I've been book-tagged.
Fabian aka The Swanker
did it to me and Far Outliers
did it to him having been tagged by ...
You see how it goes so I'd better do my bit in case seven years' bad luck follows.
1. Total number of books I've owned
Very hard to answer. A thousand or two I'd guess, from the Eagle Annuals of my childhood to the second-hand books I keep an eye out for here. Somewhere in the attic of my last abode in London are five tea chests full of reading material. I'll never see them again.
At various times I've owned complete sets of thrillers by Gerald Seymour, Len Deighton and Robert Ludlum. Now I've got, and will keep, all the John Le Carré, Anthony Price, Graham Greene and Ian, or Iain, Banks and Paul Theroux I can find. I'll buy anything I find in the Picador and Abacus imprints as they always seem worth rereading.
Mostly though, I'll borrow from fellow expats; I'll read anything. I've got to have a book 'on the go'.
2. The last book I bought
Foreign Fields Forever
by Dave Jardine, a long-term expat friend with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Indonesian and Carlisle United. This slim volume recounts an episode of modern military history few are aware of, the use of British troops, and Indian Ghurkhas, to support the Dutch attempt to recolonise Indonesia following the defeat of the Japanese in 1945. 715 British soldiers died in that episode, most wishing that they had already been demobbed. After all, World War II was over, wasn't it?
3. The last book I read
Knots and Crosses
by Ian Rankin
. The first published, but last read, of the Detective Sergeant John Rebus crime thrillers. A classic genre.
4. Five books that have meant a lot to me
a. Blue Highways
by William Least Heat Moon
My copy has been round the world. I found it in Leh, Ladakh, and as I kept my own travel diary whilst circumnavigating the world, I found so many resonances that it was one of the very few books that I brought with me to Indonesia.
"I learned to travel, then travelled to learn."
b. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl
As I wrote just this last Sunday, who hasn't been delighted as a story-telling parent or sleep-avoiding child by this book?
by David Mitchell
An apocalyptic Japanese cult member is connected to a jazz buff and a burnt-out Hong Kong lawyer, and a woman on a mountain talks to a tree which talks back, and there's a Mongolian gangster, a New York DJ and a 'zookeeper' and a ghostwriter and ... it takes place "at the fugitive edges of Asia and Europe" and ... it all hangs together. Totally unique.
d. The Long Firm
by Jake Arnott
Set in London in the time of the Kray twins, the early sixties, this was an era which just passed me by. Also, their gangster domain was the East End (of London) and I'm from another patch, the south-east. So this read captured part of the mythology of my youth.
by Peter Ackroyd
Another London book; this one spans the post Great Fire era when Christopher Wren was rebuilding London but is linked to the present by a serial killer.
These were plucked almost at random from my shelves. The one link in this list is that they all have parallel universes. A bit like Jakartass.
doesn't like chain emails either but I'm only passing this on to Diamond Geezer
because I really would like to see his selection and to Indcoup
so that he can blog about something other than you-know-who.)