Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Salon: A Literature Meme - Questionnaire

What's better than answering questions and/or discussing your own books? Not much. I liked this Literature Meme from A Room of One's Own so much, I've duplicated it here. (Not that there's much that passes for Official Literature on my shelves, but let's use the term loosely - we're all friends here.)

1) What Author do you own the most books by?
It's a toss-up between Dick Francis and Rex Stout - I counted. I used to own almost every Agatha Christie, but after years and years and years, the paperbacks fell apart and I only managed to save a few. I now have most of the Christies in anthology editions.

2) What Book do you own the most copies of?
Hmmm, hard one. I do have three copies of Jane Austen's PERSUASION, can't think how that happened. I also have three copies of THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE by Laurie King.Though I lent one out and never got it back so I'm down to two copies. Now that I think about it, I somehow have three copies of Laurie King's THE MOOR and two copies of O'JERUSALEM, also by Laurie King. These are books I reread all the time, so maybe I thought I'd need extras.

3) Did it bother you that both those sentences ended in prepositions?
Maybe a teeny-weeny bit.

4) What Fictional Character are you secretly in love with?
Not such a secret. I am in love with Amanda Peabody's lunatic husband, the archeologist Radcliffe Emerson in the wonderful series of books by Elizabeth Peters. Victorian archeologists digging about in Egypt at the turn of the 19th century, solving mysteries and running up against a Master Criminal - the books mostly written as if they came from the hand of H. Rider Haggard. Great stuff, especially on a cold wintry day. I'm also in love with Mr. Darcy, but who isn't?

5) What Book have you read the most times in your life?
It seems to be: THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD by Agatha Christie, THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE or O JERUSALEM, both by Laurie R. King

6) What was your Favorite Book when you were 10 years old?
Probably Pippi Longstocking.

7)What is the worst book you've read in the last year?
Well, I don't know about worst, but I wasn't crazy about THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST by Stieg Larsson - didn't even get past the one third mark.

8) If you could force everyone to read one book - what would it be?
Forced reading NEVER works, but to answer the question, I'd say: WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams

9) What book would you most like to see made into a film?
Oh, easy: HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON by Naomi Novik. The dragon, Temeraire, was created for the big screen. Can't wait to see what, if anything, film maker Peter Jackson does with Novik's re-imagining of the Napoleonic Wars.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Astrid Lindgren

11) Describe your wierdest dream involving a writer, book or literary character.
Don't think I've ever had a dream about any of these. Well, I have had a steamy thought or two about authors Robert Crais and Lee Child - ha! (Take a look at the pictures on the backs of any of their books and you'll see why.)

12) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I'm not sure. In a fun way, I'd say that Jane Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books are as lowbrow as I get.

13) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
MOBY DICK. I still haven't been able to get through it. Other than that: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH by William L. Shirer which I did finish and which I highly recommend if you have even a smidgen of interest in that era of history.

14) What is the most obscure Shakepeare play you've ever seen?
I've never seen an obscure play by anyone, at least that I can remember. But I did see Richard Burton in HAMLET on Broadway many, many years ago and loved it. Though, of course, Hamlet is hardly obscure- at least when it comes to fame.

15) What do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I haven't read any Russian literature. I did attempt WAR AND PEACE when I was in high school, but didn't get very far. I've read a few French writers in translation, but none considered Literature Greats except for maybe, Guy deMauppasant a million years ago. Does George Simenon count? I love the Maigret stories.

16) Roth or Updike?
Neither. I have read some Roth, but not lately. Have little interest in returning to the fold.

17) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
I've read one book by David Sedaris - ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY and LOVED it, I will be reading more. I also read A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS by Eggers and loved that as well.

18) Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer.
Shakespeare is the only one I've read or seen produced.

19) Austen or Eliot?
Austen, definitely. I've only read SILAS MARNER by Eliot and that was forced reading in high school. NOT a pleasant experience. In 2011 I'm goint to tackle Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH but I'm not promising anything.

20) What is the biggest or most embarassing lapse in your reading?
Well, I'm not one to be embarassed by my choice of reading. But if pushed to answer, I'd say I've always wished I'd read more English Lit. or the sorts of books Simon over on his blog, STUCK IN A BOOK is always talking about. There's tomorrow of course.

21) What is your favorite novel?
That's easy. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen.

22) Play?
THE RIVALS by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER by Oliver Goldsmith
23) Poem?
KUBLA KHAN by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

24) Essay?
Don't think I have one. At least that I can remember.

25) Short Story?

26) Work of Non-fiction?
IS PARIS BURNING? by Larry Collins and Dominick LaPierre.
27) Who is your favorite writer?
Oh, so many, so many. To narrow it down to one, under duress: Jane Austen.

28) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I would have said Stieg Larsson except, sadly, he's not alive today. I dislike Dan Brown's work, but I don't think he's truly considered any kind of fine writer. I don't read any of the highpower, bestselling, literature mucky-mucks (nor do I have any interest in doing so), so I can't really answer this further.

29) What is your desert island book?
No one book can fill the bill. I'd certainly include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, THE NEW OXFORD BOOK OF ENGLISH VERSE, THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE. Okay I've narrowed it down to three - but that's only under grave duress!

30) And what are you reading right now?
LORD PETER A Collection of All the Peter Wimsey Short Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers


  1. Love Watership Downs and Agatha Christie....can't go wrong with either one.

  2. Nope. You're the first person to comment about Richard Adams' book on my blog, Ryan. WATERSHIP DOWN was a transcendent book for me. And of course, the great Agatha always keeps on giving. ;)

  3. Fascinating! And yet again reminded me that I have not read Watership Down. Some many books, so little time...

  4. Jillian: I agree! Pippi Longstocking is the book that showed me, growing up in the fifties, that a girl could do ANYTHING! Pippi was the first feminist. ;)

  5. Juxtabook: Simply put: You must make the time to read WATERSHIP DOWN. Brilliant doesn't quite being to cover it.

  6. I haven't read KUBLA KHAN since college. Perhaps next year it's time to add some poetry to the mix. As for WATERSHIP DOWN, you really would have to force me. I have no idea why I have such a block on that book but I just cannot even begin to think of reading a book about rabbits. On the other hand, I did quite like ANIMAL FARM!

  7. Hi Lisa: Well, all I can say is that WATERSHIP DOWN appears to be only about rabbits, but in truth it's about much MUCH more. After a few pages you forget you're reading about these small animals and begin to see the wider picture that Adams was going for. What a splendid adventure. I love the book. Even with my faulty memory, there are parts of Watership Down I've just never forgotten.

  8. Just quickly -- you saw Richard Burton in Hamlet! Oh wow! And Brokeback Mountain is a good short story.

  9. Carolyn: Yes, I was very fortunate to be able to get tickets at the time. A friend and I went and it was a mesmerizing experience. Burton and most of the cast were dressed either in black or very dark colors and during some of the scenes, Burton carried a red kerchief which he kept waving about distracting the audience. Loved it!


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