At John’s request, I’ll play along with the book meme that’s floating around.

Total number of books I’ve owned: I have no way of accurately estimating how many books I’ve owned. Right now we may have 300 books in the apartment, but we are pretty zealous about getting rid of anything we’re not sure we’ll read again in the future. No hoarding.

Last book I bought: PHP 5 Objects, Patterns, and Practice by Matt Zandstra. Someone recommended it when I asked them about PHP books. Prior to that, Weber’s Real Grilling, by Jamie Purviance and Tim Turner. This was an impulse purchase, which I can now say is the best book on grilling ever, mainly because it confirms everything I already believed about how to grill a steak.

Last book I read: I’m in the middle of Hibernate in Action, by Christian Bauer and Gavin King. Great book if you use Hibernate. Frankly, I really regret that I’ve been reading so many computer books lately.

Last book I finished: Head First Design Patterns, by Elisabeth Freeman, Eric Freeman, Bert Bates, and Kathy Sierra. As mentioned previously, I really liked this book. I prefer a good novel or interesting nonfiction book anytime.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

  • Manufacturing Consent, by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman. I’m not sure of the degree to which I’d agree with this book today, but at the time I found it very powerful, in an “everything you know is wrong” sense. I doubt most people who slam this book or Chomsky’s thinking have even read it.
  • Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut. I read this book at one of the lowest points in my life. Reading about a world in which humans had, after destroying the civilization that they had known, devolved into slightly sentient marine mammals was just the tonic I needed. It was the first Vonnegut book I had ever read, and I read it because my roommate had purchased it as required reading for a class at one time. A combination of being broke and lazy had led me to just read whatever happened to be laying around the house.
  • The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander. Probably the first fantasy book I read as a kid. (Either that or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis.) I still remember the Chronicles of Pyrdain fondly.
  • Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse. I can think. I can wait. I can do without.
  • Teach Yourself Netscape 4 Web Publishing in a Week. I wouldn’t recommend anyone actually buy this book, but it was the first one with my name on the cover (I revised an old edition of someone else’s book).

Five people I’d like to see to do this as well: Stan, Scott, Fred, Andrew, and Eliot.

Update: I’ll add two more people to the list above, Jessamyn (who already reviews the books she reads) and Rebecca.