Book tag

I’ve been “tagged” in book tag by The Eclectic Econoclast. I thought this was kind of timely since I’ve been working on a little project to catalog my book collection using this software in lieu of the PDA software I tried previously. Only one book done so far. I’m putting most of the response after the cut, because it is long. I’m also a bit link happy in the post, for which I apologize, but I thought if anyone wasn’t familiar with any of the works or authors they might want to read more.

Update: Dave Friedman responded to my tag. And Kevin Whited’s response is in comments.

1.a. How many books have I owned? It’s certainly in the thousands. I know that at one point I lost over 500 books in a storage building fire. I’ve also given away books, loaned out books that never returned, lost books, left books in apartments and houses when I didn’t have space to pack them, traded and on rare occasion sold them at the used bookstore and set books free. The total has to be over 2,500 books.

b. How many books do I own? Again, I’m not sure of the number but there are over 500 books in the house. On they show me owning 329 books, which means that I either purchased them there or when they recommended them I marked them as “I already own this”. So, at least 329 and probably twice that.

2. The last book I bought. I buy them several at a time, so I don’t know if I should get technical with which one I got off the shelf last or just list them. I got an shipment in on Monday with several books then paid a visit to The Book Barn by Vintage Stock on Tuesday. I picked up a hardcover copy of Lasher by Anne Rice. I already had a paperback, but the hardcover was $4.00 and had a different cover. I also bought
Power Plays #8: Wild Card (series by Tom Clancy, book by Jerome Preisler) and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (written by David Michaels).

3. The last book I read. This was a reread. <a href=”″ title=The Last Juror”>The Last Juror by John Grisham. Set in Ford County, Mississippi in the 1970s, the plot is built loosely around a rape and murder trial and its effect on the jurors, the 20-something owner of the local newspaper (the narrator of the novel) and the rest of the town. It’s got all the best and worst of the Deep South in the 70s – lingering segregation, heat, sweet iced tea, corruption, voter backlashes and voter apathy, meaningless criminal sentences, lax parole standards, drugs replacing moonshine.

5. Five Books that have Meant the Most to Me.

  1. F. A. Hayek The Road to Serfdom. I’m fairly sure this was not the first book on economics that I read voluntarily or even the first Austrian or neoclassical econ book. But, from the title it put the real issue front and center. The real issue is not that state intervention may create some minor short run inefficiency. It’s that the sum of those inefficiencies results in calls for more state intervention which result in more unintended consequences until we wake up one day to realize that government controls everything. The economics is important, because if state intervention were efficient it wouldn’t snowball into more intervention, but the core of the book is the normative understanding that the intangible freedom is a good in its own right.
  2. <li>Ayn Rand's <a href="" title="Anthem by Ayn Rand">Anthem</a>.  Rand definitely takes her place as one of the authors that has most influenced me and in my opinion her two best works were not <a href="<a href="" title="Ayn Rand The Fountainhead">The Fountainhead</a>">The Fountainhead and <a href="" title="Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged">Atlas Shrugged</a>, which lapsed into the Russian tendency to philosophize instead of letting the story explain itself and the philosophy. Her two best works were Anthem and <a href="" title="Ayn Rand We the Living">We the Living</a>. <a href="" title="Anthem by Ayn Rand">Anthem</a> does an incredible job of showing what it means for the state to control the creative, productive process in a way that even committed socialists have a hard time not responding to. The heroes of <a href="<a href="" title="Ayn Rand The Fountainhead">The Fountainhead</a>">The Fountainhead and <a href="" title="Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged">Atlas Shrugged</a> can be brushed off by the committed liberal as "capitalists"; the hero of <a href="" title="Anthem by Ayn Rand">Anthem</a> is just one Man working alone in a cave to rediscover lost science and in the process discovering his own individuality.  </li>
    <li> <a href="" title="Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas">Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream</a>.  I had to include something from the works of P.J. O'Rourke and Hunter S. Thompson whose ability to merge humor, paranoia, understanding and energy I admire and have tried, with much less success than I would like, to emulate on occasion.  I picked this one for several reasons, not the least of which is that <a href="">Thompson</a> (or his ashes anyway) is poised for his final Savage Journey on August 20, when his remains will be shot from a 150 foot cannon. Second, this was the first of the gonzo works I read. At 17, this twisted and bizarre blend was perfect and the road trip theme, of course, fit perfectly with my college years. Third, it's instantly recognized as both the original and in many ways the best example of the gonzo style.</li>
    <li><a href="" title="The Triumph of Politics">The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed</a> by David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's first budget director.  I read this when I was 16 or 17. At the time I recognized that the feeling in America had changed, that the election of Ronald Reagan had brought something good.  When I read this book, I realized how much more it could have brought.  And one message I still carry from this book almost 20 years later is that the deficits of the 80s were due not to tax cuts, but to a failure to enact the other half of the Reagan agenda - cutting or even restraining the growth of the federal government.  It was a few more years before I really understood that even keeping the government the same size would have been enough since revenues doubled under Reagan, but this book set me down the right road.</li>
    <li><a href="" title="The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein">Number of the Beast</a>  by Robert Heinlein.  This one was kind of like Ayn Rand.  Heinlein is undoubtedly one of my biggest influences, I couldn't leave out the science fiction genre entirely since it is absolutely my favorite, but finding a specific book was tough.  I picked this one because it is humorous, the plot takes unexpected turns and it manages to be opinionated and open minded at the same time, which is a neat trick. This was also one of the first Heinlein novels I read and if it hadn't been so good, I wouldn't have gone on to S<a href="" title="Stranger in a Strange Land">Stranger in a Strange Land</a> and I'd be culturally illiterate.</li>

5. Tag 5 People.

  1. John Hutchison of Arkanssouri blog to get him out of the “What type of cheese are you?” rut.
  2. Dave Friedman of The Soul of Wit to see if anything by David Friedman the anarchocapitalist or Milton Friedman the monetarist turns up on his list.
  3. Kevin Whited of because I want to see something by Leo Strauss in somebody’s answers.
  4. Paul Tietjens of Doctrinity: Libertarian Speculative Fiction because I didn’t have room for L. Neil Smith in my top 5.
  5. Ferdie and Bruce at Conservative Cat because I have a kitten and I need insight into cats.
  6. Anyone not interested in wasting their own blog space can leave their answers in a comment or send an email.