Book Mavens

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid.”
-Jane Austen

books1I got this questionnaire from Peregrine and since I recently I had to go through all my books before commissioning J. to move several boxes of them into our new place, I figured I was in a good position to talk about them.  My Someday House has a huge library with full shelves around three walls, a fireplace, and the world’s most comfortable couch and chaise for lounging with a cup of tea.  As the years go by and I keep buying more books, my imaginary walls keep expanding and the books have gone from cheap paperback to more impressive and beautiful editions, but the look of my fantasy library remains the same. 

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Probably Lois McMaster Bjuold, followed by Jane Austen, Tolkien, and Marian Keyes.  An odd mix: scifi, classic British Lit, fantasy 9the good kind, not the weird kind) and contemporary Irish

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
I have two copies of Candide.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Nope.  Modern English and its callous disregard for proper form is the only reason most English speakers can understand one another.  

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Good gosh, what a question!  Ultimately probably Miles Vorkosigan, although I admit to crushes on Faramir from the Lord of the Rings and a dark sort of bad-boy-craving for the Vicomte de Valmont from Les Liasons Dangereuse.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
I can’t keep track!

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff.  I only read it to kill time, but it was an absolutely atrocious book.

8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Lucifer Effect, by Phillip Zimbardo

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, the funniest book I have ever read in my life and a work of genius!

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Ditto to Peregrine, no idea why one person gets it and another doesn’t. 

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
I Lucifer, by Glen Duncan…and I just found out a while back that they are!!  With Daniel Craig in the title role (double delicious).  I worry about them getting the metaphysical aspects and scope to translate well onto the screen, but if they can pull it off it will be amazing. 

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
I have no idea, so many of my books are historical classics that have managed to make the transition in various levels of completion.  Then again enough have been butchered…I’ll say Atlas Shrugged, because the interpretation might actually convince me to hate it.   

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
Never had one.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
Watermelon, by Marian Keyes, which is surprising given my enthusiasm for some of her other novels

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Probably The Scarlet Letter the first time I had to read it.  I tried it again a couple of years ago and it went down much easier.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
The Merry Wives of Windsor, which no one ever reads but everyone should because it’s a riot!  Saw it at a Shakespeare festival in the States and at the Globe in London.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
French, but I’ll admit to not really ever giving the Russians a chance.   

18) Roth or Updike?
Neither, my tastes don’t run that modern.  I’ll amend shortly, I promise/

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Sedaris.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Chaucer for fun, Shakespeare for a good read, Milton when I’m feeling philosophical or intellectual.

21) Austen or Eliot?
Austen, but not obsessively. 

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Anything after 1850, probably.  And American, I don’t read too much of that…I need to expand my repertoire.

23) What is your favorite novel?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite pair of shoes!  Or a favorite kind of chocolate desert!

24) Play?
Broadway: The Scarlet Pimpernel for fun, Into the Woods for thought.  Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing.  Also in my top five, Congreve’s Way of the World.

25) Poem?
Song of the Wandering Aengus

26) Essay?
Another gap in my reading! 

27) Short Story?
I don’t remember the title, but it was in an anthology of Indian (the subcontinent) American women.

28) Work of nonfiction?
The Story of Britain, by Roy Strong.  Got me through my entire major.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
See #23

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Stephanie Meyer, ephemeral as her books will undoubtedly be in the grand scheme of things her current popularity offends me.

31) What is your desert island book?
Probably an Encyclopedia Britannica, because I’m assuming I’ll be on that island for a while. 

32) And… what are you reading right now?
How to Hug a Porcupine, by John Lund.

5 thoughts on “Book Mavens”

  1. Wandering Aengus FTW! Actually, there’s a really sweet musical arrangement of it that I like. From a Russian lady who made an album of arrangements of Yeats and Tolkien. Can I link to that? I’ll try to… you should be able to listen to it here.

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