1. The first book I can remember reading is The Cat in the Hat Dictionary, in French. To this day the way I can remember the difference between an alligator and a crocodile is the definition from that book, "Alligator: Un crocodile d'Amerique."
2. The first novel I can remember reading was some paranormal romance subtitled "A Ghostly Love Story" (though oddly I cannot recall the title) which I read when I was about nine years old. I don't recall it being very good.
3. As of about 1980 I had read all of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and The Executioner.
4. My mom gave me the red-boxed paperbacks of Lord of the Rings (including The Hobbit) for Christmas, 1975. Read them repeatedly until they fell apart. Still have them.
5. Shortly after reading the Tolkein for the first time, I read Dahlgren. Didn't understand it fifth grade, don't think I understand it now.
6. The only books I've read as many times as the Tolkein are Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.
7. Yes, I do own a copy of Michael Andre-Driussi's excellent and admirable Lexicon Urthus. First edition, not the revision.
8. Not only that, I own a copy of the limited printing of Gene Wolfe's Empires of Foliage and Flowers. It was the second most expensive book I've ever purchased.
9. I own a copy of the Compact Oxford English Dictionary. I have not yet lost the magnifying glass, though I don't actually need it to read the thing.
10. My favorite book of recent years is probably the first hard cover edition of City of Saints and Madmen, for a whole variety of reasons that transcend the merely textual.
11. Some time ago I noticed I had more "A" authors on my shelves than any other letter, with "B" running a close second. I speculated that this might be a function of my magpie-like progress through the shelves at bookstores, but then I gave away my extensive Piers Anthony collection and things more or less righted themselves. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
12. I still think Foucault's Pendulum is more interesting than Name of the Rose.
13. I grew up in the Third World in the 1960s and 1970s, before VCRs and satellite tv, so unusually for an American of my generation (b. 1964) my childhood exposure to books is several thousand percent greater than my exposure to television. This may explain a number of things.
14. It is very difficult for me to put down a book once I've begun to read it, but as I get older I find myself able to do this from time to time. Some things are not worth the ever increasing percentage of my remaining mortality.
15. I only buy to read. The sole collectible I own is Empires of Foliage and Flowers. If you ever saw my apartment, you'd understand why this is.