Sunday, July 19, 2009

Let's Play Thirty-two Questions

I don't usually succumb to this sort of thing. And I'm not going to pester anyone else with tagging or anything like that. But I found this meme on one of the message boards at Library Thing and thought it sounded like fun (the person who left the message called it a "funny meme thing"). If you want to borrow it and fill in your own info, go right ahead. I stole it from someone who stole it from someone else. So, feel free. Oh, and if you do – let me know. I'd love to read your answers.

1. What author do you own the most books by?
Well, if we're just counting individual books, it would be Anthony Powell. I have 25 separate works by Powell in my library; however, four of those are the Dance To the Music of Time series with three novels in each volume. But if we're talking actual physical objects, I'd have to say it's Henry James. There are 24 volumes of Henry James's writings in my library – I think we have all of his Library of America volumes, and that's an awful lot of Henry James.

2. What book(s) do you own the most copies of?
Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, and Huckleberry Finn.

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Yes, mightily. I'm a loyal and active member of the Grammar Police.

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Sherlock Holmes, Adam Dalgliesh, Aloysius Pendergast (from the novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child), and Laurie Laurence from Little Women.

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)?
Lewis Carroll's Alice books, and Mark Twain's Huck Finn. I guess that's obviously why I have so many copies of them.

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
365 Bedtimes Stories by Nan Gilbert.

7. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Probably a tie between The Book of God and Physics by Enrique Joven, and The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. Neither were terrible – just not as good as the other books on my list.

8. What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Well, I've read some really great books in this last year. I guess if I really have to choose just one it would be The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.

9. If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
I'm not tagging anyone, and I'd never force anyone to read a book (although I strongly recommend The Age of Innocence, if you haven't read it).

10. Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Hmmmm. Still thinking about this one. Maybe Philip Roth? Although it's not likely an American will ever win it.

11. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Well, since the films usually don't do justice to the books, I'd have to say I hope Hollywood doesn't decide to make a film of any of my favorite books anytime soon. But if they do, I hope they get Martin Scorsese to direct it.

12. What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day.

13. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I don't dream about writers or books or literary characters. But I do sometimes dream plots for stories I'd like to write. The weirdest one of those I've ever had was not suitable for discussion here.

14. What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I could not possibly answer this. I've read lots and lots of these, and I've been an adult for a long, long time. However, I can safely say the most lowbrow book I've read recently was The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel (who, sad to say, died earlier this month).

15. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
This would be a tie between Molloy by Samuel Beckett, and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban.

16. What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
That I've seen? Well, I think I've seen just about all of them at one time or another, either live or in movies or TV productions. And I'm not sure exactly what the criteria for "obscure" would be. Maybe Coriolanus?

17. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I'm assuming we're talking about writers here, not about whole nationalities of people. And with that understood, I'd say I prefer the French – or, at least, I've read more French authors than Russian authors.

18. Roth or Updike?
I like them both. Haven't read as much as I'd like by either of them.

19. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Haven't read any David Sedaris, and I have no idea who Dave Eggers is. Sorry.

20. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

21. Austen or Eliot?
T.S. or George?

22. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Well, I'm not embarrassed by it, but there are many works by Charles Dickens I haven't and probably never will read. And even though he's so well-represented in my library, I've only read a few of Henry James's works – and admitting that is sort of embarrassing. Never read Dante. Never read Cervantes. Never finished Paradise Lost (but I know how it ends).

23. What is your favorite novel?
I could not possibly choose just one. But something by Barbara Pym or one of the novels from Anthony Powell's Dance To the Music of Time sequence would definitely be in the running.

24. Play?
Again, impossible to pick just one. And I'm not sure my favorite play to read would be the same as my favorite play to see performed, or to perform in. (There's that sentence-ending preposition thing again.)

25. Poem?
One Art by Elizabeth Bishop, Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith, Let me not to the marriage of true minds (Sonnet CXVI) by William Shakespeare.

26. Essay?
Most likely Jonathan Swift's satirical "A Modest Proposal," although I probably shouldn't admit that.

27. Short Story?
Again, too many to choose from.

28. Work of nonfiction?
I don't read a great deal of nonfiction at the moment, but in the past I read quite a lot of it. And I usually say Joan Didion's The White Album is my favorite nonfiction work. However, I also enjoyed all of Anthony Powell's memoirs and Quentin Bell's biography of Virginia Woolf. And I love James/Jan Morris's Oxford about the history of the University and the town, and Who Killed Society? by Cleveland Amory – I've re-read both of those several times. But I suppose the one nonfiction book I've re-read the most times would be A Very Private Eye: An Autobiography in Diaries and Letters by Barbara Pym. Oh, and Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (true crime is one of my guilty pleasure genres).

29. Who is your favorite writer?
Several of those, too. Barbara Pym, Anthony Powell, Muriel Spark, Joseph Heller, Larry McMurtry, P.D. James, Jane Austen. I could go on. But I won't. You can take a look at my Library Thing list.

30. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
J.K. Rowling.

31. What is your desert island book?
That would be hard. I guess something by one of my favorite authors. Possibly Some Tame Gazelle or A Few Green Leaves, by Barbara Pym.

32. And ... what are you reading right now?
Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin, Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment, and Dance of Death by Preston & Child.


  1. I've seen this done a couple times before and you're the first person I've seen who answered yes to number 3. Thank heavens I'm not the only one!!

  2. Ok. I'll bite but I am not as intellectual a reader as you.

  3. You are definitely a Bookie! It was interesting to read, and I'm glad you did it. I love your wit.

  4. this involves just way too much thinkin' ;-)

  5. Nothing wrong in liking "The Proposal"

    Now I'm going to have to do this myself, I hope your happy.


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