Sunday, June 12, 2005

This is one of those "I've been tagged" posts. I probably would have ignored it except it comes from Alix who I would never ignore, and the questions are just right. I've always asked people I met what their favorite books were. It's a great way to find well-kept secrets, and broaden your reading horizons. So here are the four questions:

1. Number of books you own:
I have too many books to count so I'll count the bookcases instead. Two wall book cases. Two as wide and tall as a door, one long one, about outstretched arm's width, waist high, four others, waist high. I think I left out a some. All filled with books. There are also a few boxes of paperbacks in the basement and my son (8) has one bookcase with his books.

2. Last book bought:
Got it today, Sunday, at the Hamburg-Bergedorf Schloss Museum. "Bruno Karbeg Gebrauchsgrafiker in drei Epochen" Saw the exhibit in April coincidentally on the last day. One of the leading ad-designers in Germany from the 20's through the 60's. Some of the logos he designed are still in use today. What interested me most about him is how he refused to use his talents during the Hitler years to further his career. He never worked on propaganda or Nazi themes, though they wanted him to.

3. Last book I read:
Al Franken "Why Not Me?"

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:

Winnie the Pooh (read it when I was little, and was always my favorite)

Carl Jung's writings on Synchronicity: it's part of his collected works in several volumes. The breakthrough learning German was working through these texts, sentence by sentence.

Robert Sheckley's "The Journey of Joenes". It's a brilliant science-fiction satire of the cold war period, early 1960's, including beatniks, told in oral tradition, thousands of years in the future.

Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness". The meaning of life is in that book. I had to read it in college but didn't understand anything. But I had to understand it for the exam, so I forced myself to read it again. And then it clicked for me. I read anything by Joseph Conrad I can get my hands on.

Kurt Schwitters Collected Works, Prose volumes. Yes, the famous Merz artist wrote amazing dadaistic prose (in German). The only way I can describe his unconventional brilliance is that it must have inspired Monty Python.

As stipulated by JJ via flutterby, the tagged must choose five taggees. I choose:

Jamie Dawn
Princess Dominique
Mushroom: you can post your answers in the comments, since you don't have a blog.


alix said...

oooh, synchronicity...i almost listed "Man and His Symbols" by Jung. must do more reading...

Jamie Dawn said...

I'll post my answers on Tuesday. My dad is working on his right this minute, so his will be posted when he's finished.
You're quite the intellectual. My fav books are almost all kids books, as you will see. I love fantasy stories!

Indeterminacy said...

Thanks for being such a good sport about this. I don't know if people like to be tagged or what. I suspect, deep down, that everyone hates these things.

Indeterminacy said...

Alix: I have that book, too. ;-)

Jamie: I never thought of myself as an intellectual. Intellectuals tend to take themselves too seriously, and think they are something better than non-intellectuals by virtue of their intellegence. There's a funny episode of the Jack Benny radio show in which Dennis Day and Gracie Allen, who were usually the airheads on their programs, discover they are both intellectuals. It's a wry look at uberintellectuals. (I think it's the episode from March 7th, 1943).

Kitten said...

What's up with this whole "You've been tagged" thing? I'm not quite sure I get it.

Indeterminacy said...

Hi Kitten: Thanks for visiting and commenting.

I may not be using the b´logg slang properly. It's these question lists you keep seeing at blogs where people answer all these questions about themselves. Someone starts it and then sends it to a few people, and each one has to answer the questions, and "tag" several more people. This was the first one I got.

The Mushroom said...

1. Number of books you own:
Like you I have to count bookcases. The familyroom is the library, so there are 8 in that room, some reaching the ceiling and some shorter ones so that pictures and windows can be seen. And there is a stack of books on the floor and a few on the top of the shelf in the window that need MORE SPACE for.

2. Last book bought:
Well, it would have been the collected works of Gahan Wilson since that's what I was ogling at Barnes & Noble yesterday, but we were buying cards (graduation & wedding) not books. Er, I don't recall but I'll speculate it was "Interior Descrations" by James Lileks.

3. Last book I read:
Actually reading -- "Ice Cream!" by P.Cuthbert & L.C.Wilson
Skimming because it's not as good as it sounds -- "Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:

* George Hayduke, Jr., "Up Yours!" - the first of his books I ever bought, and now I'm falling behind in the list. Wicked mind.

* WR Gibson & LR Gibson, "The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences" - just practical information if you believe in that sort of thing, and unlike most similar tomes it's not at all 'Goth'. I stole it from my dad.

* Ambrose Bierce, "The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary" - someone went reading his newspaper column and found a lot of material that was missing from the original book (which I have in paperback), so this was issued. I still haven't finished it. Bierce is part of where I get my delightful cynicism from.

* Ronald L. Smith, "The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide" - I love the history of recorded comedy, and there haven't been as many comedy albums released since CDs became popular so knowing what to look for in the used record store is nice.

* Sean Kelly & Trish Todd, "Grosseries" - "the proper words for improper things" as the cover says. I use them rather regularly, like how the impulse to look back into the bowl after you've finished your business is called "howdie-doo".

Honorable mentions include all historical parody (Will Cuppy "Decline & Fall Of Practically Everybody", the recently reissued Sellar & Yateman "1066 & All That", and the large mass created by Richard Armour), the 3+ volumes of "Book Of Lists" by the Wallaces, the collected works of Johnny Hart (because his publisher stopped making paperbacks of "B.C." before he became obnoxious in his churchy agenda), and the Funk & Wagnalls dictionary I won for selling magazine subscriptions in junior high yet still use as my primary lexicon 25 years later.