Friday, January 15, 2010

Books Are Comforting.

There is still much stress happening. Did I mention that on my dental visit yesterday, my dentist told me that I really needed to get my wisdom teeth out with no more procrastinating? I don't want my wisdom teeth taken! They're mine! Waaaah!

Fortunately, talking about books is always soothing, so here's a book meme stolen from somewhere or other:

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

I still have the copy of A Wrinkle in Time that I got when I was eight. It's kind of falling apart now, though, and I think I have another copy of that book in an omnibus volume that's sitting on my To-Read Pile, so I think that at some point I might retire it from the shelves and let it rest in the closet as a childhood keepsake.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you'll read next?

Current read is Falls the Shadow by Daniel O'Mahony, a Doctor Who novel from the 90s. It's... okay. It's trying to be sort of dark and surreal, and I keep vacillating back and forth between finding that intriguingly creepy, and just finding it dull. Last read was Experimental Man, which I've already mentioned here. And next up, I think, is Circumference by Nicholas Nicastro. I was thinking about The Help by Kathryn Stockett, but I think something short and non-fiction-y is called for first.

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?

Oh, let us not discuss my permanent and deep-seated antipathy towards Jane Austen after being forced to read Emma in high school. Yes, everybody tells me that I shouldn't judge based on that, and that I'd find Austen brilliant if I only gave her another chance. No, I don't care. I came away from that book thinking that I'd rather have bamboo under my fingernails than to spend one more moment in the shallow, horribly constrained little woman's world that Austen's characters live in, and that feeling hasn't entirely faded since.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?

I fully intend to read every book ever published eventually, with a few exceptions, even though I am aware that this is physically impossible.

5. Which book are you saving for "retirement?"

Nothing specific, although I'm sure there are some books currently on the To-Read Pile that will still be there when I reach retirement age. Sigh.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

Reading the last page first is an abomination. Abomination!

7. Acknowledgments: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

A long time ago, I used to read the things faithfully, having some vague sense that if I didn't, I hadn't really read the whole book. These days, I skim them, at best. But I don't begrudge a writer the indulgence.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Probably none of them. They tend to have much more interesting lives than I'd be comfortable with.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?

Oh yes, quite a few. In fact, sometimes the only way I can remember the date when something happened in my life is to remember what I was reading at the time, and then look up when that was. (Yes, I keep records. What?)

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

Um... You know, for all my book-buying obsession, I'm not sure I really have any interesting stories about acquiring books. Certainly not ones that would be interesting to anybody but me. ("Dude! I was at this huge library sale, and one of the sales attendants set this copy of Good Omens down right in front of me!" Um... yeah.)

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

I've given books as gifts, but I can't recall any that were dripping with sentiment or anything. When my nephew was smaller, I did sent him a couple of kids' books that I loved when I was young.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry. For years, every time I traveled, I'd throw it in my bag, figuring I'd read it on the trip, and kept not getting around to it. That book has literally been around the world with me. I finally read it last year in Colorado.

13. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?

The stuff I really hated in high school I haven't gone back to. The things I actually liked, though -- Huckleberry Finn, Cyrano de Bergerac, Hamlet -- I made a point of re-reading later under happier circumstances.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

I got a free copy of a book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program a while back that the author sent with a bright yellow fake feather stuck in it. Also, it was gift-wrapped and perfumed, and came with a teabag, a biscotto, a tiny rubber duck, and a four-page letter raving about the book and explaining its themes and references, and ranting about people who are incredibly rude enough to mention in public how their books come packaged, because that's private, doggone it! I was not impressed.

15. Used or brand new?

Yes, please!

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?

A bit of both. Unlike some wildly popular writers, the guy actually does have some pretty amazing talent. Unfortunately, he also has some flaws, which editors have long since stopped calling him on.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

The Hunt for Red October. Great story, which, in the book, was buried under layers and layers of technical detail and pointlessly digressive backstories for characters with two-page cameos.

18. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?

Most of them, probably.

19. Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?

Yes, although I can't think of any specifics. Probably because it's completely unremarkable for me. It's pathetically easy to make me crave food. Which is doubtless part of the reason why I weigh mumblety-mumble pounds.

20. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?

I'll take damned nearly anybody's advice. I'm a complete slut for books. Some random stranger mentions in passing that something's good, and suddenly I want it. There are reasons why my To-Read Pile and my wishlist are both over 400 volumes.


  1. Wow, none of the books I've received from LibraryThing have come that impressively (or unimpressively) wrapped. Usually just the book and quick press release. Then again, I've only read two of the four or five I've gotten through the program.

  2. I've had 13 now, I think, and that one was, shall we say, unique. (I even had one come as unbound pages, although the publisher sent me a bound copy later after it was released. Which I thought was very nice of them, especially as I gave it a somewhat lukewarm review.)

    This one really was a special case... The ER program excludes self-published books, but I did some checking up and it seems that the publishing company had published all of one book, and its website was the author's personal website. So it was pretty clearly a vanity project exploiting a loophole. Hence the, uh, eccentricity. And, actually, that kind of random, freaky, clearly-trying-way-too-hard excess perfectly characterized the book, too.

  3. I'm with you on the Jane Austin.

    It was the zombies that made Pride and Prejudice much more interesting...

  4. Even with zombies, I'm still not tempted. :)

  5. The obvious corollary to #3 is: What book did everyone hate but you liked?

  6. I'm sure there are examples of that, but none of them are really springing to mind.

    Well, I will abashedly admit to kind of enjoying The Da Vinci Code, in a purely guilty-pleasure sort of way.

  7. Re: #1 let it rest in the closet
    Oh, for goodness sake, are your bookshelves filled already that you need to expand to the closet?

    #3 - I've just started compiling a list of "classic" authors that I feel I should read, just so I don't read anything but mysteries for the rest of my life, and Jane Austen is notably not on that list.

    #8 - That's because no one writes books about someone whose life consists of nothing but sitting down and reading books. Although, I can imagine some Hollywood producer thinking that a TV show about someone who does nothing but watch TV would be a brilliant idea.

    #13 - I put Hemingway on my to-read list, even though I hated The Old Man and the Sea in sixth grade. I figure, after all this time, I might appreciate something by this dude. I won't read Of Mice and Men or Flowers for Algernon again, though.

    #17 - Heck, no.

    #18 - Most of them, definitely

  8. 1. No, but I've got a lot of old stuff from my childhood in there that it could keep company with. Like the shelf of stuffed animals.

    3. We've all been scarred for life! And, yeah, as far as reading "classics," goes, I say definitely pick ones you think you might actually like or the whole exercise is kind of pointless. :)

    8. The TV thing wouldn't fly, either. It would undoubtedly be too problematic to get the rights to show what they were watching, unless it was only stuff from the same network. But you have hit on the reason why I will never have my own reality show. Well, that and the fact that I have some self-respect.

    9. I hated Hemingway, and have no desire to revisit him. On the other hand, I was never forced to read Flowers for Algernon in school, and have still never read the novel -- although it's on the Book Pile -- but I've re-read the original novella a bunch of times and love it. It makes me cry every damned time. I'm very glad not to have had that ruined by being forced to read it for class.

    17. You haven't read The Hunt for Red October. :)