Monday, February 04, 2008

Eva's Reading Meme

I just had to do this meme created by the ever-prolific Eva. I've seen brilliant answers from so many people, so had to think about it myself.

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

I think I'd say The Time Traveller's Wife; I want to read it! But I can't seem to bring myself to even open it -- it's as if I fear it won't be as good as every single review I'd read. I own it. I feel pleased looking at it, but it's as if there's a force field around it repulsing my hand.

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 think I'd like to bring three writers to life for a great writer's workshop. I'd want Emily Starr there (from LM Montgomery's Emily trilogy) to explain how a girl from a backwater became a successful writer; Cassandra Mortmain because she's such a great diarist and would know all the 'writerly' foibles to avoid, through her father's example; and maybe Angelica Deverell from Elizabeth Taylor's Angel, as an example of how not to do it!

(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?

Many people have cited Ulysses, but I wouldn't mind that one so much, as reading it would be at least an intellectual exercise. Finnegan's Wake, however, well, I'm not sure I could make it to the end before finishing myself off first!

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?

The one I thought of first was a textbook by Steve Stern about native peoples in Peru. I had to write a paper on it and the week it was due the book was still in the shrinkwrap. Thank goodness it was a comparison of 2 books; I took my points from the first book (which I had read) and used the ever faithful index to compare ideas with Stern's book. Then I gave the shameful book away to the library I volunteered at. Only to find a couple of years later when I moved in with my husband that he had purchased that exact book from the library sale. Now it mocks me with my perfidy every day...

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?

1984! Was convinced, utterly, that I'd read it. Knew the plot, knew the lit crit, all the catchphrases, etc. Upon opening it for a 'reread', realized that the voice of the novel was unfamiliar and in fact I hadn't read it.

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 of personalise the VIP)

Well, as I've been following along with Yann Martel's reading suggestions to our Prime Minister, I'll posit that I'm now suggesting a book to Stephen Harper. In which case, perhaps Catch-22 would be a good one, pointing out the illogical, inane insanities of war.

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?

French I could probably work on to improve my reading comprehension without fairy assistance -- so I'd ask for Russian. All those greats!

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?

I reread books from my childhood quite often; there's some kind of comfort attached to them beyond just the book itself. So I'd say probably Anne of Green Gables. Or maybe Watership Down.

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)?

Blogging has inspired me to spend more time reflecting on what I read, and also to make conscious choices to tackle some of the books which have been on the TBR for years. Yay, reading challenges!

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.

Oh my, I could really go on with this one....
My ideal would be sort of an English country house kind of library. Big, with lots of shelves lining the walls (preferably with glass doors - really keeps down the dust). Said shelves filled with nice copies (clean and attractive reading copies; nothing so fancy or rare that I'd be afraid to touch it) of my favourites plus all the books I want to read someday - with no guilt attached! A big library table in the middle with good lamps and good working chairs. A desk at one end for all that correspondence. A few cozy wingbacks and a settee at the other end, in front of the fireplace. Good lamps are a necessity throughout, actually. One or two of those really clever side-table height revolving bookcases for all the books currently being read. Plus a big French window at the desk end, opening out onto a lovely terrace and garden. Of course with all this would come a few servants, to keep everything dusted and tidy, as if it was left to me it wouldn't be very pristine for very long!


  1. I liked your answers. I loved Montgomery's Emily books, and Watership down is an old, old favorite.

  2. What a lovely library - I'd definitely want to curl up with a good book there!

  3. I loooove Anne of Green Gables! (In fact, I love the entire series until she and Gilbert are engaged, and I still like the rest of them)

    Can I borrow some of your servants, lol? Have a feeling I'm going to need help keeping my place tidy as well!

  4. I have the same sort of fantasy library. However there is one quality to it that yours doesn't include. Mine would have consistently expanding shelves to accommodate whatever new volumes have been taken in. These are of course magical shelves because, like yours, these shelves are behind glass doors.

  5. Jill - I like the idea of magical shelves! Very useful.

  6. I liked The Time Traveller`s Wife. As with most time travel novels there was some confusion and I didn`t like the end as much as I expected to but I`d recommend it.


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