Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tagged to talk about books

My friend Mark Leslie tagged me in his blog to talk about books, so here goes:

Total number of books I've owned:

A trickier question than it might seem. I've divested myself of a lot of books over the years, and besides all the ones in my bookcases I still have many hundreds in unopened boxes from when I last moved, five years ago. But the number 2,000 sounds about right to me ...

The last book I bought:

A trade paperback of Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, to replace my old mass-market paperback that's in one of the boxes mentioned above; I needed the book as a prop for my appearance on TVOntario's More 2 Life discussed below. (Incidentally, I also watched the 1976 Helter Skelter miniseries for the third time this week; much of the acting in it is astonishingly good -- way better than typical Seventies television -- and it has Alan Oppenheimer in it, whom I'll watch in anything.)

The last book I read:

Believe it or not, The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke, which I had never read before. Delightful. It was Clarke's first full-length novel, and it was fascinating to see the seeds for things he did later in it: the plots of 2010 and A Fall of Moondust are both presaged here.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

Oooh! Let me do six:

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee -- my favorite novel.
  • Trouble on Titan by Alan E. Nourse -- the first adult science-fiction novel I ever read, and the one that (in a positive way) made me decide I wanted to be a science-fiction writer.
  • The Man of Property by John Gallsworthy -- first volume of "The Forsyte Saga," which I absolutely adore.
  • Gateway by Frederik Pohl -- for my money, the best science-fiction novel ever written.
  • The Enormous Egg by Oliver P. Butterworth -- a kid's book that I can still read with pure joy as an adult; it's the totally charming story of a young boy whose hen lays an egg out of which hatches a Triceratops ...
  • The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborn, Jr. -- I read this in my last year of high school, and it made my change my career path: I decided to pursue writing instead of academia because of it.

The books in my collection where the physical object means a lot to me:

  • An ancient, beat-up paperback of From Outer Space, a variant title for Hal Clement's Needle, signed by Hal the first time I met him; Hal and I went on to become friends, and I miss him a lot.
  • A copy of Dune, inscribed to me by one of my high-school girlfriends, 'cause what she wrote was so sweet ... (and, just to underscore how long ago high school was, I had her adult son as one of my writing students at the University of Toronto last summer ...).


At January 24, 2006 10:58 PM , Blogger Mark Leslie said...

I just knew your list and comments would be very interesting. Thanks for playing along with the tag, Rob, and thanks for sharing insights into your library.

At January 25, 2006 12:23 AM , Blogger Chris Nolan.ca said...

Rob, you missed part of the blogosphere exercise, and that is tagging others to continue the conversation...

At January 25, 2006 1:48 AM , Blogger christine said...

ever read the series by philip pullman? those sci-fiction books are the best (3 in the series)... sorta like a harry potter type, but much more descriptive and incredible.
just thought i'd ask.

Pullman is an underrated author :))

At January 25, 2006 4:47 AM , Blogger Trish said...

To Kill a Mockingbird -- just amazing. I know a lot of people appreciate that book, but any time I hear someone say it's a favorite of theirs, I can't help but think they must be really good people. Scientific? Hardly. Accurate? So far. Congratulations, Robert, on being 'good people.'


At January 25, 2006 8:30 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Well, Chris, in that case, you're it! :)

At January 25, 2006 8:31 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Christine. Thank you! Lots of people have urged me to read the Pullman books. They're on my to-be-read list ...

At January 25, 2006 8:35 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Trish. Thank you! In fact, this makes me think it's really time for me to go back and read To Kill A Mockingbird again ... :)

At January 26, 2006 1:47 AM , Blogger JACM - Juan Antonio Cisneros Mtz. said...

Hi Robert. I just found your blog, today I finished the three books (In Spanish Hominidos, Humanos e Hibridos), by the way so hard to find the 3rd one (Thanks AMAZON), Just to let you know that my Wife, my oldest son and I enjoyed a lot your books (that's the reason I needed in Spanish, so I can share).

Now I can't wait to get more Sawyer's books. I'm an Asimov Fan, and I can tell I'm a new Sawyer Fan. Thanks a lot for your books

Juan Antonio Cisneros M.
Aguascalientes, Ags. Mexico

At January 26, 2006 1:50 AM , Blogger JACM - Juan Antonio Cisneros Mtz. said...


I've just finished the three books (hominidos, Humanos e Hibridos in Spanish), so hard to find the 3rd one, only in AMAZON.

My Wife, my oldest kind and me enjoyed your books for hours (that's the reason I got them in Spanish so I can share with the family).

I'm an Asimov fan, and from now on I'll be a Sawyer's FAN.

Thanks a Lot

Juan A Cisneros

At January 26, 2006 8:31 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hello, Juan. THANK YOU! I'm glad you've been enjoying the Neanderthal books in Spanish! A number of my other titles are also avaialbe in Spanish from Ediciones B.

At January 27, 2006 3:46 AM , Anonymous SeaBreeze said...

Translate into Russian:-)

At January 27, 2006 10:57 AM , Blogger hucpuc said...

Hi, RJS! I'm a fan of your Neanderthal Parallax series and just found your blog. I recently heard about a software program (Readerware) that creates an electronic library catalog of your books when you scan the bar codes. A must-have for readers and writers everywhere! Just a comment/suggestion based on your post about books.


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