Books are more vital than food.

1. Total number of books owned:

At last count, 1048. This doesn’t include nearly 300 Osprey/Squadron folio books, a couple hundred RPG (gasp!) supplements, and countless fully-photocopied books and journals from the days in the archives. Oh, and I just boxed up about fifty more for donation. Guestimate total including all of the above: 1750

2. The last book I bought:

Robert Charles Wilson, Spin (2005)
Herman Hesse, The Fairy Tales of Herman Hesse (translated by Jack Zipes) (1995)
Larry Alexander, Biggest Brother – The Life of Dick Winters (2005)
Stuart Allan & Allan Carswell – The Thin Red Line – War, Empire, and Visions of Scotland (2005)
EDIT: Nicholson Baker – Checkpoint (2005)

3. The last book I read:

I am currently slogging through a forensic study called A Voice for the Dead, by James E. Starrs, of which I’ll shortly be writing a review here. Lucky you guys, because this book is simply miserable. I’ve been squeezing it out for what seems like months, with a backlogged stack of Next Reads scattered through the house, waiting patiently to be held and adored. I would liken this feeling to literary constipation, and I’m desperately looking for the suppositiories. I simply can’t wait until I’m done.

4. Five (yeah, right – only five) books that mean a lot to me:

Charles de Lint, Jack of Kinrowan (1987)
Stephen E. Ambrose, Band of Brothers (1992)
Herman Hesse, Demian, (1925)
George R. R. Martin, ed., The Wild Cards Series (1985-now)
Ayn Rand, Anthem (1946)
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (1980)
Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth (1995-2002)
Murray G. H. Pittock, The Myth of the Jacobite Clans (1995)
John Steinbeck, Cannery Row (1945)
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are (1963)

28 Responses to “Books are more vital than food.”

  1. defenestr8r Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    yay for books! i look forward to leisure reading, starting in two, count them TWO weeks.
    send me a date for sometime after the 12th and we'll go to frankie's.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 11:38 pm

    Boy, that feeling of putting away the academic books and picking up the others is SO nice, isn't it? Thing is, you *know* you'll still be looking for citations and critically questioning every affirmative statement written before you. It's a proven fact.
    I look forward to your return; we have a lot to catch up on.

  3. defenestr8r Says:
    May 23rd, 2005 at 7:15 am

    yeah, but i only get four months to enjoy leisure reading this time. *sigh*
    soon, very soon!

  4. angledge Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 4:41 pm

    quote for you
    "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." – Erasmus

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 11:40 pm

    Re: quote for you
    Hey! I think I saw the old, bearded bastard at Borders the other night. He was in the travel section. Now it makes sense!
    Thanks for this; now I don't feel like so much of a freak.

  6. tallboi Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 5:29 pm

    random message that has nothing to do with books…
    It occured to me tonight as I tried to drop you a line that I had no idea what numbers would reach you these days. So with that I'll ask you to make a call to 5184217123 at your lesiure. I'd ask you to email me the numbers but my computers dead and am in the process of moving anyhow so computer use is pretty random. anyhow brother, i hope things are well and to cross paths soon.

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 11:41 pm

    I'll do this at my earliest convenience, probably tomorrow from work. Good to hear from you and I hope we'll be in closer touch very soon.

  8. blu_matt Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 5:38 pm

    I think you're the only other person I know that's read any Ayn Rand. I haven't read <cite>Anthem<cite> though.

  9. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 11:45 pm

    Anthem is essential reading, to be sure. Its agenda is a bit sophomoric at our age, but what it catalyzes in the young mind is invaluable.
    I think you're the only other person I know that's read any Ayn Rand.
    I thought every beer-swilling, funny-haired, leg-humping freak was forced to read Rand whilst still in the womb. Glad to know that we're not alone!

  10. angledge Says:
    May 27th, 2005 at 9:44 am

    I've read Ayn Rand, both Anthem & Atlas Shrugged. I think Rand was a bit unhinged. Did you ever hear her famous quote about how pollution is one of humanity's greatest accomplishments?

  11. seide Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    Anthem was the first book I ever read by Ayn Rand, when I was about 15.
    I'm a Hermann Hesse fan as well. I'm reading Journey to the East right now.

  12. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 11:47 pm

    You'll have to tell me how Journey to the East pans out. I was looking intently at the new edition of this, but I am somewhat unfamiliar with a couple of his historical characters, and I had feared I would miss some of the commentary based on their personas. Do tell me what you think!

  13. aerialscribe Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 10:24 pm

    If I have $15 left to last to the end of the month I go to the bookstore first, and then if there is anything leftover I go to the grocery store. The grocery store and I are not that well acquainted.
    Oh, uhm, and Hello! I linked to you LJ from following one of your posts to <lj user="ethereal_lad">, and I found you thoughtful and interesting and maybe somewhat wise, and you are a writer, and you're kinda sexy.
    I'm also something of an Ayn Rand fan, having read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I just went out today and picked up a used copy of Anthem because, well it seemed like a good idea, and I didn't really need to eat, anyway.

  14. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 22nd, 2005 at 11:52 pm

    And how, my brother. Food is overrated when we have words to cook with.
    Thanks for reading here, and thanks also for saying hello. Your compliments are very kind, and I'll look forward to future commentary and interactions as they come.
    …and maybe somewhat wise…
    Well, you blew that one. Guess again, please; we won't dock you for the right answer this time.

  15. lachlain Says:
    May 23rd, 2005 at 1:12 am

    On a geeky note..
    How is Biggest Brother? I am assuming it is about Maj. Dick Winters, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, E Co. and I would love to get your opinion on it.

  16. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 24th, 2005 at 7:02 pm

    Re: On a geeky note..
    It is, in fact, about ol' Dick. I haven't started reading the blasted thing yet, but of course we'll have some nice discourse about it when I'm done. I see that Ambrose has sparked your passions, as well.

  17. lachlain Says:
    May 25th, 2005 at 1:42 am

    Re: On a geeky note..
    I have been bitten by the WWII bug. At first I couldn't get enough of Ambrose's books….Citizen Soldier, D-Day, Band of Brothers, etc…but now I have moved on to all that is 101st related. If you get a chance, pick up Parachute Infantry by David Kenyon Webster. Ambrose used a lot from that book and it was interesting to see what Easy Company was like from the inside.

  18. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 25th, 2005 at 10:25 pm

    Re: On a geeky note..
    As a narrative U.S. historian, Ambrose was and is really important for the masses of Americans who cannot engage with academic history. The academics dislike him for that selfsame reason, however. All they see is his weepy, storytelling style and snafu with the plagiarism incident. At the same time, they overlook his valuable prolificness and incredible generosity in creating our National D-Day Museum in New Orleans from his own funds.
    I loved him and still do, and while he can be a bit formulaic at times, I greatly appreciate the awareness of our country's history that he has stirred in the American people.

  19. lachlain Says:
    May 26th, 2005 at 12:39 am

    Re: On a geeky note..
    Oh, I didn't mean to sound as though I am an Ambrose basher, I love the man. Everything that he did has had a profound impact in the way I approach History/Cultural Anthro. I was simply stating that I have, since reading BoB and seeing the mini-series, fallen in love with the 101st Airborne. I don't have any problem with him as evident in the fact that I own Band of Brothers, D-Day, Citizen Soldier, Undaunted Courage, and Pegasus Bridge.

  20. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 30th, 2005 at 10:00 am

    Re: On a geeky note..
    Yes, it was clear from your writings that you are a big fan of Ambrose; I was just commiserating with you my experiences of his reception within the academic field.
    The book about Winters, which I am partially into now, is nothing special at all. This, as I feared, highlights the difference between Stephen Ambrose and Larry Alexander. The latter simply is not a writer of any great skill, and he's pushing the subject matter of Winter's early life to sound more interesting than it is. More than this, he limply rewrites many of the trials of Easy Company that Ambrose already went over in a much more interesting and succinct manner. Check it out at your own peril, but if you appreciate Dick Winters, then of course you'll get something good out of it.

  21. lachlain Says:
    May 26th, 2005 at 12:43 am

    Re: On a geeky note..
    Also I am a fervent believer that the nation owes a debt of gratitude to Ambrose for the Nation D-Day Museum, and the National WWII monument in DC (about 50 years late but at least it was built).

  22. hermiston Says:
    May 23rd, 2005 at 2:49 am

    the last I bought was "French for Dummies". I'm on "Grapes of Wrath" just now, which is purely dazzling. My fave is "Sunset Song" by Grassic Gibbon and it's not so different to Steinbeck. Another is "The god of Small things" by Arundhati Roy. I've read Murray Pittock, he's prolific and dubious isn't he? How's he getting on, do you know?
    I find it very difficult to give books away, but I've lost many to borrowers. That can be a nice price to pay. That list of books to read is a bastard isn't it? Some get forced down and down the list until you forget about them. I shrewdly put some next to the toilet and steal those few opportune minutes, though Mo hates the mounting pile in our chamber!
    I'll place a bet that somewhere on the macintosh of yours you have a bibliography of your library, organised by author, title, publisher, ISBN and so on? Am I right?

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 24th, 2005 at 7:14 pm

    You're a hoot! I do actually have an amazing application called Delicious Library, which allows my iSight camera to scan the barcodes of any books that I wish to add to a collection. My ultimate goal is to use it as a running database, but many of my books aren't in there yet, as they're still adding all the codes ISBNs from You can bet Murray's works show up already, though I haven't heard anything from him since I left.
    I hear what you're saying about lending. I also have a hard time passing my books around, as few treat them with the same reverence that we do. The above-mentioned application also has a lending timecard that ties in with your address book, to keep you better informed of who still has what and for how much longer. Gotta crack down on 'em!
    Oh, and Happy Birthday to ol' Bob Dylan. I figure you'll be up to your eyes in whisky as a tribute, as if you needed a reason…
    Grapes of Wrath just oozes America, and I'm so glad that you're loving it.

  24. hermiston Says:
    May 26th, 2005 at 4:07 am

    Good man!
    I'd a bottle of Fraoch when I toasted Bob. 64 and doesn't he look good?
    Delicious library goes beyond any expectation I had, on one hand I'm impressed…(!) Seems bias towards those macs though, maybe i should get me one. Can others browse your personal virtual bibliotheque?
    If ah'm gonnae lose a book I'd rather it was to somebody who loved it too much to give it back, although, upon reflection, there's the implication in that that they don't love it enough to buy it themselves though, in which case perhaps your right. But I've lost books through carelessness and obsessive housekeepers (mum and sis) and that hurts more. But you've got to share the good things! x

  25. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 30th, 2005 at 11:15 pm

    Re: Good man!
    Yes, it's biased towards those Macs. But everything that's good always is. 🙂
    Sadly, there's no implementation of browsable libraries of yet, but one never knows as these applications gain power and functionality.
    But you've got to share the good things!
    Or horde them, as I am sometimes wont to do. As you've said, as long as the lendee is as appreciative of the material as I, I have little problem sharing and lending. But I check every page and every corner with terrible scrutiny!

  26. podle Says:
    May 23rd, 2005 at 10:12 am

    Your book list is begun and ended with two of my favorite favorites. I firmly believe that Maurice Sendak should be essential reading – absolutely brilliant. And you already know how I feel about de Lint.

  27. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 24th, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    I do, I do!
    I think we have the same visions of fantasy, and how it can and should manifest in today's mundane American society, as evidenced by the similarities in our list of favorite storytellers. Either that, or we're both living in a dreamworld, which is entirely possible.

  28. thistlelurid Says:
    May 23rd, 2005 at 10:31 am

    Nicholson Baker….wow…..there was a time when I would
    wait for his next release with toes curled, used to do the
    same for Banana Yoshimoto…its been ages. Seeing his
    name this morning gave me a nice reminiscent shiver
    ….please let us know what you think of his new novel!

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