Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tagged for Book Meme

About two weeks ago, Vaughn Thompson of ICTHUS "tagged" me to answer questions about my book collection and reading habits. So here goes.....

Be sure to check the end of this, to see If I've "tagged" you.

And be sure to read
ICTHUS. Vaughn is founder and moderator of the Progressive Christian Blog Alliance. (See the PCBA blog listing in the left column. Some mighty fine blogs listed there!)

I had the pleasure of meeting Vaughn for lunch when he was recently in Southern California for vacation.
What is the total number of books you own?

Perhaps 1500, not including my 500-book cookbook collection.

Included in the 1500 are complete sets of.....

- The Complete Works of Mark Twain, printed in 1929, 25 volumes;

- The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant, 10 volumes;

- Time-Life Library of Art, published in 1970, 28 volumes. Inherited from my parents when they down-sized. I begged for it. Art history was my undergraduate minor at UCLA.

Also included in the 1500 is a substantial collection of books about Jesus written by theologians during the first half of the 20th century. Main themes in my book collection are Christian theology and history, art history, American history, psychology, travel, Shakespeare, poetry by Robert Frost and Walt Whitman, and better fiction by women of today. And everything by Garrison Keillor.

My cookbook collection emphasizes classic American, Mexican and New Mexican, Chinese and French cuisines, and cookbook authors Julia Child, James Beard, Michael Field and Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet.

What was the last book you bought?

I bought two books at Borders.

HomeGrown Democrat by Garrison Keillor, which I highly recommend to anyone who already thinks they are a Democrat. Its a hoot. Like all his works, it's warm and funny, and full of honesty. Republicans will not chuckle at this book.

The 2 % Solution - Fixing America's Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love by Matt Miller, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and frequent op-ed contributor to the New York Times. Haven't read it yet, but he's a common sense guy and interesting writer. We need solutions.

I just checked a book out from our local library, A Month of Sundays by John Updike, about "a month of enforced rest and recreation as experienced by the Reverend Tom Marshfield, sent west from his midwestern church in disgrace."

And due to my About.com gig, I get a few freebie books in the mail. I recently received God vs. The Gavel - Religion and the Rule of Law by Marcia Hamilton. Haven't read it yet.

Five books that mean a lot to you? (in no particular order) Selecting these books above the others is the hardest task I've done in a while. That's why it took me two weeks to respond ....Yes, I know it's actually seven books. I did my best.

- God in the Dock - Essays on Theology and Ethics by C.S. Lewis. Published in 1970 by his estate, 48 essays on everything. Lewis explains it all in 346 pages, and with a bit of British wit, to boot. One of two books I would take with me to a desert island.

- A Way to Peace, Health and Power - Studies for the Inner Life by Bertha Conde, 1925. 52 meditations in 233 pages. This Christian missionary speaks to me as though I was listening to Jesus himself. She writes on prayer, mercy, truth, love, the will, conscience, courage, imagination and more. The other desert island book.

- It's a tie between two classic cookbooks, the 1961 Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child et. al., and and the original 1950 Betty Crocker's Picture Cook book. Julia, born in Pasadena, taught Americans how to cook and eat creatively and imaginatively. Betty taught us the best cake frostings on the face of the earth. Yes, I have First Editions of both.

- Concerning the Spiritual in Art by early 20th century Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. His theories of art created a spiritual revolution in painting and had a tremendous impact on the development of art. His works and writings provided impetus for a massive exhibition by LACMA in the mid-1980s, The Spiritual in Art, 1890 - 1985. I treasure the 435-page catalog from that exhibition.

- Death Comes for the Archbishop by American Pulitzer-Prize winning author Willa Cather. 1927. Her writing is simple, elegant, poignant. About the founding of the Cathedral in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and two priests attempting to live out their faith in the rugged American landscape of mid-1800s New Mexico. I love New Mexico and Native American cultures, so that helps. My best copy may be a First Edition.

- Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things by Elizabeth Hutton Turner. 1999, 158 pages, published by Yale University Press. Just because it's exquisite and serene. And I share my birthday with O'Keeffe.


Tag. You're it! Two liberals, two moderates....

Mark Daniels of Better Living.

Avedon Carol of The Sideshow.

Rob Ashgar of Dime Store Guru

Scott Shields of DemWatch and Political Strategy

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