Someguy hits me in St. Blog's fastest growing game.
OK--here are my responses:
1. Total number of books I've owned.
Using the community property rule, I'd say in the neighborhood of 3,500, very few of which I/we have ever gotten rid of. Of those, I'd say about 2,500-2,750 were acquired by me.
2. Last book I bought.
The Teaching of the Catholic Church, one volume edition. Edited by Canon George Smith, it's a series of essays written in the 1940s about the creedal and sacramental features of Catholicism by some of the great minds of the era: C.C. Martindale, Abbot Vonier, Archbishop Goodier, Fr. Hugh Pope, etc. If you can get it (and it's not that hard to find, at least in the 2 volume version), buy it. I found mine for five bucks. I'm surprised it's never been reprinted.
3. Last book I read.
If that means "cover to cover," then it would be Dies The Fire.
If not, then it would be The Theology of St. Paul by Fernand Prat, Paul the Apostle by Giuseppe Ricciotti, The Paul Quest by Ben Witherington, III and Conquistador, by S.M. Stirling.
Why yes, our parish bible study is about to embark on the study of Romans.
The last one I've been snippet reading for the snappy patter and descriptions of the alternate world.
4. Five books that mean a lot to me.
The Bible and the Catechism are given answers, so I'm going to tinker with the question slightly and say the "five books in addition to..."
1. On Being Catholic, by Thomas Howard. Meditative, and as with all things Howard, mandatory reading. I stumbled across it early during my conversion process, and was moved by the insight and irenicism of the work. It is destined to endure, and deserves a very wide audience.
2. The Lord of the Rings. I discovered it around eighth grade, and have been hooked ever since. Any further commentary would be superfluous.
3. A Canticle for Leibowitz. It is a work that gets more relevant every year. It continues to haunt the imagination long after it has returned, however briefly, to the shelf.
4. The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus, by Jean-Denis Bredin. If you are unfamiliar with the case of Captain Alfred Dreyfus and his prosecution for treason in fin de siecle France, buy this book and start reading. One of the great legal injustices of all time, Dreyfus was convicted and sentenced to Devil's Island despite the fact the French Army soon learned who the real traitor and spy was. But unlike Dreyfus, since the real traitor wasn't a Jew, they protected the spy instead.
Astonishing in its import, it also provides a fascinating snapshot of a France literally convulsed and torn in two as families picked sides, either Dreyfusard or anti-Dreyfusard. Filled with heroes and villains aplenty, the figure that stands out for me (after the unimpeachably loyal and decent Dreyfus himself) is Col. Georges Picquart, a French intelligence officer who, despite his general dislike of Jews, fought ferociously on behalf of Dreyfus and eventually--I mean years later--helped win the latter's complete exoneration. An astonishing story, rendered with fine journalistic clarity by Bredin. Bredin also appears to have been blessed with a fine translator, as the book reads quite well. It will stick with you forever.
5. Rudyard Kipling: Complete Verse. Anyone who could write Tommy deserves to be on your bookshelf in complete form. Even the less-well-known material rewards.
5. People who I'll infect with this meme.
I'm not sure who has been tagged, but I'll throw it to Zach, Greg and Chris, for starters.