total number of books owned: I'm not going to go count every one of them, but based on the approximate number of books per shelf times the number of shelves, I'd estimate about 425. That's including a number of text books, reference books, etc.
Last book bought: I bought a whole bunch of books at a booksale at the college just a few weeks ago. They included... let's see, there was The Old Curiosity Shop (Dickens), Journey to the Center of the Earth (Verne), The Master of Ballantrae (Stevenson), The Tin Drum (Grass), The Return of the Native (Hardy) (this was just me being pretentious, because I don't even really like Hardy), a logic textbook, a book of selections from Confucius' Analects, a couple of Hawthorne books (House of Seven Gables and a short story collection), and a couple of books I've already read but didn't own: The First Circle (Solzhenitsyn) and Evgeny Onegin (Pushkin).
Last book read: For class: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs. Not for class: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick (which I do not recommend, although I do like Dick in general).
Five books that mean a lot to you and why:
I feel like I've made this list a zillion times in other book memes already, so this will be brief.
• The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. This remains my favorite novel. The themes -- change and preservation, piety and sin, religion and science, prejudice, hypocrisy, fatality -- I could go on -- are all beautifully represented. A real masterpiece.
• Moby Dick. For reasons similar to the above; I adore Melville's themes, of which there are too many to begin counting, and I also adore his writing style, which is strong and solid and yet wonderfully melodic.
• Thus Spake Zarathustra. I could probably as easily have picked Beyond Good and Evil, but in general when I want to reread some Nietzsche, I pick Zarathustra because it's arranged so that particular passages are easier to find. I love Nietzsche's philosophy, and perhaps even more than that, I love his passion.
• One Hundred Years of Solitude. The scope of this book, the understated but profound attention to character, the strange elegant abruptness of the style, the mingled fantasy and banality of it... I've never seen anything like it. Marquez is without question my favorite living author; his books are timeless, classic, magical -- they already feel like they belong to history.
• Atlas Shrugged. Yes, I'm afraid so. There are things I hate about this book; it's naive at times, self-absorbed at times, prejudiced most of the time, too damn long, and sprinkled with needless digressions and occasional straw-man arguments; but there are also a lot of things about this book that I really love. I see it mainly as a jumping-off point for rethinking my own idealism: I appreciate how the rigor of Rand's arguments made me step back and reconsider my own ideas, about capitalism, socialism, religion, industry, charity, worthiness, and many other things, with more care than before -- whether I wound up agreeing with Rand or not.
5 books that everyone should read at some time or another:
Oy. I think I'm too lazy to answer this question right now. See the "if you could force everyone you know to read one book" question below.
What author do you own the most books by?: If graphic novels count, then Neil Gaiman (16 books). If not, then Stephen King (11 books, although I've only read about half of them; the others were given to me). The author I've read the most books by (not counting graphic novels) would be Fyodor Dostoevsky (7 books).
What book do you own the most copies of?: I currently don't own more than two copies of any book, since I just gave away my third copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I have two copies of that one now, and two copies of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Oh, and I have like six copies of Strunk & White's Elements of Style. Yeah, I don't even know.
What fictional character are you secretly in love with?: Secretly? I'm not generally too secretive about my favorite characters -- in fact there's a whole list of them in a post linked from my profile. Nor am I really in love with any of them (since they tend to be neurotic guys like Claude Frollo and, er, Satan). The one I don't mention often enough, though, is Gavril Ardalionovich from Dostoevsky's The Idiot. He is an absolutely mediocre man who cannot stand being a mediocre man (kind of like movie!Salieri), and while he doesn't have a very large role in the novel, I wound up more attracted to him than to any of the main characters.
What book have you read the most times in your life?: I think I've read both Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground and Hugo's Hunchback of Notre-Dame four times. I'm not sure, though... I might have read Notes from Underground more than four times.
Favourite book as a ten year old? The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley.
What is the worst book you've read in the past year?: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. :P
What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?: If the past year means 2010, then David Walker's Appeal. Holy shit, that guy was amazing. If the past year means the past 12 months, then... agh, I don't even know. Either Brave New World or Gulliver's Travels, I guess.
If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?: Incredibly enough... probably the Bible. Because too damn many people attempt to defend/criticize Chistianity without having any idea what Scripture actually says. I would of course encourage the reading of other religious texts as well, especially my personal favorite, the Tao Te Ching (which I would recommend reading in more than one translation, preferably several translations).
What book would you most like to see made into a movie?: Assuming the movie would be done really well... I think Zelazny's Lord of Light might be at the top of my list. It would be tricky to direct, but if done properly, I think it could make a really stunning film.
What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?: Well, I've still never bloody finished Ulysses, so I guess that must be the one. The most difficult book I ever finished... maybe War and Peace, due to sheer length.
What is your favourite play?: Stoppard's The Real Thing, or else something by Shakespeare. Which thing by Shakespeare will depend on what day you ask me; my inclination at the moment is to say Macbeth, but usually the answer would be Hamlet.
Poem?: Coleridge's Kubla Khan. Also practically everything by Hopkins. Also a lot of other stuff.
Who is the most overrated writer alive today?: I don't read very many modern authors, nor do I know how highly they're rated, so I really can't say.
What is your desert island book?: On a desert island, I'd probably want a book with more than one story in it to keep me entertained, so I'm thinking The 1001 Arabian Nights or The Complete Works of Shakespeare or something.
What are you reading right now?: Theoretically, American Gods, though I haven't picked it up in a week or so now. For school, The Marrow of Tradition, a bunch of textbooks, and a biography of Gandhi.
And rhombal pointed out that there is an unfortunate lack of graphic-novel-related questions on this meme, and so I shall do as she did and simply say, SANDMAN.
EDIT: And now (the 26th) I discover that it is Leonard Nimoy's birthday, and that he is also now 79. I had no idea he and Shatner were born, like, four days apart. o_O