Friday, June 10, 2005


Blah Blah BLah...Yeah I know it's been a year since my last post. It might be a year before my next. Since then my wife got pregnant, we had a baby girl, we moved next door, we vacationed in Oregon, I got a new job, and life has generally been very good. Don't really know what else to say without writing twenty pages on the significance of these events. If you read this, you must be a glutton for disappointment, and so consider this post the reward for your tenacity.

Aaron made me fill out this piece of crap survey thing. But I gave it an honest effort anyway. Enjoy!

[edit] Ok, this survey is not a piece of crap. I just don't usually like doing them, especially in the internet age where everyone passes everything on, and you get inundated with things, and sometimes feel compelled to do things you really don't want to do. This survey was an OK one, sent to me by my good friend Aaron, who I knew would really enjoy and appreciate my answers, so I did it anyway for him.

1. Total number of books I’ve owned: I honestly have no idea. I do have most of the books I’ve owned, and they fill up about 15 large sized boxes. Not sure how many each box holds, but I know they could fill up approximately 5-6 large sized book shelves.

2. Last book I bought: If you know me, you know I get a little fuzzy with timelines. By the time I’m 80, me entire life will have happened the same week. So it was either John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy (which now has a fourth prequel book in a nice boxed set), or it was the books I purchased with my wife at a used book store in Cambria while taking a trip to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. There I bought Peace Breaks Out, a follow up to John Knowles’ classic A Separate Peace. I also picked up a first edition of Orson Scott Card’s and Katherine Kidd’s (they co-wrote the book together) Lovelock, and last I bought a beautiful old (1940s I believe) hardcover edition of The Way of a Pilgrim, complete with dustcover, with a different translator than the paperback version I already had.

3. Last book I read: The last book I finished was Alexandre Dumas’ classic tale of betrayal, revenge, a proud fall and redemption, The Count of Monte Cristo, which is my all time favorite work of fiction. I read a translation I hadn’t read before, which I liked very much. It was a bit more readable than the previous one I’d read. Please note that there are many editions of this book out, but that the many abridged versions available do not do this book justice. Get one of the unabridged versions, which weigh in at over a 1000 pages.

4. Five books that mean a lot me: I will self-qualify this question this way. I have a hard time defining a book as “means a lot to me” if I haven’t read it more than once. A book that means a lot to me will have transcended different periods of my life and still have meaning and value. That being said, here they are in no particular order:

1) The afore-mentioned The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas. A masterfully crafted tale that hits on so many levels that one cannot walk away unchanged. The recent movie, while fun, and even good, does the book a discredit. They are not the same.

2)The Worthing Saga, Orson Scott Card. A tale within a tale within a tale that spans a period of many thousands of years. A very human story, which is Card’s strength. It deals with mankind’s strengths, as well as our sicknesses, while, via analogy, dealing with the question of pain (quite masterfully I think).

3) Ender’s Game, Orsom Scott Card. Yeah, I know I run the risk of not looking diverse by including two books by the same author, but his tales are really that good (generally) because they really are that human. This is the first book of two different series of books, and it is so full of moral questions and implications, all thrown upon a child. This book literally made me weep, and I’m not a weepy kinda guy. Whatever though…it’s that good.

4) Man’s Search For Meaning, Victory Frankl. I read this book as part of my coursework while working on my bachelor’s. It changed my entire perspective on modern psychology, it’s approach and purpose. While written by a Jewish man, I believe it sits quite well within an Orthodox Christian paradigm. It is the fleshing out of his theories as a burgeoning theoretical phychologist, filtered through his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp. This book could change the world (in many ways it already has).

5) Father Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father, Vera Bouteneff (editor). Some stories are so good, so powerful, so moving at the core of your being, that you (almost) don’t notice a poor translation. This is one of them. A must read for anyone desiring to see the life of a modern saint, anyone desiring to witness the heights of humanity, while living in it’s depths. This book may not change the world, but it will change your life.

5: People I will infect w/ this meme: Because I resent being infected myself by Aaron, I will not infect anyone. If you read this and WANT to do it, copy and paste the questions, and put a note in the comments letting me know you did.
Best regards from NY!
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