I've been memed by Lane. (I hear gnashing of teeth and screams of outrage: "Memed? MEMED? Why must people mangle the language?") So I'll just stuff some cotton in my ears and proceed:
Total number of books...
I've been cataloging my books on LibraryThing, and I'm somewhere around 150. There are several boxes that I haven't yet opened, so I'll say 300 is a fair guesstimate.
Last book read...
Letters to a Young Artist by Julia Cameron. A gift from my mother, who thought she was picking up Cameron's The Artist's Way in the store. While I don't think 'young' can truthfully describe me any more, I do have an elderly friend who addresses me as 'young lady'. Letters was worthwhile reading, since it reinforces truths about living the writing life.
Last book bought.....
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson.
5 Meaningful books...
I don't want to repeat any of the books I mentioned in the Thursday Thirteen post, so I'll name five other books I found meaningful:
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - I found this book meaningful because of the emphasis on the strength of the individual, the scorn for people who batten off of other people (the 'second-handers'), and for the sheer doggedness of the protagonist Howard Roark who refused to compromise his artistic vision. I also could relate to the architectural themes. My main criticisms are: the rape scene and its premise are repugnant; the characters, especially Dominique, are not 'sympathetic', and Rand's philosophy is not entirely applicable to real life. Despite what I consider its flaws, the book is extremely well written and provides lots of food for thought.
I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven - A young priest is sent to a remote Kwakiutl village in the Pacific Northwest. He is dying but does not know it yet. In the village, he becomes a part of the Native American world, learns the Kwakiutl language and ways, and sees how their traditions are being destroyed through the influence of white men. This book is quietly profound, sad yet exhilarating, and utterly unforgettable.
One Child by Torey Hayden - Wrenching, true story of a teacher's discovery that one of her charges, a six year old, was being sexually abused by a relative. Not just another chronicle of heinous abuse, it's also the story of the miraculous flowering of a gifted child in the most unlikely of places.
The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson - This is one of those watershed works by the author of Silent Spring, the book that sounded the first warnings about the dangers of pesticides such as DDT to man and the natural world. The Sea Around Us is deservedly a classic, with its stunning insights into the workings of the oceans, the moving, lyrical prose, and the prophesies that have become a frightening reality as man continues to abuse this majestic yet fragile ecosystem.
Serengeti Shall Not Die by Bernhard Grzimek - The story of a German father and son who worked toward saving the great migratory herds of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. In order to determine the status of the herds they decided to take a census of the animals in the savannah, braving confrontations with wild animals and ruthless poachers, and, for one member of the team, (spoiler alert!) paying the ultimate price.
I'll tag a couple people I spared the last time around:
The Urban Recluse
Cheryl St John
Kanani, the Easy-Writer