Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Okay, I'll Bite: A Meme

I haven't done a meme in a while so here it goes. This is a reading meme from Emily and Eva.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews? This is kind of cheating, and definitely not answering the question, but I cringe away from Tolkien. Why? It’s simple—no humor. Or none that I can identify. If something is void of humor there is no way I can imagine it. Oh, and I’m suspicious of The Historian—but kind of curious too.
If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be? Jack Aubrey: for the world cruise, but I would have to be in Maturin’s position so I wouldn’t end up with a giant splinter from the mainmast through my torso. William of Baskerville: I’d hang out with him until I realized that I would never be that smart. Maria from “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Forgive me, I’m a guy, and it’s a long cruise.
(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave? Atlas Shrugged. Might cause me to end it all before I’m finished.
Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it? I read half of Zorba the Greek and told people I’d read all of it. I got caught out on this (I was unaware of the gruesome scene at the end and talked it up as a “happy” novel). Later I read the whole thing.
As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realize when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book? I’m pretty sure this is the case with On the Road. I thought I’d read it in high school, but when I read it a few months ago I realized I started about 1,000 books in high school, this being one of them, and only finished about three—all of them by a guy named S. King.
You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (If you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalise the VIP) I’ve been the unofficial spokesman for Tobias Wolff (although I still have trouble spelling his name) for the past 18 months. “Hey VIP! Ya gotta read Old School!” If you want to know what it’s like to be a boarding-school trapped adolescent with aspirations toward Literature you really should read it.
A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with? No doubt and not a moment’s hesitation, Russian.
A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick? That’s a very hard one…The Great Shark Hunt maybe?
I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)? I’ve discovered that I have a lot of catching up to do. There are so many great blogs about great books written by great people that the list of things that have changed about my approach to reading is very long. I should be reading non-fiction history, but this blogging culture has me reading fiction almost exclusively. But it’s a good thing; literature, as someone once said, is the soul of history. Someone please help me identify that quote.
That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.
An automatic machine like they have on the Jetsons or Star-Trek where you just type in the name of the book and it appears in first edition perfection down a little tube or shoot. I’m not talking about ebooks or anything on-line, a little tube (a-la-the-drive-through-at the-bank) that delivers new volumes in pristine condition from the exact year when they were originally published—and in translation if required. (Could you imagine the Odyssey?) Behind this shoot would be limitless book-shelves, you know the kind where you have a rolling ladder that goes up about three stories. I would have people help me shelve, but sometimes I would give them the day off so I could just loll around and wander the stacks. Oh, and I would get paid a dollar for every word I read, or make it two. I know, sacrilege to get paid for so much enjoyment, but I have to think of upkeep for the library now don’t I? :)


musingsfromthesofa said...

You are rightly suspicious of The Historian. It needs a good editor.

IM said...

Thanks for the warning, but i can't fault it for that, so do I.

litlove said...

I also adored Tobias Wolff's Old School (and isn't his name hard to spell, I am uncertain whether I've got it right here, having only just read it on your post). I'd also choose Russian as my language. Your choice of cruise ship characters made me laugh out loud!

IM said...

Litlove, I always have to look his name up although I've read all of his published works... "Hmm...is it one f or two?" I would love to read and speak Russian, maybe one day. Glad you liked the cruise.

Emily Barton said...

Oh yes, you're absolutely right about ATLAS SHRUGGED. And I want that dollar for every word I read and that Jetson's-like book delivery library, too!

Emily Barton said...

P.S. Forgot to say that I agree with MFS: THE HISTORIAN, although interesting, needed a good editor (it took me FOREVER to read it). Read I AM LEGEND instead, if you haven't already and want an even more interesting take on the whole vampire legend.

Eva said...

I don't think I could ever read Atlas Shrugged, no matter how tired I was of life! I hate Ayn Rand sooo much. I love Russian! I couldn't read W&P without help, but I can read excerpts and a bunch of Chekhov and poetry. I'd love to be able to read a big novel one day, but I doubt that's going to happen since my focus is on contemporary Russian. lol @ being paid to read

IM said...

I can't believe I made it through "The Fountainhead" Emily. What a waste of good reading time. I'm still kind of curious about "The Historian"...if only it didn't have vampires in it. They're my least favorite monster. They seem like the kind of monster that would use a date rape drug or something.

IM said...

Wow Eva, you read Russian? I'm impressed. I would love to be able to say that. I'm in full agreement with you on Ayn Rand by-the-way.

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