1) Total Number Of Books I Own: Well the To Be Read Sometime In My Lifetime But Probably Never Going To Happen Pile is at 884. I actually keep very few books once I read them, and I'm estimating here, but I'd put the grand total somewhere in the ballpark of 920.
2) Last Book I Bought: I picked up Rafferty's Bride by Mary Burton at the used bookstore a couple of weeks ago. A western Harlequin Historical (big shock) from several years ago. I've really gotten a lot better about my book buying.
3) Last Book I Read: The totally awesome Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. Buy it on September 4.
4) Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me: Here it goes...
- Bears In The Night by Jan and Stan Berenstain - The first book I ever remember reading all by myself. "Up spook hill...."
- The Nancy Drew Files series by various ghostwriters - Totally hooked me on reading in my early teens. Before that I had a some reading comprehension issues and I had a difficult time just reading, let alone finding something I liked. A year in "special ed" and they straightened me right out. A browsing trip to the local library started my serious love of mystery fiction and thank god for Nancy - especially for a girl who loathed Sweet Valley High.
- Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck - The first book that openly made me weep. I'm talking big, sobbing, choking tears. A neat trick since I finished it while sitting in the high school history class where the only thing I learned was that I could finish my chemistry homework for next period while sitting in the back row. For my money Steinbeck is the Great American Writer. Oh sure, people always say Hemingway - but I'm sorry Ernie, war has never been, nor will it ever be, romantic. Steinbeck was often dismissed as a hack because his work was so accessible (still is) and he wrote about the common man. Frankly, that's where his genius lies, and anybody who tries to convince you otherwise is just plain wrong. You can tell them I said so.
- Cooking Up A Storm by Emma Holly - This book was a revelation to me. Straight-up erotica written from a woman's perspective and marketed towards women. The heroine is allowed to be open and honest in her sexuality, bedding several lovers. No apologies, no guilt. The heroine was sexy and enjoyed sex and was The Heroine. Not the villainess. Can I get an amen? It flipped my erotica-as-feminism switch in a hardcore way.
- Breathless by Laura Lee Guhrke - The librarian heroine I've been waiting for my whole life. She's allowed to be feisty, abrasive and vulnerable. I loved how she held her ground, gave it to the hero with both barrels, but wasn't such a hard ass that her feelings never got hurt. For me this is the quintessential romance novel. The very best the genre has to offer. But admittedly it might be the whole awesome librarian heroine thing....