Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm it! A fun reading meme

I've been tagged by Nicola and Nymeth for this reading meme, created by Eva at A Striped Armchair. Here goes:

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

Well, there are actually a lot of them - but I have found over the years that my instincts are generally spot-on for this sort of thing, even though it is irrational. I have invariably regretted it when I have gone against those instincts! Right now it's Atonement. Not reading it. Nope!

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?

Only three? This is a hard one. I guess it would depend on the event - I guess I'll take the world cruise (as long as I'm dreaming, I might as well dream big) - and I think I would take Jilly Coppercorn, Miles Vorkosigan (so we'd be sure not to have a boring cruise) and - since we're on a ship and all, I'd have to pick Reepicheep!

(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 realize it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Well, having had to suffer through Moby Dick three times for three different lit classes (one in high school, two in college), and have to pick that one for the most boring novel. The most boring book, however, has got to be The Bibliographic Record and Information Technology by Ronald Hagler. I had to read it for a class in library school, and I swear, that thing was like a narcotic.

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 don't know that I've outright pretended, but often at work I nod and agree with library patrons that this book or that (which I've no intention of reading) is really wonderful, just so I won't be pressed to read it (and also not to offend someone who loves that author). I am not going to read A Thousand Splendid Suns, for example, or books by Nicholas Sparks or Tom Clancy or Clive Cussler. Better to nod knowingly, smile and move on.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Adviser 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 personalize the VIP).

That is a tough one. I'd have to know more about the person and what they felt like reading. Something funny and irreverent? Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job. Something more weighty and thought-provoking? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Maybe they'd like short stories - maybe something by Isabel Allende or Charles de Lint.

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?

Definitely Japanese - I can read Italian, and I can make my way through books in Spanish and French (or at least if I studied them for a year or two, I could). But I can't see ever becoming competent enough to do that in Japanese, and there are so many interesting books by Japanese writers that I'd love to be able to read in the original language. Russian is a close second, though!

A mischievous 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?

This one's easy: A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle. I have read that book every year or two for years now. It helps keep me grounded and focused, and it brings things into perspective. And it's funny - depending what's going on in my life (when I first read it, I was just out of college, and now I'm older, married, with young kids), I get different things from it, a deeper understanding of things that flew over my head before because they weren't relevant at that time. I like going back to Crosswicks, L'Engle's country house - it's one of those safe, comfy book places I love to revisit.

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)?

Where to start? I have heard about so many different books, series and authors through book bloggers, and as I discover who has my same reading taste, I'm more likely to branch out with an unfamiliar author because I trust their judgment.

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.

My dream library would have those sliding ladders so I can reach the books on the top shelves (and slide back and forth shouting "wheee!"), which is something I've wanted since I was a kid. I am not at all picky about the editions, bindings, etc. - I just want my favorite books and authors to be there, and I would like magically expandable shelf space, so that there is always room for one more book, and I don't have to put anything sideways on top of the books because more books won't squeeze in. I'd also need a fireplace, a comfy leather chair or sofa with an ottoman coffee table to prop my feet on, some cats to curl up on or near me, and a dog to relax on the carpet in front of the fire. Oh, and while I'm dreaming, how 'bout some floor-to-ceiling windows (French doors, maybe, that lead to a terrace overlooking a lovely view) and gorgeous artwork on the few walls not covered by bookshelves.

Tag 4 people.
Now that my semester has started, I'm having trouble keeping up with all my favorite blogs, so sorry if I'm re-tagging anyone.
Virginia Gal (Gypsy Thoughts)
Molly Malone (Red-Headed Rover)
Chris (Stuff as Dreams are Made On)
Ladytink (The Movieholic and Bibliophile's Blog)


  1. Magically expanding shelves! Now there's a great idea.

    I enjoyed reading your answers. :-)

  2. I attempted Moby Dick a few times, but I never got past the first few chapters. For this reason, I always half-wondered if it got MUCH better later on, and that's why so many people consider it such a great novel. But you actually made it through the whole thing several times and you still say it's the most boring novel ever, so I don't think I will pick it up ever again.

    You're right that with some people, especially ones that get offended easily, it's better to just smile and nod.

  3. I do the nod and smile thing as well...I suppose that's what I really meant by the question, but some people have interpreted it as asking if they lie! Oh well!

    Glad to see another person not interested in A Thousand Splendid Suns...I'd rather just read my cereal box in the morning.

  4. Mine's up! Thanks for the tag!

  5. Literary Feline - can you tell I spend a lot of time at the library where I work "weeding" the collection, wishing there were a way to fit them all in? Once when I brought my kids in to get books, one of them was trying to get a picture book out of the tightly packed shelves and asked, "Mommy, why did they glue the books together?" :-)

    Nymeth - I found the literary criticism of Moby Dick to be way more interesting than the book itself - and you know that's not a pretty situation!

    Eva - Thanks for making up the meme - it was a lot of fun! I think I got what you meant immediately - the smile and nod thing now cracks me up inside when I'm at work - I found myself doing it last night and trying not to laugh! You and I may be the only ones cringing from A Thousand Splendid Suns. And another one I haven't been able to bring myself to read is the Da Vinci Code! Shameful, eh?!

    Ladytink - Thanks! I'm coming over to see!

  6. ha ha - I was coming up with my answers as I was reading yours : )

  7. I look forward to reading them when you post them. Doing mine was lots of fun!

  8. I love this meme! I totally relate to your "smile and nod" approach to some library patrons' reading interests. It depends on the person though - sometimes I'll be honest about what I do and don't read.
    I feel like I haven't read widely or deeply enough to answer some of the meme questions, but a few of them really grabbed me. I'd pick Russian for my language. I'd really have to think about most boring book. I feel like choosing a textbook is too easy. It should be limited to "popular" and classic fiction and non-fiction. In that case, I'd choose Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Landvik. It was painful for me to read - every plot turn was obvious, every character bland and predictable, every sentence poorly written. Maybe that's not boring so much as excruciating.
    The book I'd re-read would be The Pigman by Zindel (I already do re-read it every year).
    My dream library would be the one we worked in together of course. :)

  9. Oh, Devinoni, that's so sweet! I miss working with you, too. :-(

    I should give Pigman a reread one of these days - I barely remember it, other than really enjoying it.

    And I'll put Angry Housewives on my non-TBR list!


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