I got tagged by Revere to do the Book Meme. I did the Other Book Meme recently, which is similar, so this time around I have to make it different - all different titles to double your pleasure.
Number Of Books I Own: Last time I was able to estimate the number of books was almost four years ago. They were neatly arranged: fiction by alphabetic order of the author in one room, non-fiction by topic in another room, sci-fi in alphabetical order in our bedroom, kids books in their rooms, cookbooks in the kitchen. It was over 4000. In the meantime, we moved twice, sold a couple of hundred prior to the moves, bought many more. Recently I moved home at least a couple of hundred books from the lab (after giving away at least as many to younger grad students). Chapel Hill being much more expensive place to live than either Raleigh or Cary, we are now living in a smaller place. Thus, books are not all neatly arranged on shelves any more - there are double rows, there are books in stacks and boxes, making it impossible to estimate their number, but I will guess it is about 5000 right now.
Last Book I Bought: In these days of tight finances, I can only buy books off my wish list one at a time. I have just ordered two older books by Stephanie Coontz (for spare change on amazon.com): "The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap" and "The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms With America's Changing Families". I will buy a new copy of her newest book, "Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage", as I intend to go to the book signing on Wednesday and support the local independent bookstore. I want to compare it to E.J.Graff's "What Is Marriage For?", all in my attempt to understand the role of sexuality in politics - the running theme of my blog.
Last Book I Read: I used to be a very focused reader: I pick up a book and read until it's finished. It may take a few hours, or a few days, but I did not start another book until the previous one was done. This all changed once I started blogging. I have no more time for reading books any more! I read them differently these days: skimming and looking for "bloggable" nuggets. Thus, I have a couple of DOZEN books "in the reading"! Fiction is easier to finish and I recently read two (and blogged about both). The last book I finished was Lynn Ponton's "Sex Lives of Teenagers", a book I read for the same reason I bought Coontz books - book review on this blog is coming soon.
Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me: This is tough. Some people answered as if it was the "five books to take to desert island" question, others as "five books I currently like a lot". I will do something different. I will pick five books that, even if I did not know it at the time of reading, affected the trajectory of my life, the meanderings of my career and other big life-choices.
There are two species of animals living in Belgrade: pigeons outdoors and cockroaches indoors. I grew up in an urban art/language/theater/social science kind of family, without any pets. How on Earth I developed, early on in my childhood, love for and interest in animals is anyone's guess. Yet I did and I read everything about animals I could get my hands on, from stories and novels to children's books and encyclopedias. I read the whole old racist Dr.Doolittle series that is so hard to find these days. Jack London's "White Fang", too. I read a lot of Gerald Durell's books. But it was Konrad Lorenz's book "King Solomon's Ring" that first gave me an idea that one can make a living, working with, living with and studying animals. A biologist was born - though I did not realize this until many years later.
James Herriot country vet series was the reason I went to vet school, back in Belgrade. I never finished, though. The war started, I came to the USA, and decided not to go that way again, but to switch to basic science instead. How did all that happen?
Mary Wanless' "The Natural Rider" is one in the series of books that started with "Inner Game of Tennis" and "Inner Game of Golf", using the same principles. However, it is much better than the other two. Reading this book made me a MUCH better rider than I was before, and especially made me a much better riding instructor, which saved my life. I came to the States to teach kids to ride, and I managed to remain in the States because I could ride and teach well.
Stephen Jay Gould's "Ontogeny and Philogeny" was a final trigger from dreams of a career as a veterinarian to the decision to switch to basic science. It made me want to do something that had to do with evolution and development and timing. If I could, I would have gone into evo-devo (like PZ) and study developmental timing, but there was no opening at the time, so instead I got into Chronobiology and study of evolution of daily and seasonal timing, which I found very exciting.
Book #5 is George Lakoff's Moral Politics, of course. This book gave me so many ideas...and I had to put those ideas in writing...and for that I had to start a blog....and since then I did not do anything productive in my life (i.e., something that brings in money!).
Tag Five: OK, who to pass this meme on to?
Melinama of Pratie Place because her blog serves a surprise every day. I bet her reading choices are going to be equally surprising.
Dave from Anonymoses because...just because it's Anonymoses! It's gotta be unusual.
Pam of Pam's House Blend, one of the founders of Big Brass Blog, because at first I though it had to do with hers (and Shakes Sis') Big Bras! The two large circles as a logo did nothing to dismiss this notion. I thought they were going to use their ample bosoms to lure unsuspecting male bloggers into their feminist blog-trap and...snap!
Heinrich, Not Hindrocket, of She Flies With Her Own Wings because he is a chronobiologist, like me, and his blog is very satirical and funny.
Trish Wilson of the eponymous blog, as I want to see the boots!
Trish was the fastest to respond. Pam came in second. Dave gets the bronze, while repeating the title of that book I never heard of! Melinama is done, too, and so is Heinrich.