Monday, June 06, 2005

Book meme

This is quite exciting for me - I just found out that Idealistic Pragmatist tagged me in the book meme, just as I was feeling left out of the game!

Number of Books I Own: Uncountable. I now account for the total number of books owned by my husband and I in terms of number of bookcases. Right now, we have the equivalent of six massive IKEA "Billy" bookcases full, some shelves two-deep.

Last Book I Bought: I have actually been working my way through the mountain of books that I have received for Christmas and birthdays of late. But in Seattle, I couldn't resist making a purchase at the Elliott Bay Bookstore in Seattle - a very funky bookstore whose downstairs cafe was the inspiration for "Frasier"'s Cafe Nervosa. While there, I picked up Ursula le Guin's Changing Planes and Dan Savage's Skipping Towards Gomorrah.

Last Book I Read: Right now, I'm in the middle of two books, and finished two others last week, one fiction, one non-fiction. Right now, I'm reading China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, a sci-fi/fantasy/horror book which is quite compelling and dark. I'm also about halfway through Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes, a book I picked up second-hand about seven years ago, but had astonishingly never read, given my interest in Canada's lingustic duality. The last two books I completed were Paul Jackson's One of the Boys: Homosexuality in the Military during World War II for a book review, and David Adam Richards' Mercy Among the Children for me.

5 Books That Mean A Lot To Me (in no particular order):

I'll start with a pair of non-fiction works, which are intimately tied to the current direction of my academic career. In the third year of my undergraduate degree, I read Pierre Trudeau's Federalism and the French Canadians collection of essays, which is likely what got me going on my current research projects about French-Canadians and language policy.

The other book which probably had the greatest impact on my thesis (soon to be a book with McGill-Queens') is Kenneth McRoberts' Misconceiving Canada: The Struggle for National Unity, a book which takes a very dim view of Trudeau's approach to Canada's national identity. My own work takes issue with his interpretations, but I am indebted to him for his scholarship on the topic.

Moving into fiction, we have a troika of sci-fi/fantasy works which are decidedly dissimilar from each other. I can never re-read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game too many times. It's a delightfully written work about a young, isolated genius, charged with defending planet Earth.

More literary and dystopic is George Orwell's 1984. Eerily prescient, it is a classic for all ages, particularly in our modern era of a muzzled media and government double-speak.

And finally, for more personal reasons, Mercedes Lackey's Magic's Pawn and the other volumes of her Last Herald Mage Trilogy. These were the first books I ever read in the fantasy genre with a gay main character, and indeed, a really touching love story. They are among the few books that have ever made me cry.

Pretty much everyone seems to have been tagged in this game. I'm not sure if they read my blog or not, but I'll tag J. Kelly Nestruck from On the Fence and Paul Wells from Inkless Wells, just for the heck of it!

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At 4:59 pm, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Oh, good, I thought you weren't gonna play! :-)

I took that post down so as not to clutter up my blog with non-political stuff, but I'm glad you caught the tag before I did.

At 9:26 am, Anonymous Paul Wells said...

Thanks. Like you, I was starting to think nobody cared. I accept your challenge, brave sir knight!

Also: That Ken McRoberts book is one of the great barkers in the history of Canadian political science. That thing is such a dog I'm pretty sure it would roll over if you offered it a bone. Not to be critical or anything.

At 9:34 am, Blogger Matt said...

As per McRoberts' book, I indicated that it had an influence on me, not that I liked it. It's actually been well reviewed, in the Canadian Historical Review, among other places. And his conclusions jive with arguments by Guy Laforest and others. It was useful to have their work to position my own work against.

I also found it to be such a disappointing book given that his other major work Quebec: Social Change and Political Crisis is pretty much the standard for undergraduates in Quebec politics and history. How a Glendon College prof. can justify attacking official bilingualism is beyond me.


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