Monday, March 10, 2008

Book 'em

Going through the Library Thing, which is somewhat silly, but it actually forced me to think about some things. I decided to add in the books that were really important to me over the years, plus what I've been reading recently, plus some of the popular authors (Crichton, Connelly, Grisham,) that I always read when they have a new book out, and finally a sort of broad sampling of books in topics that interest me now, or have interested me over the years. Some topics I left out, for reasons of my own. And I learned some things. For one thing, I had completely forgotten that Captains Courageous, which I read at a very young age, was written by Kipling. I had always assumed I'd missed out on Kipling entirely except for some of his poems (which I don't remember liking, except for his incredible gift for turning a vulgar phrase). C.S. Forester wrote Sink The Bismarck, which I must have read 30 times as a kid -- I got to the point where I could read the whole book in 30 minutes, because I'd memorized so much of it (years later when I read Hunt For Red October I knew instantly that Clancy was another fan of the book). I read Forester's Hornblower series and liked it, although not nearly as much as the Aubrey/Maturin series. Anyway, the idea of limiting yourself to a set number of books, in this case 200, to try to capture what helped to make you what you are and what (and where) you are now is challenging, and really forces a lot of self examination. And the stuff I left out! I've probably read, conservatively, 1,000 science fiction books in my life, but only a few of them made the list, and most of those aren't really science fiction, except for The Stars, My Destination. Were all the rest of those books a waste, or are they rattling around in me still, in ways I don't know?