Monday, June 13, 2005

Book Meme

Ooo, I got tagged!

Meryl and I occasionally (more accurately endlessly) chat on the phone and she mentioned she got tagged and was going to respond to this particular meme. I thought it sounded interesting and told her as much. So now I actually have to do something about it.

I love to read. Both of my parents are bibliophiles and as a result I grew up in a house full of books. Whenever we moved one of the first things done to the new house would be to have bookshelves installed. Some people may leave a trail of destruction in their wake; my mom leaves a trail of bookcases.

Growing up I would spend my money on books, Breyer horses and art supplies. By the time I hit high school I had my own bookcases stuffed full of books. Sadly I have lost many books over the years from being stored in less than ideal conditions. I was able to salvage a few from my mother’s basement and drag them to my house.

Nowadays I try to use the library for my reading addiction. I still buy books, but they are mostly for the kids. I can take then to all sorts of stores with toys. They may briefly pester me for something, but they have learned that I generally do not just buy toys for them. Bookstores, on the other hand, are a very different story. All four children have learned that it is almost impossible for their momma to not buy books for them. They almost always leave the store clutching a new book. So now on to the meme:

Number of books I own:
I’ll just stick with my own personal collection. I have a little over 150 books on our bookshelves with about a third devoted to dachshunds, dog shows and dog training. The dachshund portion consists of books about the breed and my collection of children’s literature featuring dachshunds. eBay can be very addictive for book collectors. I do have strict spending limits, but it is so much fun seeing what is out there. I also have another 20 or so books on my nightstand. Some have been read, a few are being read and the rest are going to read.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Then there are the eight paper grocery bags up in my attic. These are the books salvaged from my childhood and waiting to be passed down to my children. The kids themselves have over three hundred books scattered about the house. I don’t even want to venture to guess how many my husband has. Let’s just say we used to get, what seemed to me, a monthly Amazon shipment.

Last book I bought:
A few weeks ago I went to the local mega chain bookstore to get a gift certificate for a Bat Mitzvah gift and of course I had to check out the rest of the store. Max and Rebecca were with me so we first went to the children’s section. For Jake and Nate I got new copies of “The Wind in the Willows,” “The Black Stallion” and a double book that contained “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang.” I used to have these books, but they have since disappeared from my collection. Max latched onto “Hands Off, Doc Ock!” from Spiderman 2 and Rebecca picked out “My Little Pony Fashion Fun.” (My daughter’s taste is not mine, but it makes her happy) For myself I bought Anne McCaffrey’s “Pegasus in Space.”

Last book I read:
That would be “Pegasus in Space,” sadly I have to agree with Meryl about the state of Ms. McCaffrey’s writing. She is well past her prime and has been for some time. I too am addicted to the Pern series so I keep giving her another chance. This particular book is not from about Pern, but from the saga of the Talents. It was ok at best. I bought it because it was in the bargain area for $5. I can’t resist getting a new hardcover for just five bucks.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
Carry on Mr. Bowditch:
It is the semi-fictionalized account of my quadruple great Grandfather’s life. I don’t remember who gave it to me, but it made a big impression on me. It is a fascinating glimpse of 18th century life. The fact that this brilliant man is my ancestor is what draws me to this book. When you are a slightly shy bookworm in school there is nothing better than to find out that you are descended from a famous adventurer cum mathematician. To this day an updated version of his book on navigation is still in use.

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive:
My first car was a Volkswagen Super Beetle and you can see its picture here. Again I don’t know who gave me this book, but it proved invaluable. It is wonderfully well written. I loved the exploded diagrams of all the bits and pieces. It reminds me of David Macaulay’s books which I also love. I never actually used it to repair my car, but when something went wrong I could trouble shoot. Thus when I took (or in one case pushed) my car to a mechanic I could sound reasonably knowledgeable about what was wrong with my car. This is so important when you are female, in your twenties and dealing with the automotive industry. The best part was that I was usually right. Because of my experiences with my car I applied this new found courage with all things mechanical to other parts of my life. When things break I’ll open it up and try to fix it myself. My first boss was amazed when I would crack open laboratory equipment and fix it. My philosophy has become “why not give it a shot, it is already broken.”

The Joy of Cooking, 1943 Edition:
I love to cook and this is my favorite cook book. My mother gave this to me shortly after I had left home to live on my own. The binding is slowly falling apart, I have to put more and more tape on it to hold it together. Inside, the pages are dog-eared and stained. The best part is the clippings and the photo I have found within.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I wonder if Louise F. Hayden (the name of the first owner, neatly inscribed on the inside front cover) is in this picture or if it is of her children.

I also have a 70’s edition, but it is not as good. The recipes have been modernized and changed to be more healthful. As a result they are not nearly as good. For me in cooking it’s all about the butterfat.

Choosing Judaism:

When I was taking my conversion class this was one of the books recommended by the Rabbi. I found it to be the right book for me at that time. I liked how I could read of other people’s experiences and feelings. It helped me realize that I was doing the right thing. I am very fortunate that my family supported me in this very momentous decision.

The International Kosher Cookbook, the 92nd Street Y Kosher Cooking School:
My mother gave me this cookbook and several others after I converted. I was so very touched by this. She told me later how much fun she had picking out those books.

I don’t keep kosher, but I do like to explore some of the different Jewish culinary traditions. I have found this one to be the best of my kosher cookbooks. From this book I have learned how to make a fairly good loaf of challah. The binding has cracked at that particular page and the book just falls open there. When I need to make something for a holiday this is the book I turn to first.

I’m only going to tag two people, because this is my blog and I can do what I want. They are Terry and Jordana. Thanks Meryl for the tag. This was fun.

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