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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Book Tag

Mostly fiction here Posted by Hello
Thanks to Gabby for sending me this book tag.

  1. Total number of books I’ve owned

Can’t be accurate about this, but there are about 800 books in our living room where I am writing, another 100 upstairs and about 100 in Claude’s and our bedrooms. When I came to this country I sold or gave away about 400, and have halved my book collection at least twice in the years before that, so probably at least 2000.

  1. Last book I bought Is that the question? Must be “Lucid Living”, by Timothy Freke. I haven’t read it yet because it is still somewhere between UK and here, I bought it online. I was first turned on to Tim Freke’s writing by “The Jesus Mysteries” and “Jesus and the Lost Goddess”, which he wrote in collaboration with Peter Gandy, in which they set out a very convincing case for Jesus having been a mythical god-man having so many things in common with other mythical god-men such as Dionysus (Greece), Osiris (Egypt), Adonis (Syria), Attis (Asia Minor), Marduk (Mesopotamia), Mithras (Persia), Baal (Judea). They show Paul as a Gnostic master and the early Christians as Jewish Gnostics, and show Jesus as a man after my own heart – “… a free-thinker who breaks the rules, embraces society’s outsiders and ridicules the ecclesiastical authorities for their ignorance.” Hear that, Benedict XVI?
  2. I am presently reading “The Future of the Body” an amazing, gigantic book by Michael Murphy. This is a book everyone interested in the possibilities of being human should read. It’s not one of those books one reads from cover to cover then puts back on the shelf for someone else. I keep dipping into it from time to time. Last book I finished was “The Field”, by Lynne McTaggart, detailing scientific research into the Life Force that animates us.
  3. Five books that mean something to me:

a) Dr. Zhivago (Boris Pasternak). My paperback copy is falling to pieces from much use (in the photo, bottom, fourth from left). It’s the ending that gets me by the gut – when Tanya the laundry girl tells her story and the whole huge sweep of the Russian country is brought to mind again, the atmosphere of the country after the revolution intensely evoked. And then, the way Lara is cast aside and forgotten as a mere incidental shows us how transient our little lives are, however turbulent and dramatic they may have seemed at the time. I believe Dr. Zhivago is one of literature’s great masterpieces.

b) Another Russian book, “War and Peace” by Lev Tolstoy. My copy of this book, too, in two volumes, is worn from many re-readings (also in the photo, bottom right). What can one say about such a great work? I have tried to follow the progress of the war in my atlas, and there are some sites on the web that give pictures of the battle sites (or one of them at least).

c) Zechariah Sitchin’s series “The Earth Chronicles”. Want a well-researched account of how we got here on this planet? Try this, if you find current “scientific” or creationist accounts unconvincing.

d) Nancy Friday’s “My Secret Garden”. This book showed me there really were women interested in sex – I mean, actively interested,. with their minds as well as their bodies. So heartening to me at the time I read it, and I still look in it sometimes.

e) Joseph Conrad’s “Lord Jim” (in the photo, top shelf, seventh from right). Set in the tropics, not so very far from where I live now, and written with a love for and intimate knowledge of the sea and ships.

f) I’m flouting the rules here, but I must mention “Zen in the Art of Archery” (Eugen Herrigel). I bought this book in London on the way home from work one day, I was so enthralled I took my bike into Hyde Park, sat down on a bench and read the whole book before continuing my journey home. I have read it many times since, even had two copies once, one to lend to others..

For personal reasons, I am not tagging others just now. Hope you’ll excuse me, Gabby! And by the way, I liked “A Hundred Years of Solitude” that you just bought, somewhat surreal and reminded me of Kafka in that way. I like surreal stuff – something that “War and Peace” is not.

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