Friday, November 11, 2005

Oldworthy, not newsworthy

Back in my Report magazine days, one of my editors used to point out that my news hooks were too old by saying that I could have written the opening of my story as "Earlier this decade..."

In that spirit, I am getting around to giving my own responses to that "book post" that bloggers were kicking around in the summer.

1. Total number of books that I have owned:

The last time that I counted, when I was in high school, I had about 1,200.

The last time that I moved, my mother said "I wish that I had never taught you how to read." :)

2. The most recent books that I have bought:

--The New Mystics by John Crowder.
--At The Tomb Of The Inflatable Pig by John Gimlette (if I can't get to Paraguay, I might as well read about it.)
--McPhersonism by Robert Shuler (The fourth edition of a book that was self-published in 1924. A cool find, as I had been looking for this critique of Sister Aimee for a long time. Only $12 US too :) )
--Four Days in November by the staff of the New York Times. (If I had bought the New York Times on the day after the JFK shooting, I would have needed a wagon to carry my paper around. I'm *still* not finished the stories published on November 23rd. :) )

3. The last book that I read:

I am about to finish How We Got Here:The 1970s by David Frum.
The last book that I completed was Cobb: A Autobiography by Al Stump.

I'm going to change question number four, because I can.

4. Books that I would like to have written myself:

I don't know why other writers didn't have this idea. Here are two that come to my mind:

Berlin Diary by William Shirer

When you think of Nazi Germany, you are tempted to think of the Nazis coming into power, flipping a switch to Nazify the population, and then starting the Second World War. It wasn't that way. Berlin Diary documents the slow process of the Nazis taking control. I also got a feeling of how difficult it was for Shirer to do his job, and be a good foreign correspondent in that situation.

The Faith Healers by James Randi

You may fairly ask why I like this book when I am a somewhat devout Christian who acts on his belief that prayer can help people to be healed (It would be fair to say that I am no longer a complete cessationist). That said, I can get righteously indignant when faith healers do not act with honesty and integrity. (As we are serving the Lord when we try to help people be healed, we must exhibit His character when we minister.)

The church should be taking out its own trash.

I liked the cloak-and-dagger exploits in this expose too, such as dressing a man up as a woman in a faith healing meeting, or catching Peter Popoff listening on a radio earphone to his wife who was helping him to fake words of knowledge.

Can you tell that I miss my old job? ;)