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Book it

Chad tagged me with another meme and so I must, by Common Blog Law, comply. This one’s about books, so it should be interesting.

Books at the two ends and middle of my bookshelf

Well, which bookshelf? How about the closest one: At one end is China Mieville’s Iron Council, waiting for me to take it on the road to California in a couple of weeks. In the middle is The LaTeX Companion, for ready reference. And at the other end is Max Weber’s `Economy and Society’: a critical companion, edited by Charles Camic, Philip Gorski, and David Trubek; I’ll have more to say about this one later on. It’s really excellent.

Reading in the bathroom

Never gone in for that. Maybe the back of contact lens solution.

Favorite authors

Geeze. I suppose these come and go over time. Edward Abbey should be on the list; some of my favorite all-time science fiction is by A. A. Attanasio and David Wingrove, though I also look forward to Neil Gaiman; Barry Lopez? Wendell Berry? Berkeley Breathed?

Least favorite

L. Ron Hubbard? When I was a kid I actually read a couple of books in some ten-volume sci-fi epic of his, until I reached the point where a little voice in my uncritical reading mind said, “This stuff really sucks. And there are eight more volumes?” I recently made my way through bits and pieces of Aaron Ralston’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place—remember, the guy who cut off his forearm in a southern Utah slot canyon? His story is remarkable, but the book is dreadful. Finally, quite unlike Chad, I just can’t get behind John Krakauer: Somehow, every story he tells becomes about him, and that annoys me. His story of Everest in 1996 became about his grief and eventual getting high to deal with it; his Into the Wild became all about his failed attempt to make a difficult first ascent, after which he went and got high; and while I have a lot of interest in the story recounted in Under the Banner of Heaven, I got bored about 50 pages in and put it aside, before Krakauer even got high.

Over-rated

The above?

Picking up ladies in the bookstore?

I gave my wife a ride to the library a few times. I think that counts.

Eating while reading

I can’t hold the pages open with a hoagie in one hand.

Inspirational

Any volume of The American Alpine Journal has inspiration aplenty.

Beach book

I’m in grad school, so I take Weber to the beach. But for lighter moments I’ll recommend Snow Crash. You really can’t go wrong.

Judging books by their cover

Any book that prominently features dragons or space marines on the cover is probably right out. Sorry, Anne McCaffrey.

Favorite section in the bookstore

Book-store. That’s where the people at Amazon go to pick up my books before they mail them to me, right? Lately I’ve been looking for a really good guide to flyfishing Northern Arizona, so I suppose I check out the outdoors section a lot these days.

Passing the baton

I’m going to pass this baton to the first five people who come along. This just might work (but I’m prepared for the possibility that it will fail spectacularly). If there aren’t yet five responses in the comments, put together your own and post your link.