Music and Book Memes

The good news is that after a fair absence, Rick McGinnis appears to be reactivating The Diary Thing, which was a favorite stop of mine back in the day. So: Yay! The bad news is that his first post since reactiviating is that damn book meme that’s going on at the moment, and he’s “passed the baton” on to me. Normally I wouldn’t do this sort of crap, but because it’s Rick, and he is bringing back The Diary Thing, I’ll do it. Just this once. Also, as long as I’m doing the book one, I’ll jam the music one in as well, as I tagged by Dave Munger to do it a few days ago, and it would be unfair to do the book one and leave Dave hanging. Damn my sense of morals!

Books first:

Number of books I own: Good Lord. At this very moment, there’s probably somewhere between a thousand and two thousand books in the house in various stages of packed and shelved-ness, and we accrete them at the rate of at least two or three a week. Not all of those are mine, to be sure — Athena and Krissy both add up, Athena particularly gathering books at a furious rate (as it should be). We’d have more but I have a tradition of occasionally doing a library dump, which is to take books I haven’t read in a while and I know I won’t get to again soon and donate them to the local library. Over the years I’ve probably offloaded a couple thousand books this way.

Last Book I Bought: I just bought the entire Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey for Krissy, so aside from some books for Athena, those are the last books to show up on my credit card. The last book I bought from myself was The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, because so many people see so many similarities between it and Old Man’s War that I figure I ought to read it. However, I probably won’t actually read it until after I’m done with The Ghost Brigades.

Last Book I Read: Succession, the SF Book Club collection of the Scott Westerfeld novels The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds, which as it happens were written as one novel and then cut into two books as a marketing maneuver by the publisher. Whatever. As a single tale, it is pretty excellent, and I’m not just saying that because Scott’s a pal who reads the blog. A really nifty space opera, and I had fun going through the book looking for all the little elements I’m so totally going to steal at some point or another (“easy gravity”? Brilliant!). Outside the SF genre I’m currently reading Michael Cook’s A Brief History of the Human Race.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me:

1. Cosmos, by Carl Sagan: The best popular exploration of the universe and the history of the humans who explore it.

2. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin: Lovely writing. I read it for the joy of reading words at play.

3. Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein: I figure it’s the closest thing to having a conversation with Heinlein as I’m going to get.

4. A Mencken Chrestomathy and other Mencken collections, by HL Mencken: Smart, practical, snarky and less-over-the-top than you’ve been led to believe. And yes, someone who isn’t a damn conservative can immensely admire Mencken. This conservative co-option of Mencken would probably appall him (as would a liberal co-option attempt, should one ever be tried, which seems unlikely).

5. The People’s Almanac and its sequels, edited by Irving Wallace and David Wallechinsky: Coming across this book when I was six kickstarted my intense desire to know as much about every possible thing as I could, a desire which remains to this day, and every day I thank God for it, because it’s sure made my life more interesting.

And now, the music meme:

Total volume of music files on your computer: 7,405 songs, 21.5 days, 35.98 GB. I’d note that this is but a fraction of the volume of music I own total, which is over two thousand CDs across most genres. What can I say, I’m lazy and I haven’t ripped them all.

The title and artist of the last CD you bought: Probably Everyone is Here by the Finn Brothers. But like many people, I’ve largely stopped buying CDs and download albums from iTunes. The last two albums I bought there, bought near-simultaenously, are Nine Inch Nail’s With Teeth and Weezer’s Make Believe.

Song playing at the moment of writing: “Instrumental” by Figurine. I’m listening to it off my Rhapsody streaming music service. Figurine sounds a bit like The Postal Service on an off day.

Five songs you have been listening to of late (or all-time favorites, or particularly personally meaningful songs): I’ll go the “recent” route:

“Yellow” by Bill Frisell & Petra Haden
“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
“Perfect Situation” by Weezer
“Too Pieces” by Yaz
“Helpless” by kd lang

Passing the baton (for both music and books): Nah. If you want to do either, go ahead. I won’t put pressure on you, though. You hear me? NO PRESSURE.

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