Joseph's book meme post has put me on the spot and this is not an easy exercise for me. But, here goes:
Number of books I own:
Thousands. I haven't thrown or given away or sold a book ever that I can recall.
Last Book Bought:
Actually, my partner David bought John Grisham's The Broker and Peter Straub's lost boy, lost girl for me. I finished Grisham's and it sucked (note my prior post). I'm half-way through the Straub and it's holding my interest. (Straub's best book, incidentally--in my opinion--is Koko.)
Last Book Read:
The Grisham which, as I've noted, stunk.
5 books that mean a lot to me:
Okay. This is the hard part.
1. Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I love Dickens. He is the sublime master of characterization, plot and mood. Bleak House just stands out as the most representative.
2. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. This is a magical book. I've read it three times.
3. Andrew Holleran's first novel, Dancer from the Dance. Perhaps this is one of my five because it was first published in 1978 and 1978 was probably the most exciting year of my life. This is a gentle novel about love and excess; a novel that captured my imagination then in that watershed year. And, indeed, Holleran's inclusion of William Butler Yeats, "Among School Children," is, at least, poignant:
Labor is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
4. Randy Shilts, And The Band Played On. No need to expound on this one; the chronicle of the brave (in one sense) and pathetic (in another) American response to the AIDS epidemic.
5. The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer is a book that really captures that period of American history when I came of age--not to mention that Mailer is a superb writer.
There are probably another hundred (or thousand) or so books that, "...mean a lot to me." But, Joseph, for what it's worth...