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Monday, January 28, 2008

A different Book Meme

Oh, Cool. Mac at Mulier-Fortis tagged me on this as a "payback" for all the times I tagged her. [Mac, it's not "work" if you especially like book memes!]

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

Hell will freeze over solid before I get through anything ever written by Ernest Hemingway. I despise John Steinbeck too. I had to read Tortilla Flats in 10th grade and I've never forgiven the ba$tard. And he knows what he can do with his little Red Pony too. But actually I think the decision is quite rational. I don't know who decided these boys should be in the pantheon of US writers, but I'd like to wring their collective necks. Oh, and why Torvald didn't kill his wife in A Doll's House is totally beyond me. She was a total twit and I didn't feel a bit sorry for her.

2) 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?

I choose Lord Peter Wimsey, Rhett Butler, and Blackford Oakes - this last Bill Buckley's creation. All these men like women with brains and are dashing, witty, debonair and have cool heads in tight situations. What else but a weekend in the country?

3) (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 a while, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

I'm tempted to also pick The DaVinci Code. But Mac picked that. I WOULD prefer living forever to rereading The Book Man Without Qualities again. I'll bite the bullet and choose to go with:

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

4) 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?

not me. Ever. Well, not since I graduated from college anyway, and that was only on the occasional exam. So it doesn't really count. I'm told Moby Dick is actually quite good and I rather like the illustrations and extra goodies in the edition I still have staring from my bookshelves saying "Read me." Ditto, The Scarlett Letter and the Tin Drum these three books got the full bore "good skim" and Cliff Notes treatment. But I've never sat around at a cocktail party and said "yes, wasn't 'X' Marvelous" when I was no where near the thing.

5) 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).

H'mm... I guess it depended what position the VIP occupied professionally. I'm going to personalize it a bit and make it a US politician. Non-fiction: The Federalist Papers - just so s/he'd know there are limits and a reason why things were constructed the way they are. Too many politicians don't take the long view into consideration, and don't have a clue as to why the republic was structured as it was. Fiction: If Catholic Brideshead Revisited, because I think they'd enjoy it - if otherwise I'd want them to read the New Testament! [The Catholic had better have read it before. I can't make bricks without straw.]

6) 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?

Koine Greek so I could read the New Testament in the original. Like Mac, I was also tempted to pick Latin, but Greek won by a nose. I'm going to cheat here and pick a second for more modern literature: Russian. Great language, but it's always been a slog for me. I do like Chekov especially and Ilf and Petrov are unbeatable.

7) 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?

Witness by Whittaker Chambers. Non-fiction, it combines autobiography, history, politics, philosphy, intrigue, and spy thriller.

8) 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)?

Indirectly: I'm always pleased when I look at other people's profiles and find that often there are titles under the "favorite book" list that coincide with my own favorites. I've seen everything from Witness pop up to even childhood favorites like Harriet the Spy. Oh, and I'd LOVE to run barefoot through the books Dr. Peter has.

9) That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leather bound? 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.

Why not a huge octagonally shaped room reached via corridor with windows all around and the book stacks in the middle and partly along the walls? Near the bay windows are comfy couches and armchairs (with foot rests!) and a good lamp by each one. And there are a few French doors too. There are writing tables here and there, with internet. I don't care if the books are leather bound, though they are great. EVERY book would be printed on acid free paper. I'd be able to see the ocean from one side and the mountains from the other. I'd also have a nook or two with a wet bar, because I don't want to go all the way back to the kitchen for a drink. Better put a one-holer just in the corridor too while I'm at it. The library room would be staffed by a genie who would put the dust covers back on any books that needed the dust covers put back on because I am notorious for taking those suckers off not to muss them up and then they're all over. Wood flooring, oriental rugs in reds and cream colors scattered around, it goes without saying it's got central heating. Oh, and it's got a good bound magazine section too. Time, Life, and the Illustrated London News, National Geographic are some I'd have.

I tag:

1. Adrienne

2. Fr. Boyle

3. The White Stone Name Seeker

4. Tara

5. Paul - On the Side of Angels

6. And anyone else who wants to do it - any of my readers without blogs who want to do this can feel free to use my combox.

BTW, the chair in the picture above does sit in the library at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside. It is one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in. I want one!


Mulier Fortis said...

Wow... excellent choices! I particularly like your library!!

(Glad you enjoyed the meme... I wouldn't have set it for you if I really thought you'd hate it!)

gemoftheocean said...

That's a relief! I guess we're "good" as long as there's not a "my favorite paramecium" meme.


Anonymous said...

Well, this looks fun--it may take a few days--but I'll do it!

a thorn in the pew said...

You have been "awarded"

Adrienne said...

I'm still trying to catch up with my blessings but - I will do this tomorrow. I will have to say it looks pretty complicated for someone with my limited abilities.

Anonymous said...

Ernest Hemmingway...fellow manic-depressive! Nothing wrong with that! lol

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