Friday, June 10, 2005

From Aaron's blog, The Violent Munkee, a bibliophile's Meme:

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned:

Seriously, I DON'T KNOW. Probably close to 1,000. Couldn't tell you, though.

2. Last Book I Bought:

O Death, Where is Thy Sting? by Fr. Alexander Schmemman. A good read, especially for those who want a good, hard look at how death is to be despised to the last breath, not "accepted" nor something to which we should be "resigned" or "reconciled."

3. Last Book I Read:

All the way through? A couple: re-read Hitchhiker's Guide in preparation for the movie (which, if you've seen it, you know that that really didn't matter all that much, as they took bits from several of the books and put 'em in there. Also read Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South, an alternative fiction about the Confederates winning the Civil War.

4. Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:

1. The Apostolic Fathers. They were the guides who led me out of Evangelical Protestantism and into deeper questions about what it meant to be "in Christ." These men are called "apostolic" because they sat at the feet of and received their extensive training as bishops and/or apologists for the Faith from the writers of the New Testament themselves. They painted a picture of the original Church that was very different from my Baptist upbringing, so I began to ask questions about just how accurate my view, derived only from Scripture, was, and if it needed to change. I owe these guys a lot for getting me started on the road to Holy Orthodoxy.

2 and 3. For the same reasons: The Orthodox Way by Bp. KALLISTOS Ware and For the Life of the World by Fr. Schmemman. Were the two books that really made me sit up and take notice of the different "spiritual flavor" that Orthodoxy offered. Knew I had to take the claims of this Church seriously after reading them.

4. "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett. I wrote my Sr. Thesis on this, along with his other play, "Endgame." A classic tale of two tramps waiting for what the audience knows will never come, it's been interpreted as a satire of religious souls waiting for God (which I deem as a superficial shot at the title and an unfair reading of the play) as well as of materialist souls waiting for meaning in an ultimately meaningless world (which I see as more plausible). In any case, Beckett paints his own picture of nihilism, giving those of us who do not share his worldview a richly artistic picture of what life is like when meaning eludes seekers who search both the spiritual and the material realms.

5. The poetry of Pablo Neruda, specifically Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Canción Desesperada. Not only can this man write stuff that can make women SWOON (though only when understood in the original Spanish, in my experience), this guy was the first author I really read -- and by that I mean read for enjoyment -- in another language. It was a welcome break from García-Márquez, Lorca and Borges (though Borges was occasionally cool). His poetry is amazingly heartfelt and connected to the most primal and urgent feelings of most anyone who's ever been REALLY in love or REALLY hacked off. Just beautiful.

5. People I Will Infect With This Meme:

Alan, Nathan, David, Ronda, The Rambler, Paige, Ari, Owen, Joshua, and Kevin Basil.


Ronda said...

Total number of books I have owned: Thats a hard one. I do know in the last 6 months I have bought alot of books. I'm not sure, alot I guess.

Last book I bought: 'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy. I haven't read it yet, but I will, I think it will have to be post Harry Potter though.

Last book I read: 'Napoleon's Buttons: the 17 Molecules that Changed History' by Penny Le Couteur... well I'm almost finished at least.

What 5 books mean alot to you: I can't say many books really mean something to me. There are those I learn from and those I enjoy and few that accomplishes both. As far as those that instill some sort of meaning I would have to say those by Fredrica Matthews-Green, after all the aided in my conversion. As well as, and I know this sounds horrible to put these two catagories of books on the same level, but they are there for very different reasons... the Harry Potter books, and it's not so much the books the mean anything, but the friends I have made through being such a fan have meant alot.

Paige said...

I posted mine on my blog.

owen white said...


David said...

1. Total number of books I have owned: No idea. I'm a young guy, so I'm going to say far up in the double digits, less than a hundred.

2. Last book I bought: Why buy books when you can read them online?

3. Last book I read: I think it was The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. (I tend to read in bits and pieces rather than all the way through books.)

4. What 5 books mean a lot to you?
I love On the Incarnation of the Word of God by St. Athanasius. It is simply beautiful. Then there's The Complete Works of Robert Frost, The Philokalia has helped me a lot, G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, and this really nifty book on reasoning called The Art of Making Sense, by Lionel Ruby.

Aaron said...

Dude...great books!

Although i haven't read him in spanish...i've really enjoyed Neruda in English! Beautiful writing!

Thanks for posting this.

olympiada said...

Could you please quote a paragraph from O Death Where is Thy Sting? That title really resonates with me and I want to hear more.

David Bryan said...

Sure. Though it's more than a paragraph...

From Chapter 2: "The Last Enemy"

"'The last enemy to be destroyed is death' (1 Cor. 15:26)...but what does Christianity say to us about death? Even if we know nothing about Christianity, we cannot help but recall that its attitude toward death is radically different...death is an enemy that must be destroyed. We find ourselves so removed from Plato and his efforts to force us not only to become used to the idea of death but actually to love this thought and to transform our whole life into an 'exercise about death.'

"Christ weeps at the grave of his dead frind Lazarus--what a powerful witness! He does not say, 'Well, now he is in heaven, everything is well; he is separated from this difficult and tormented life.' Christ does not say all those things we do in our pathetic and uncomforting attempts to console. In fact he says nothing--he weeps. And then, according to the Gospels, he raises his friend, that is, he restores him into that life from which we are supposedly to find liberation toward a higher good.

"Furthermore, is it not a fact that Easter stands at the center of Christianity, with its joyful proclamation that death has been overthrown? 'Trampling down death by death!' Did not Christainity enter into and rule the world during many centuries with this unheard-of proclamation: 'death is conquered in victory'? Is not Christianity first of all faith in the resurrection of Christ from the dead, in the assertion that 'the dead shall arise and those in the graves shall rejoice'?"

Dawn said...

I'm glad Aaron did this, this has been neat to read other peoples answers.