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Saturday, October 13, 2007


"If an army of monkeys were strumming on typewriters they might write all the books in the British Museum"
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington 1892- 1944
"The Nature of the Physical World"1928 Ch 4

Books books books! I recently read a blog by Marie (
in which someone had sent her a meme about books. I got thinking about some of the questions and decided to respond. Why don't you try it to?

Total number of books I own: I really have never counted them. But you can see some of them here on my bookshelves. This long built-in shelf under my salon windows contain most of my fiction or travel writing/memoirs books. As you can see, there are piles of them besides those on the shelves. The big brown book in front is one about Pirates I got last year for Christmas. The book shelf is decorated with artifacts from Turkey among other things like plants. Besides all the books on my bookshelves I have others stored in my closet and some in boxes that are very old books saved from my childhood. On occasions I go through them and discard any I don't want to keep though this doesn't happen often. I hate parting with my books. I don't mind lending them sometimes, but most of the books I have are the ones I treasure most. And a lot of them are research books too.

What is the last book you read? I am almost finished reading a remarkable book by a Canadian author, Karen Connelly, which is about Burma. It's titled "The Lizard Cage". Someone loaned me this book quite awhile ago and I totally forgot about it until the recent uprisings in Burma so I got it out and began to read it. Gripping! Horrifying (because what goes on in her 'fictional' prison with her 'fictional' protagonist is going on right now and went on from 1988 onwards.) Ms. Connelly became well known as a young poet, then traveled to Thailand and later Greece, Spain and France and wrote travel journals. Then she went to Burma and gathered info from people about the situation there so her characters are based on real people's stories. The writing is gorgeous, showing her poetic style in spite of the frightening subject.

What is the last book you bought? I bought a book titled "Rasputin's Daughter"
by Robert Alexander, quite some time ago but before I got chance to read it, I was given a bag of books about Venice to read before my summer holidays. So I haven't read this book as yet. I was also sent a very good book about the seige of Malta titled "The Religion" by Tim Willocks from my cousin. I have started to read it but when I came across the Burma story I set it aside for now and will finish it next. I was also recently given another book for my research collection titled "Envy of the Gods: Alexander the Great's ill-fated journey across Asia" by John Brevas. I've added it to the huge pile of "to be reads' (TBR's) that now grace the shelves of my book cases.
(So many books, so little time!)

Here is the other book shelf in my salon which contains mainly research books about Greece, Persia, Egypt, Mesopotamia and others including some books about the poet Sappho. The little curios on the shelves are from Morocco and Turkey which is the theme of my decor in my salon. The painting above it, painted by a friend, is Machu Pichare (spelling???) and Anapurna 1 in the Himalayas. I've had this painting for a long time and it's one of my favorites.

And here, below, is the bookshelf in my bedroom which contains more research books, books about writing, books about Greece, dictionaries and reference books. As you can see, the decor theme in the bedroom is Greece, with lots of pieces reminding me of Alexander and Sappho.

Name Five Meaningful Books: This is a little bit tough to answer as there are so many 'meaningful' books that I've read in my lifetime, including the Holy Bible and the Tao Te Ching. I value all the books written by Mary Reneault, in particular her Alexander trilogy (but most of all Fire From Heaven. I also treasure Homer's Iliad and The Odyssey. Of course you could name the great classics most of which I read when I was young, and they would include, for me, anything by Shakespeare and Dickens.
I also love the Greek dramatists and have several books of plays by Sophocles and Euripides and Aeschylus in my collection. As well, I enjoy poetry, especially the poetry of Pablo Neruda and I have several translations of Sappho's poems. A more recent favorite author is Stephen Pressfield. I admire his work, in particular Gates of Fire about the Spartans. These books are all meaningful to me because of my keen interest in ancient history, and in particular the history of Greece.

What about you and your books?

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." Francis Bacon 1561-1626 "Essays of Studies."
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Adrian Swift said...


Don't even get me started on the topic of books!


After YEARS of struggle I've finally gotten my book habit under control!

[runs away screaming]

[runs back, maniacal laughter]

Really! It's under control!

[runs away dragging left foot in preparation for Halloween purification ritual involving unspecified quantities of books]


Sam said...

My bookshelves are pretty much under control now. I too advantage of the village boot sale and sold a lot of them. I also gave away two cartons to the local libraries, and one box full of children's books to my daughter's school library.
I've managed to whittle my collection down to the essentials. And three books I'll never give away:
A Canticle for Lieberwitz, Slaughter House Five,
A Once and Future King

Marie said...

Great post and very interesting books you have. I love the Greek dramatists too, though currently I only have Sophocles in my collection.

Wynn Bexton said...

Hi book lovers, One of my favorite pasttimes is browsing in book stores but I always have to control myself to keep buying, buying, buying. I already have such a lot of unread books on my shelves. It is sometimes embarassing when people say "Have you read...???" and I haven't. Mostly it's because when I'm at home I'm writing or doing work on my novel so I usually only read when I'm riding buses or traveling. I'm not one of those people who can go to bed with a book and read til I fall asleep. At bedtime, I'm generally already half asleep!