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Meme: Books I Own and Love

A meme (rhymes with "seem") is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as a "unit of cultural information... that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." There's more on its history and uses at Wikipedia. But no, when bloggers get tagged with a meme, it's more akin to a chain letter rather than a transmission of information.

Well, Rambling Librarian tagged me a little while ago. And since my posts have been quite serious lately, let me just tell you a little bit more about myself through the books I own and love.

Total number of books owned: Hundreds, but less than a thousand.

Last book I bought:

The Island of Lost Maps
Just last week, I bought The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime (Miles Harvey) for 200 pesos in good-as-new condition. I was having second thoughts about buying it because I still have so many unread books. Well, I'm reading it now and I don't regret that I bought it for many reasons, but this quote will probably be one of the top reasons when I finally finish the book:
Librarian... it practically begs you to envision a stoop-shouldered loser, socks mismatched, eyes locked in a permanent squint from reading too much microfiche. If it were up to me, I would abolish the word entirely and turn back to the lexicological wisdom of the ancients, who saw librarians not as feeble sorters and shelvers but as heroic guardians (p. 113).
Last book I read:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I've written enough about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (JK Rowling) in "For Harry Potter Fans," "Harry Potter!!!" and "A Tragic Death in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." I'll be writing one more soon but it will just be odds and ends, and not a review. So if you haven't read it yet, buy it or borrow it!

Five books that mean a lot to me:

The first library book I ever borrowed that was not—or so I thought in Grade Two—a children's book was The Melted Coins (Franklin W. Dixon). From then on, I probably borrowed all the Hardy Boys books I could find at the library and through friends, and bought a few of my own.

When I was in Grade Six, my father forced me to read The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum). I had added Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins and Apple Paperbacks to my reading mix, and was also rereading the Hardy Boys series, but my father insisted that I read at least one chapter of the Ludlum thriller every week. Pretty soon, I was the one begging to read... just... one... more... chapter! From then on, I was hooked. No more children's books for me!

I borrowed The Prodigal Daughter (Jeffrey Archer) from a classmate after reading Kane and Abel, which I had seen on television. While I liked the latter book, which first introduced me to the protagonist of the former, for some reason, I liked the sequel better than the original. I found the introduction to the workings of the US legislative system fascinating.

I borrowed Adventures in the Screen Trade (William Goldman) as a freshman in high school because it was one of the few books that looked appealingly new in the stacks. If the library card is still there, you'll see my signature as the first to fourth borrower. Yes, I reread the book every year after the first time. This is the book where "Nobody knows anything," the oft-quoted Hollywood put-down, came from. It's also where I got "Screenplays are structure," which I then proceeded to apply to just about everything I wrote from then on—none of them remotely resembling a screenplay.

I first read parts of Inside Oscar (Damien Bona and Mason Wiley) at the old Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center when I was doing research for a high school paper (my father brought me, of course). It was this exposure, I believe, that led me to take a more active interest in the Oscar Awards. I was drawn to the well-written stories about the making of movies and how they fared at the Oscars, especially after reading Adventures in the Screen Trade so many times.

But why exactly do these books mean so much to me? The Melted Coins was the one that I remember as the first to awaken my bibliophilic tendencies. I don't even recall anymore what it was about, even though I probably borrowed and read it a few times. (Note to self: buy a copy.) And the rest? Well, I suppose I could say that they are important to me because:
  • I have read each of them from cover to cover at least 10 times,
  • I reread my favorite parts every now and then,
  • I eventually bought or was given my own copies for posterity, and
  • I learned so much about other cultures, professions, etc.
But those aren't real answers. True, I got interested in detective work, espionage, politics and showbiz, but no, I never quite got to the point where I wanted to become one of the people I read about. I suppose the most honest answer I can give is that these are the books that really made me love reading... and ultimately, led to my desire to become a librarian.

The five people I tag:

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