Sunday, June 12, 2005

Got tagged with the "Book Meme"

Folks, I got "tagged" with the "book meme" from my recurrent reading of the Against the Grain blog, the musings of the guy who keeps the Ratzinger Fan Club and other sub-sites. Looks like there are some questions going around a la chain-mail, regarding one's reading habits. Ok, here are the questions, and my answers:

Total Number of Books I own: I estimate about 500+. There are not all in the same place, making orderly searches on specific questions quite a chore.

The last book I bought: Aw, chucks, quite an unfair question. It so happens that I visited Detroit last week. Detroit is the home for John K. King's Used and Rare Books, which bills itself as "Michigan's largest bookstore." It shows. They store hundreds of thousands of volumes very reasonably priced, so in my time off, I spent several hours browsing through its five stories of bookshelves. This is what I bought:
An Introduction to Moral Theology, by William E. May

The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin, by Henri de Lubac, S.J.

Teilhard de Chardin: the Man and the Meaning, also by de Lubac

The Undiscovered Self, by Carl G. Jüng

Modern Man in Search of a Soul, also by Jüng

The Eastern Churches and Catholic Unity, edited by Maximos IV Sayeg, Patriarch of Antioch and of all the East, and of Alexandria and Jerusalem.

Carlos de Foucauld: Las Etapas de Una Búsqueda (in Spanish), by Roger Quesnel.
The last book I read: The Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Episode III well-done novelization, by Matthew Woodring Stove. After I watched the movie, mind you...I am also in the process of reading Thomas Merton's sixth volume of his personal journals, entitled Learning to Love and also his New Seeds of Contemplation. Also on line to be read an older Star Trek novel, The IDIC Epidemic, by Jean Lorrah.

Five books that mean a lot to me: I would call these "books that changed me in profound ways." Here we go:
Unos Santos a tu Edad, a book about child-saints in Spanish that I read at an early age and to this day affects me deeply. Written by Dr. Luis Sanz Burata, priest.

Las Verdades de la Fe: Fundamentos del Dogma Católico - I read this book cover-to- cover when I was either 12 or 13. I can't recall its author. It taught me to think and read as a Catholic and triggered a great thirst for knowledge of the faith unquenched to this day. I also became a religious "square" after reading it, much to my schoolmates' consternation.

Catholic Pentecostals, by Kevin and Dorothy Ranagan. I read this in Spanish translation. Catholic what?? They pray in what? A year later I was one of them. Let me tell you, I would not be talking to you about these subjects if it hadn't been by that particular experience of the Holy Spirit, having touched me very early in life.

Muéstrame tu Rostro, by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga. My first book on contemplative prayer. Also by him, El Hermano de Asís, a biographical interpretation of St. Francis' contemplative side.

Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by Carl Jüng. Would you believe that I became a self-asserting, self-aware adult after I read this book? Look, I don't buy all its psycho-mysticism, but let me tell you, it provided me with powerful tools for introspection.

El Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano, by Carlos Alberto Montaner, Álvaro Vargas Llosa, and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza. These Latin-American writers opened to me a new universe of political discourse, and with a powerful critique of the Left-wing utopianism so prevalent south of the border. It also took the clothes off the Liberal emperors infecting Anglo-American universities and the mainstream media. This is a universal book. It is available in English translation.

The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Michael Novak. Finally! A book that tells me that free-enterprise and a liberal culture are not sinful in themselves.

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. Eye-opening, soul-chattering autobiography that challenged me to to become a more authentic Catholic and a more discerning writer. Also in the same vein, The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton, by Michael Mott, Merton's authorized biography, and also many things Thomas Merton.

Religions of the World, by John Hardon, S.J. So that's what everyone else believes? I found out when I was 14 or 15. It was also my first introduction to the Orthodox Church and Eastern Christian spirituality, as well as a fair and balanced look at Judaism, Islam, and everything else. Awesome book!

Witness to Hope: A Biography of Pope John Paul II. How can I become as holy as he was?
There are a few more, but these will have to suffice for now. I hope you find this list intriguing and revealing as to what makes yours truly tick. Now tag, you're it!