Derek tagged me with this one (although he tagged an inordinate number of people, meaning that there are only a few that I could tag myself). (And he used people's full names when he tagged them. He has a habit of doing that. Welcome to the blogosphere, Derek.) My mind is not much taken with thesis things right now, and so you get more reflective-girly-emotional Queen of WP answers right now.
Last book I bought: it's a tie between Berlin in Lights by Count Harry Kessler (an important primary source for $7!), The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, all from the Regent College Bookstore. Don't ask me how Kessler wound up at the bookstore of a Christian grad school.
Last book I read: Do you mean the last book I finished? Because that's rough. I have a bad habit, lately, of picking up books and then not finishing them. I guess it would either be Deborah Smail's White-collar Workers, Mass Culture and Neue Sachlichkeit in Weimar Berlin, or 10 Great Dates Before You Say "I Do" by David and Claudia Arp and Curt and Natelle Brown. No, wait! It was Beware the Fish by Gordon Korman, when I rode the bus out to Swift Current. That was the last book I read from start to finish.
Book I am reading now: That is Anne's House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery; I've been reading it constantly, and I'm almost done. Books I'm also "currently reading," meaning that I started (re-) reading them in the past month or so: Christy by Catherine Marshall, The Colors of His Love by Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli and Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. There are a bunch more, but I don't want to bother looking. Anne is really good for me right now, because the book is helping my brain to relax, and relates quite a bit to my current situation. As well, it is an old favourite, and so it's like visiting a best friend.
Next book I plan to read: That's a tricky one. I packed The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, to read if I finished Anne while I was still travelling, but now I'm thinking that maybe Bonhoeffer would be good. Or maybe I'll balance a light and a heavy book, but I'm leaning more toward Anne of Ingleside, to follow from House of Dreams. Can you tell that my brain needs a break? I'm being steadily drawn toward children's books.
Five books that mean a lot to me:
1. The Bible, of course. And I really mean that; reading the Bible steadies me and gives me a foundation to stand on. (Preferred translation varies: I have two New King James Version bibles, and they combine familiarity with clarity. But I like the New International Version for study. If I'm going with a paraphrase, I lean more toward J. B. Phillip's The New Testament in Modern English, much more so than Eugene Peterson's The Message. I'm glad that Peterson has helped a lot of people get into the Bible, but his cute simplifications, slogans and attempts at slang -- keep on trucking? -- are really distracting for me.)
2. Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall. I grow every time I read this book.
3. Summer Gone by David McFarlane. Somehow, this book is summer for me. I have a defined emotional response to it.
4. Detlev Peukert's The Weimar Republic: The Crisis of Classical Modernity. Peukert shaped my understanding of my entire field.
5. (tie) a. This fifth spot is difficult, and I'm going to give it to the Emily trilogy by L. M. Montgomery. The Blue Castle is a far better book, but this trilogy shaped my early expecations of the life of the writer, and I find myself comparing my life to it constantly. "Oh, of course we couldn't work out, because he was my Dean Priest." As a teenager, I imitated Emily by keeping a journal, and by my (overly-flowery) style of writing. While I am learning that life is not always as Montgomery defined it, those paradigms are still present in my mind, and there's still a part of me who wants to be Emily.
b. Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott (by this I mean what has traditionally been known as Litttle Women, which is actually the aforementioned book and Good Wives). While I was attempting to be Emily, I felt like Jo (but sometimes feared I was Beth). When I felt frustrated, as if somehow I couldn't be like everyone else and have a normal life, I took heart in realising that maybe there was an equivalent of New York, Prof. Baehr and the school at Plumfield for me. I think the most recent movie deepened my identification with the characters. When I felt frustrated with life, I would cry during Jo's rant about knowing that there was something else in life for her, but not being able to figure it out. But sometimes I was Beth, and everyone else was moving on in life, but here I was, always in the same place in Regina. Ky and I cycle back and forth being Jo and Beth. (Unfortunately, being Beth was accompanied by the fear that we'd die young.)
Now I'm tagging: Christopher, justanothergirl, Janny, Jennnifer and JCQ. That should spread things a fair distance.