Monday, June 06, 2005

I've Been Tagged

1. Number of books I Own

Probably somewhere between 300 and 400. As a kid I collected an entire (unfortunately for its value, slightly mismatched) set of the original Hardy Boy books. I've since added a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction to my library.

2. Last Book I Bought

I recently bought William Kaplan's second book that deals with the Airbus scandals: A Secret Trial, Brian Mulroney, Stevie Cameron And The Public Trust. I'm reading it right now and I definitely am finding it quite illuminating. I haven't read either Stevie Cameron's book or Kaplan's first book that is basically a response to Cameron. I understand though that in Secret Trial Kaplan takes a more balanced approach to the scandal.

3. Last Book I Read

I'm ashamed to admit that I decided to take a break from intelligence and read one of John Grisham's books--Runaway Jury. Oh God, it was absolutely horrible. I foolishly remembered Grisham's novels (like The Firm, Pelican Brief, and The Chamber) to be exciting, compelling, or suprising--if not challenging or enlightening. Runaway Jury was just boring and basically uneventful. I hear that the movie is even worse.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me

No Surrender; Reflections of a Happy Warrior in the Tory Crusade by Hugh Segal
More than any other book this inspired my current political affiliation. Segal is one of the biggest name politcians that I have had the opportunity to meet and talk to for more than a quick exchange of pleasantries. He's compelling both in person and through this book.

Rebel Angels by Roberston Davies opens my eyes to the bright side of CanLit. Throughout school no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't swallow the novels we were forced to read by the likes of Atwood, Munro, and Mowat. Either the male characters were total one-dimensional tools, everyone raised silver foxes, or there were more animals as characters than people and while this may constitute life in Canada for some I just couldn't believe that no one was writing about the vast number of interesting experience going on around me in a Canadian city. I suppose Fifth Business and The Manticore are better examples of Davies at his best but Rebel Angels earns bonus points because the first edition cover featured Trinity College's Episkopon Tower.

I have read almost everything Richler has published but Barney's Version is by far my favorite. I suppose I'm drawn to the fatalistic mischief that all of Richler's characters--no matter what their age--exude. Also, I can identify with the Jewish/WASP romantic entanglements with which Richler seems obsessed.

At one point in my life I could not get enough of historical accounts of First and Second World War battles. I read many of the the best such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Rise and FAll of the Third Reich, and A Bridge Too Far but the one that reasonates most with me is The Guns of Normandy by George Blackburn. This exhaustive account of the Canadian artillery as they valiantly supported the Allied push through northern France is unequalled. Well, maybe only by The Guns of Victory which is Blackburn's account of the rest of the road through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany for those brave Canadians.

One of my deepest interests, that I don't blog nearly enough about, is cooking. I'm fascinated by how a little effort and scientific thinking can so dramatically change the food we eat every day. The bible as far as scientific cooking goes has to be On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. No one more completely dissects the principles of biology, chemistry, and physics at work in the kitchen.

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