Total number of books I've owned: Funny that past tense in the question, "owned" -- if we go back through all the books I've ever owned, the number is probably an even bazillion. But I did a reasonable purge when I moved from Lafayette to Chicago, and another when I finally took all my adolescent books from the parents when they moved to Texas, and then... OK, lean close because this is a terrible secret, for a book person. When we did the horrible 2-days-notice move out of my old place, we were on such a tight schedule and were up until 6 am every night, and we were moving all of our stuff into storage and I... threw away books. In a dumpster. It was heartbreaking. Look away, I am hideous.
But enough survived the purge that I have about 40 of what U-Haul calls their "Small Box" full of books waiting for the bookshelves to be delivered, plus a full bookcase (the only one that survived the move) in my bedroom. Hopefully my books will fit on 77 square feet of bookshelves. I supposed they'll have to. So that's my answer -- 77 square feet. Plus another bookcase. Plus the six grocery bags of comics that Mark and Megan just gave me.
Maybe I should have just said "lots" and left it at that.
Last book I bought: Jumper by Steven Gould just arrived in the mail yesterday from a Half.com purchase, so I'll count that. I think it was a recommendation from John Scalzi, in fact. I tried to order it before, but the Half.com shipper (Half is basically a online consignment shop, if you aren't familiar) sent me the completely wrong book. So I ordered it again a couple weeks ago and forgot about it and then a couple days ago I was thinking I'd really like to read a pretty straight-forward science fiction story and then, ta-da, Jumper showed up in the mail. Done and done.
Last book I read: I leapt right into Jumper (sorry) and I'm a little ways into Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis -- about competitive Scrabble players. I'm on a little gaming-sub-culture kick, I think, because not too long ago I read both Positively Fifth Street (James McManus) and The Biggest Game in Town (A. Alvarez) -- both about poker players -- and Bringing Down the House (Ben Mezrich) about MIT students turned Blackjack sharks. I'm also, sadly and ironically, stuck halfway through Getting Things Done (David Allen). Sigh.
Last book I finished: So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield. It's a young adult novel about "cool hunting" and it was odd because I had just read Pattern Recognition (William Gibson) that deals with the same subject, but in a rather more complicated way. Nothing against So Yesterday, it was just an odd contrast.
Five books that mean a lot to me: Grrr... and here's the meat of the matter -- meaning and not just facts. I'm always kinda stuck on what "mean a lot" means -- mean a lot to me lately, or influenced me early, or what? Also, I have a terrible memory.
- Father Brown Omnibus, G.K. Chesterton -- I remember spending my own money to get the Penguin Omnibus edition of all the Father Brown mystery stories.
- The World of Pooh, A. A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard -- My aunt gave me these books and read them to me.
- Sailing Alone Around the Room, Billy Collins -- Poetry can be fun!
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll -- The start of my life's love of absurdism.
- The Stainless Steel Rat, Harry Harrison -- Stories can be fun, but actually serious!
Update: I forgot to Pass the Baton. Geh. I'm not going to try and force my friends to fill out forms -- I'm sure they do enough of that at work. If you do one of these after reading this, please leave a comment.