Monday, August 20, 2007

Reading Meme

School has started once again, and I'm all set for my last semester. Wish me luck. It took me twenty years but I'm on the back stretch now. {Please don't let this come back to haunt me later as one of those things I did to tempt fate, and actually I find out that I'll never be able to graduate because I didn't learn how to add fractions in third grade}.

I got this meme from the indefatigable Emily. It was welcome because I was having trouble coming up with a topic, as nothing really embarrassing has happened to me in the past week. (More tempting fate).

What are you reading right now?
Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy: Dmitri Volkoganov
Being There: Jerzy Kozinski
The Fortune of War: Patrick O’Brian
In the Garden of the North American Martyrs: Tobias Wolff
The Master and Margarita: Mikhail Bulgakov

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
Hmmm, that list might be too long to name. I have a big stack of European history books that my dad gave me sitting between the dining room and the living room. They all look tempting. I also have the seventh in the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian which is a probability. I want to check out the new translation of War and Peace when it comes out in October. Steinbeck always beckons as well. Knowing me, it will be totally random. I started reading Being There because I was practicing drums (a friend left a drum set in my house) and I saw the book sticking out of the bookcase. I’m glad I did. I love it!

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
People and The New Yorker

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
Sons and Lovers in high school senior English class. I found this to be incredibly depressing and I barely even read enough to take the exam. I want to give it another try, but maybe I should trust my seventeen-year-old-self and leave it alone. Tess of the D’Urbervilles comes in a close second.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Surprise, surprise Old School by Tobias Wolff. I could go into why I like this book so much, but the main reason is because I identified with the main character so much. Read it everyone.

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
Yep, and what’s worse, I’m one of them. I work part time in the library and people ‘round here know me. But…..librarians are shedding their conservative persona. Your modern librarian is no longer the horned-rimmed, hair-in-a-bun type who says “shhhhhh” all the time. We are making reading sexy again. The hormones in this place are practically palpable and you should check out miss ------- in circulation. I told a young woman the other day that I was a librarian and she practically ripped my clothes off, it’s true! Actually, she did say, “that’s kinda hot.” So get ready for the 21st century library geek, the new pop star of the future.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
I reluctantly recommended I am Charlotte Simmons to a couple of people, suspecting that this book would upset, disgust, or just plain bore them. I was right in most cases. I’ve never decided if I liked the book even, but I know it is on my “books that made an impact” list.

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?
While I bathe: I have, but its awkward to keep your hands dry while you’re in the shower. While I watch movies or TV: Not with movies, but I read during the commercials on TV by muting the sound. Listening to music: I can do it with classical, but if there are any vocals I can’t do it. I even find it hard with Jazz instrumentals. On the computer: only when I’m writing a paper and I haven’t read the text, in other words, when I’m behind. While I’m having sex: No, but I can tell you, reading The Brothers Karamazov one time right after sex caused one of the first pouty arguments I’d ever had with a girlfriend. Imagine, someone being jealous of Dostoevsky. Now, watching TV and sex, that’s another subject, especially during playoffs. While I’m driving: only directions, maps, syllabi's, assignment sheets, schedules, rough drafts, CD cases, the back of video game boxes, but never, never fiction. What is more dangerous than me reading a draft on the way to class is shuffling around to find the draft on the floor of my truck while doing 70!

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Yea, probably. I would always bring really morbid books to school that would show soldiers with their arms shot off, or novels about cows that have gone berserk and have started to eat people. This would get me off the hook somewhat because the kids liked that stuff--well most of them. Also, when I was playing with neighborhood kids, I would excuse myself early to partake in my favorite pastime, eating Marathon bars and reading comic books.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Patrick O’Brian. This isn’t necessarily true, because I fell asleep way before half the night came along, but I would have finished the book if I could have stayed awake. He just leads you from one fascinating situation to the next, and, for me, totally captures every piece of my imagination. I would have read Being There in one sitting last night, but (knock on wood) insomnia is not one of my troubles right now.


Sarah said...

I wanted to tell you: I found out that I actually own a copy of Volkogonov's biography of Trotsky. Amazing what you find when you actually unpack! And jealous over Dostoevsky--fantastic! (Well, perhaps not for you if you got in an argument, but great fun for your readers now!) :)

imichie said...

Sarah, that Trotsky biography helped me to get an A on my independent study paper last term. It's a great book. Reading Dostoevsky instead of paying attention to my girlfriend might just speak volumes about the quality of her personality. Glad it made you grin.

imichie said...

Disclaimer to people who have actually known my girlfriends: this was one from long ago, not the one you all liked.

Emily Barton said...

For some reason, my comment didn't post, so I'll make this one shorter. Try re-reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I couldn't get through it when I tried it in high school. Amazing how it had changed and become such a great book when I read it about fifteen years later.