Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Book Blog Game — London Fog Part II

There's another blog game circulating around the ol' blogosphere again, and Jay Jardine has "tagged" The London Fog. Oh well, even though Lisa has already taken up the game for the Fog, this one seems kind of fun, so before I forget the whole project, here goes.

Number of books I own: In with Lisa, I own about 5,000 books. A ridiculously bad habit I've always had — buying every book I see whose spine would look good on my shelf. And it didn't hurt that I worked in bookstores that provided employee discounts for quite a while. The bad news for me is that most of my books are now in boxes. I fantasize about having a large library someday, complete with ladders, wood panelling, huge leather chairs and a bar well-stocked with expensive scotch, all with a view over my rolling green estate seen across a large verandah through french windows. Of course, to make this fantasy come true I must work and not read!

Last book I bought: The Adventures of Bowser the Hound, by Thornton Burgess. It's true. But for grown-up purposes, the last book I bought was The Counter-revolution of Science, by F.A. Hayek. This is an account of how the philosophy of scientism — granting the study of human action, or social science, with the validity and veracity of scientific rationality and objectivity — has paved the way for collectivism and authoritarianism since the time of Comte and Saint-Simon. I haven't read the whole thing yet, just bits and pieces, and I found him strangely a bit hard-assed about the study of humans to the point where social scientists would have to entirely renounce all their endeavours to adhere to his rigours — but then again that may not be such a bad thing after all.

Last book I read: The Adventures of Blacky the Crow, by Thornton Burgess. Okay, apart from that, the last book I read was Helliconia Winter, by Brian Aldiss, the last book in the Helliconia trilogy. A world-building science fiction epic which I would not recommend, despite the fact that John Fowles recommended it. Anything with Gaia mysticism I can't abide. I tend to read less daunting intellectual fare these days, because I am usually reading very dry technical remote sensing papers and I need a break. I no longer aspire to intellectual clarity, it seems, but to graduating and making lots of money!

Five books that mean a lot to me:

1. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. After being hounded by good friends for some time to abandon my socialism-for-you NDP-style bland anti-philosophy that I refused to recognize applied to myself as well, I was finally tipped over by reading this book. To this day, I try to pick it up when I need to be righteously motivated to get back to work — pretensions of gianthood. I was warned beforehand that I would turn into an asshole after reading it — it's true, I am now an asshole.

2. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I've read it at least a dozen times, and I'm always blown away by the sense of being somewhere else that ought to be real. If I could consider a book to be a good friend, this would be it. Despite it's fantastic nature, it instilled in me a love of history, although to this date I have mostly pursued this interest through popular pseudo-history books. Oh well, I've had fun.

3. The Law, by Frederic Bastiat. Essentially simple and simply essential. Largely forgotten except by the lunatic libertarian fringe, which is too bad because it only takes half an hour to read. I dare you to disagree with Bastiat.

4. The Narnia Chronicles, by C.S. Lewis, and if I may sneak it in, The Great Divorce by the same author. My struggle — can I reconcile my sense of faith with rationality? Time will tell, but Lewis' beautiful prose and story-telling make the struggle worthwhile.

5. Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. A wonderfully clear and simple explanation of economics. This book provided me with a crystal-clear lens with which to view all reported economic blandishments. Again, essential. Available in PDF.

The last part of the game is to "tag" other blogs with the challenge of taking up the game. Dirty! Double dirty, because Lisa has already "tagged" five blogs. But if they feel up to it, here's five blogs that I would like to "tag":

The Velvet Lounge
The Eclectic Economist
The Atavist
Catprint in the Mash
and Blank Out Times

Go forth and blog about your books!


Meaghan Champion said...

Done. Thanks. That was fun. Confessing all those dirty nasty booky secrets! :)

The Atavist said...

Why, you nasty &%$*!!. OK, OK, I'll accept the challenge and post today or tomorrow. In the meantime, given that you have listed 'The Law' by Bastiat as one of your influences, here is something you can offer your readers: a no cost, no obligation e-book version of that masterpiece from my software company via our website at On the left side of the intro page, under Free Downloads, there it is. Click on it and enjoy!

Jay said...

Heh, good work folks!

Your Libraries Will Be Laid Bare Before Our Prying Eyes!

MapMaster said...

Thanks, you reluctant book bloggers. You're good sports. Speaking of baring your soul, I've always thought that a person's reading habits are one of the most informative means of finding out about people. But my 5,000 book soul is hardly laid bare! Nobody has any idea how much crap I read!

EclectEcon said...

This game is moving fast! Here's what I posted just a few days ago: