Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Reading Meme

I found this on The Book Zombie!

1. What author do you own the most books by?

Anne Rice. But the author with the most books in our house is Dean Koontz.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?

I don't own multiple copies of one book, but I do have three different books of T.S. Eliot poetry: one big one of his complete poems and plays, a little one with a few poems but really good notes, and another little one with a few poems and some essays.

3. Did it bother you that most of these questions ended with prepositions?


4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Edward Cullen! Nah, just kidding! Um, I actually cannot think of one.

5. What book have you read the most times in your life?

Hmmm, several. Dean Koontz's Phantoms never ceases to impress me (a true classic of the horror/thriller genres). William Burroughs's Naked Lunch is like a spectacular train wreck. Mostly I don't re-read books, though - only favorite passages.

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

Robinson Crusoe: the first real classic I ever read.

7. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?

I have a list of the best and worst of 2008 here. For 2009, I've been pretty lucky so far, but Christian Jungersen's The Exception irritated the hell out of me.

8. What is the best book you've read in the past year?

I've read quite a few great books this year, but Dan Simmons's The Fall of Hyperion is the one that most sticks out.

9. If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

Victor Serge's Unforgiving Years. A powerful, powerful book by a woefully neglected Russian author.

10. Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Tough one. Either Mario Vargas Llosa or Salman Rushdie.

11. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

Dan Simmons's Hyperion, but I'm not sure any movie could do it justice. It's probably much better off as a miniseries.

12. What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

Oh, dear God. Ilja Leornard Pfeijffer's Rupert: A Confession. Good book, but NOT MOVIE MATERIAL!

13. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

I've never had any weird dreams per se, but Dan Simmons's appropriately-named The Terror remains the only book to ever give me nightmares. I don't remember what happened in them exactly, but they were inspired by the last 1/4 of the book, when things got really gory and horrifying.

14. What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?

What a fun question! Bentley Little's The Return definitely soaks up sewage at the bottom of the trash can. (How did that one even get published?) Twilight was also quite bad. Most people would consider Star Trek novels pretty lowbrow too, but obviously those people have never read anything by Peter David.

15. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?

The Great Dialogues of Plato. Enough said.

16. Do you prefer French or Russian?

Russian. Eastern Europe in general.

17. Roth or Updike?

Uh, I've never read either of them? Bad book blogger, bad!

18. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

I have never read the first one and I have no idea who the second one is. I know they're both contemporary authors, but most of the contemporary fiction I've been reading lately is translated works.

19. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?


20. Austen or Eliot?

I've never read anything by Jane Austen because she's never interested me (although Pride and Prejudice and Zombies sounds good). I've never read George Eliot either, but her works sound more interesting than Austen's. I do, however, strongly recommend T.S. Eliot.

21. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Nineteenth-century literature.

22. What is your favorite novel?

Several. Ferenc Karinthy's Metropole, Serge's Unforgiving Years, Simmons's Hyperion Cantos series, W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz, Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Others I can't think of at the moment.

23. Play?

I saw A Mouthful of Birds in college and never forgot the experience. I have also seen Larry Shue's The Nerd, which is absolutely hilarious.

24. Short story?

Several by Edgar Allen Poe: "The Fall of the House of Usher," "MS Found in a Bottle," "Ligeia," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Man of the Crowd."

25. Epic poem?

Dante's The Divine Comedy. Every English major should be required to take an entire class devoted to Inferno.

26. Short(er) poem?

T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land."

27. Work of non-fiction?

It may be deeply flawed as a history text, but Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker's The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic is definitely one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read. Nathan O. Hatch's The Democratization of American Christianity is another sure winner. Drew R. McCoy's The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America. Charles C. Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

28. Who is your favorite writer?

Too many to name. SimmonsEliotPoeFitzgeraldWoolfRiceKoontz
MorrisonDavidDanteTwainHemingwayDosPassosPotok. . .

29. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

STEPHENIE MEYER. To a lesser extent: Stephen King and Dan Brown.

30. What is your desert island book?

Hah, I had to do an essay on this in college! T.S. Eliot for sure.

31. And . . . what are you reading right now?

Thomas Dreiser's An American Tragedy and Vassilis Alexakis's Foreign Words.


the_young_dude said...

that's a cute little banner!

E. L. Fay said...

Thanks! It actually belongs to Joanna from The Book Zombie. She even has a whole zombie shelf! So cute!

Maree said...

Great answers. I said Star Trek novels for my low-brow answer _ interpreting it as "fun, restful reads" rather than anything ... insulting, for want of a better word.
I love T S Eliot too. :)

Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads said...

As soon as I read your answer to #13, I knew I HAD to bump The Terror up on my TBR list. I wasn't sure it would be scary or an interesting read, but you've sold me :)

E. L. Fay said...

Maree: That's what I would call Star Trek novels too: "fun, restful reads." When I think "lowbrow," I think of stuff that's just really hokey and poorly-written. Like ye olde pulp magazines.

Mo: They were horrifying nightmares too! And you GAVE me that book! ;)

Joanne said...

Naked Lunch - perfect answer! I think what makes it so re-readable is that every time I pick it up I depending on my mood I would focus on some small piece/passage/thought that I hadn't caught the first time.

Seeing your love of Inferno, I've decided to grab a copy of The Waste Land - I think it may even be in one of my Norton Poetry collections. I honestly don't remember this poem at all.

E. L. Fay said...

Joanne: If you have any questions about "The Waste Land" do not hesitate to ask me! Make sure you get an annotated edition!

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