Friday, June 03, 2005

The Bookshelf Tag Shenanigan

Visiting some of my fellow Red Ensign brigadiers, I realized that an insidious game has popped up. And sure enough, despite my best efforts to keep my head ducked, The Bookshelf Tag Game has reached The Phantom Observer, courtesy of Shannon Davis.

The game -- a version of the "chain letter" gambit -- involves bloggers answering the following questions:

1. How many books do you own?
2. What was the last book you bought?
3. What was the last book you read?
4. Which 5 books mean a lot to you?
5. Can you tag 5 more victims--er, interested bloggers?

Well, here goes:

1. I'd have to say roughly, about 400. Most of these are paperbacks, stored in 5 full-length shelving units around my house. That's not counting the 50 or so that I've actually weeded, in a planned donation to the library.

2. Technically speaking, that would be vol. 15 of Rurouni Kenshin, the graphic novel series by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Skilful blend of dynamic art, action and humour.
Oh, prose book? Well, does How to Draw Manga: Basic Computones Vol. 1 count? (Since I draw on the computer, I'm training myself on black & white shading.)
Okay, then, I'd have to say Simon Singh's The Code Book. A fascinating read on the history of cryptography.

3. See above; I tend to read books almost as soon as I buy them. I read Singh's work over two pints of beer and a crab dip at Alexander's Lower Deck.
Oh, and for books I've just re-read -- well, I'm a sucker for the classics. And Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever is definitely a classic--his success at evoking the jet-set atmosphere of the early 1960's is almost without parallel.

4. Well, given my artistic ambitions, two of my picks are trade-related. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud is a must-read for anyone interested in going into the comics business, while The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams (who directed the animation in Who Framed Roger Rabbit) occupies the same spot for animators. (Some might argue for The Illusion of Life, which is certainly readable but also weighs a ton after a while.)
I've read a lot of books on history -- To Rule the Waves by Arthur Herman is a great book on the history of the British Navy -- but for non-fiction in general, really there's one that I like due to its emphasis on style: The Way You Wear Your Hat by Bill Zehme. The Frank Sinatra Style, with its emphasis on confidence, cockiness and cool, is definitely one worth hanging on to for styleless geeks like me.
As for prose fiction, you can't go wrong with either Tolkien or Ian Fleming, or P.G. Wodehouse, or the early Tom Clancy.

5. Who should I tag? Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha:

Steve Janke, aka Angry in the Great White North
Blair Hansen at Italics Mine
Ray at Raging Kraut
Paul Denton at Ravishing Light

All yours, folks ...