Monday, June 13, 2005



Okay, okay. This is the third one of these I've received, and I guess I feel guilty about not joining in. This one at least doesn't involve any topics I would consider offensive or potentially embarrassing. And it came from Blogotional, whose owner John has been very kind in links and referrals, so here goes.

Total number of books owned, ever: I come from a family of reading fanatics, my Great Grandfather was a serious book collector, my youth was a study in book immersion. My parents living room is three walls of book shelves, floor to ceiling, with at least two other rooms as library annexes, and probably that many more given to us kids (there were 5 of us). My parents have probably gotten close to 5,000, I would say 2000 of which I read (I don't really care for mysteries, so that knocked out 500, and they probably have bought as many in the years since I left home as many as they had had at that time.

I mention this because I now own perhaps 250 books (including the ones in boxes downstairs). I have probably purchased and lost, given away or sold another 750 for a total of 1000. Why so few? I haven't had much time to read, raising a family and working. My free time is spent with my wife and children, doing things, and in the evenings, we watch movies or TV, as hard as that is to admit.

I consider this a shortcoming, although my voracious reading as a child was perhaps overindulgent, and resulted in a very difficult time socializing. (It helped educate me and gave me an excellent vocabulary, but I think I'd have liked to be happier, too.) Mrs. Dadmanly and I have yet to fully "settle down," we may move again, we have avoided permanence, we rent. My desire now is to read that which edifies, that reflects truth. Fiction may yet find it's place in my priorities, but I look forward to classic non-fiction I've missed along the way: DeToqueville, the Federalist Papers, Rousseau, and perhaps some Stephen Ambrose, biographies, American History.

If I ever actually retire, I suspect I will again be drawn to Literature. But right now, a bike ride sounds like more fun.

Last book I bought: The Case For Democracy, by Natan Sharansky, purchased for me at my request so I think that counts. He does make an excellent case, although similar to his personal politics, the force of his arguments gets weaker the closer to Israel he gets. Still, an excellent read. I read it upon initial deployment (most of it on planes on the way to Kuwait). I very muich enjoyed the strong reverberations I noted in most of President Bush's major speeches since its publication. Anyone who wants to understand the moral premise behind current American Foreign Policy needs to read this book, if they have not.

Last book I read: (Finished?) The Great Experiment, Faith and Freedom in America by Os Guinness, part of the Trinity Forum from NAVPRESS. A wonderful primer on the bedrock foundational balance of faith and freedom in the establishment of the United States. There is so much precious and of great value in the American Lexicon, once know intimately by schoolchildren, that has fallen almost into complete obscurity. A very important walk back through our legacy.

(Started?) Carl Sandburg's Lincoln, The Prairie Years and The War Years in a combined set. Aside for a striking physical resemblance to my father, I admire Lincoln and his faith more than any other (non-ancient). Lincoln struggled against popular opinion, against evil long accepted, and suffered greatly as he watched his nation suffer greatly. We are in times as momentous and critical to our Nation as the days in which he made his mark. Which reminds me, I need to set aside a little time each day to finish my Lincoln.

Five books that mean a lot to me: The Bible, New King James, both Old and New Testaments. The primary document upon which I try to live my life. A great source of comfort, a trove of wisdom in a foolhardy age, the Word of God, for me more alive and meaningful than any other source. The breathtaking beauty of its English. The greatest book of English poetry ever scribed. Shakespeare comes in a close second.

Shakespeare, Macbeth. Or King Lear. Okay, or Midsummer Night's Dream (go figure). I am a fool for language. I love the power of the aply nestled word. I hear rhythm and feel motion. I understand beyond the idiom, and even when I miss the subtle word play, I can still sway to the melody of his verse. No true poet can dislike Shakespeare, other than out of envy. As a former practitioner of the Dramatic Arts, I may be prejudiced, but I would say profoundly discriminating.

Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath. The first book of moral power I read as a near adult. I will forever remember the images of the dustbowl, the characters of the Preacher, of Tom Joad and his Ma, of men so desperate and women so afraid as to tear their lives up in an instant, enduring prejudice and anger and violence and bigotry as they try to find roots where there are none. Injustice. Hunger. The violence of poverty. All too often forgotten amonst the luxuries taken for granted. Half the states of our Nation -- and many of our forebears -- were raised to adolescence through these agonizing trials. We too soon forgot, and laughed off the stories of our grandparents' deprivations.

Herman Melville, His short stories (really anything). Read the entire catalog of Melville, and you will have learned every conceivable complex sentence structure possible in the English Language. If Hemingway taught us brevity, Melville taught us depth. (Consider Old Man and The Sea versus Moby Dick.) From a practical standpoint, the more exposure one has to the immense variety of forms, the more tools you have from which to craft something unique, and with an interesting mix of rhythm and texture.

The Lord of the Rings. I must have read these 6 or 7 times. As other Christian fans of Tolkien, I note and appreciate the reflections of the story of good versus evil and Messianic vision that Tolkien created. That, and its just brilliantly rich fiction.

I need to tag 5 others. I apologize if any of these fine writers have been tagged previously. They should feel under no obligation whatever to respond. (I really don't care for these things myself, but it was a fun diversion. Thanks, John.)

Chester: If he can take time away from his Campaigns, he's a very fine War Correspondent.

Ella's Dad: Another fine Christian Blogger, check out his True Lies postings.

Mustang 23: if he can take a pause in the Jerky Wars long enough to talk some literature!

Toni at My View: A great supporter of the Military, a terrific blog.

Liberal Avenger: With apologies for not responding to his previous TAG!

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