Autonomous Source

June 02, 2005

Been politely requested to contribute

There's a funny new blog-based internet virus going around. I caught it from Publius at Gods of the Copybook Headings, but it seems to have been spreading itself for awhile. I tried to follow the chain of blogs back to its source, but after about 15 blogs my only link was to the blog Minivan Mom, but without the direct archive link. Any other internet researchers are welcome to continue the trail from there, but I'm working on a dial-up connection right now and have had enough. I think it's pretty fascinating how the idea has propagated itself. It's very synaptic.

Anyways, the virus is a 'book tag', requiring the blogger to answer questions on their reading habits before 'tagging' five other bloggers to do the same. Publius, who tagged me, and many of the other bloggers whose lists I've read are serious reading people, with big serious books on their lists. But I have a confession to make. I just don't read books anymore.

I often start books but I rarely finish them. At one point about a month ago I had a dozen books on my bedside table that I knew I'd never get around to finishing, so I just cleared them off. It's not that I didn't want to read them. I love and crave information of all sorts, but I just haven't got the attention span I used to. It's not just because of the kids either, this started before they came around (though they haven't helped.) A medical friend even suggested I might benefit from Ritalin. (No thanks.)

But I'll take up the challenge anyway:

Number of Books That You Own: Dunno. I read a lot when I was younger and still have the books in boxes in the basement. I'll never sell them, but bad 70's sci-fi in paperbacks is not something you want on your bookshelf either. Five hundred?

Last Book Bought: Time Out Buenos Aires. Barely had time to flip through it.

Last Book I Read: Hey! I read a book recently! It was Flashman and the Tiger by George MacDonald Fraser. I read it on the interminable flight down here to Buenos Aires. You can't go wrong with Flashman.

Five Books that mean a lot to me: I don't have my bookcase handy so there may be something I've forgotten, but off the top of my head (and in no particular order):

The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem. This is a very unique collection of stories featuring two 'constructor robots' who are friends and jealous competitors. The stories are wacky science fiction fables with a deep philosophical foundation. It's a madly experimental book with some truly dazzling writing, I can't recommend it enough. It's my opinion that Douglas Adams pillaged this book for ideas in his works, but he's bread and water compared to Lem's eight-course meal.

The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang. A great book telling why you should take things easy and concentrate on enjoying life. Sounds pretty boring or obvious, I know, but Lin Yutang writes with a lot of wit and wisdom and is a pleasure to read. And he's funny.

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. This book is not about 'economics' as it's usually studied, but neatly summarizes the basis of what's called the Austrian School of economics. It looks more at why people do things, and looks at all the consequences of an economic exchange. And the conclusion is that government almost always (or is it always?) messes things up. I used to write posts called 'The Lesson not Learned' on my old blog, dealing with applications of the book. Here's one dealing with what happened in Argentina of all places...

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. Great adventure. Great characters. Read all 21 books in the series.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. A lot of people have pointed to Hayek's Road to Serfdom as a book that shows how socialism leads to fascism, but I learned that lesson from this book. I know I wouldn't have the patience to read it now, but I read this when I was about twenty and it killed any lingering left-wing ideals the education system had instilled in me. The book was written in 1960, and since then I think the general understanding of what the Second World War was about has drifted. Read this and find out the dangers of the great technocratic state.

Now I will politely ask some other bloggers to answer the same questions. Hmm, gotta find some that haven't already been tagged...

Blair at Italics Mine,
Shannon at Shenanigans,
Theresa at Heart of Canada,
Debbye at Being American in T.O., and
Essay at Stupid Angry Canajun.

Look at that, all female bloggers except for one token male. I've still got no email right now, so I can't notify them about my polite request. But everyone reads my blog everyday, right?

Okay, I've spent way too much time on this -- time to go eat some more beef...

Posted by Bruce Gottfred at June 2, 2005 07:32 PM | TrackBack

Books? Are we still allowed to read books? Great, now I can fill up all that spare time I have!

Posted by: Essay Canajun at June 5, 2005 02:54 PM
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