I usually try to exercise some restraint when it comes to the meme thing that happens around the blogosphere, but as I was tagged specifically by Rachel at Velveteen Rabbi, and since it’s about books (oh no, not that) I figured I’d play.

Number of books I own:

Uh. No idea. Before I left for J’lem, I had one of those massive Ikea bookcases, a few overstuffed smaller ones and this fantastic, quite substantial inset bookcase on one of the walls of my apartment. I just shipped back like 9 boxes of books from Jerusalem–not all full up, since they’d be too heavy to schlep (so there are sweaters and stuff on top of the books) but pretty substantially-sized, I’d say. I have a lot of Jewy books. A lot. I also have lots of books about other religions and/or religious theory in general (with titles like Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, ’cause I’m geek like that), lots of literature, some poetry, a lot of books on art (either bought or inherited), some general feminist stuff and assorted other nonfiction. Yeah, I dunno.

Fortunately one of my teachers is giving away a couple bookcases and he said he’d hold them for me ’till I got back to town at the end of the summer. I’m getting an air conditioner in the deal too, hey!

Last book I read:
Well, I was in finals and then I’ve been in sort of transition and stuff, not a lot of high-minded reading happening lately, which is to say I re-read the last two Harry Potters on the plane and therebouts. But recently I’ve gotten back into Rudolph Otto’s The Idea of the Holy lately. I’ve also read a lot of pieces of other books I’ve already read, most notably a chunk from Carol Lee Flinders’ At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst. Her feminism is very different from mine–much more essentialist–but I still find a lot of what she has to say to be smart. I also read the last issue of Bitch magazine, ’cause we always heart the Bitch girls.

Last purchased:

Just yesterday, The Trouble with Islam : A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith by Irshad Manji. The woman in the bookstore smiled when I came in and gave me a creepy look when I checked out. I still wonder if it was because of the kippah and tzitzit and whether she thought I was looking for anti-Muslim fodder or something. I’m probably being paranoid, but still. It’s hard not to feel like a Zionist Imperialist in this town.
I’ve just started the book and am enjoying it so far. I’m very interested to see how she’ll handle the material–that is to say, I’m partly interested to hear what she has to say, and partly interested from a writerly perspective how she chooses to make her critiques and how effective or not it appears to be. More to come when I’ve finished it.

Books that mean a lot to me:

I’m not going to include sifrei kodesh on here, because then it’ll just get crazy. So assume the Torah, the Talmud, my siddurim, halakhic law codes of many varieties, and so forth. Here are some more. There are a lot. This is just a small sample of what I could think of off the top of my head. (Keep checking back here and maybe the list will change):

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
Kaddish and Other Poems, Allen Ginsberg
Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton
The Divine Comedy, Dante
The Stranger, Albert Camus (This book is less live and relevant for me today, but it had a tremendous impact on me as a teenager, so it still means a lot to me.)
Expecting Adam, Martha Beck
Love Poems, Yehuda Amichai

Tag five more:

Well, I’m reluctant to do this, but I’m gonna anyway. If you’ve already done the meme or want to (whether or not you are tagged), please post the URL in the comments below. In the meantime, Alana, AKMA, Mobius, Micah, Harry, consider yourself tagged if you want to be. After all, I’m in California, where non-consensual tagging is very highly frowned upon.

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