Sunday 27 January 2008

Bookish meme

I've been tagged! Susan at Bloggin' 'bout Books tagged me for Eva's book meme. It was quite challenging and I had to think quite hard about some of the answers.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
Russian literature in general. I tried to read Dr. Zhivago years and years ago and found I couldn’t cope with the names. Ever since, I’ve shied away from all books by Russian authors. Pretty silly really.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?
I’d really love to have afternoon tea with Mma Ramotswe from Alexander McCall Smith’s Ladies’ Detective Agency books. John Jarndyce from Bleak House could join us (as long as he looks like Denis Lawson) and Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Heavens, that’s a weird mix…

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): You are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it's past time to die. What book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
This is such a difficult question as I’m very loathe to brand any book, ‘the most boring novel on the planet’. But one book I just couldn’t get through no matter how hard I tried was The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper. I found his style too rambling and really heavy going. A shame – I love the movie!

Come on, we've all been there. What book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?
I tend to be boringly honest about the books I’ve read so I can’t think of an answer to that one.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book you really thought you had read only to realize when you read a review about it/go to "reread" it that you haven't? Which book?
Yes, I realised last year when I was doing the RIP challenge that I hadn’t read Dracula. I honestly thought I had but it quickly became apparent I hadn’t.

You're interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why? (If you feel like you have to know the person, go ahead and personalize the VIP)
This is such a hard question as it really depends upon the person, what sort of interests they have, whether they’re male or female. I’d probably be inclined to hand over something like The Diary of Anne Frank because I think it’s a book everyone should read.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?
Russian. I learnt some at school and found it fascinating but was unable to continue as the course only ran for a few terms. Perhaps if I could read the language fluently I wouldn’t have such a mental block about the literature.

A mischevious fairy comes and says you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
Another hard one. I’d be quite happy to read the book but choosing *one* would be very difficult. The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin, perhaps, which I have in one volume. Grass by Sheri S. Tepper. The three ‘Harper Hall’ books by Anne McCaffrey if they were in one volume. The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman. The Complete Sherlock Holmes! Choosing one book is almost impossible.

I know the book blogging community, and all its challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What's one "bookish" thing you discovered from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art - anything)?
I’ve learnt to push the boundaries of my reading. I’ve always been a fairly eclectic reader but now I’m even more so because I’ve discovered that some authors I thought were ‘difficult’ are not if you’re willing to concentrate and spend the time. It’s been good discovering that I’m not peculiar in my book tastes after all, that there are plenty of others varying their choice of books just as I do.

The good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favorite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead - let your imagination run free.
My dream library would of course have the obligatory comfy armchairs and roaring fire. But no, I wouldn’t want first editions or leatherbound tomes. I’d just want huge numbers of well thumbed books. Plenty of travel books, beautifully illustrated children’s books, a really good sci fi and fantasy section, plenty of ghost anthologies. Oh and masses of history books and biographies, natural history etc. There would need to be room for a computer somewhere and a big jig-saw puzzle on a table in the middle of the room for people to dawdle over when they fancied. It looks like I’m going to need a fairly big room for this and it would need to look out on a lovely garden, full of flowers, or maybe a long sweeping lawn running down to a river. I've always fancied living in an old vicarage so perhaps I could have that too to put the library in?

I'm no good at tagging people so if you would like to do this then please do.


Susan said...

Great answers, Cath! I thought the questions were hard, too. I love the idea of your library - sounds very cozy :)

DesLily said...

wow..i don't think i could do that meme! lol too many books I'd want to bring and too many characters I'd love to meet! lol but i'd probably pick the full SET of pern books! lol..

Cath said...

Susan, I think every book fiend would love a wonderful library. I see some gorgeous ones in our stately homes with wonderful old books. Of course you're not allowed to touch the books, which is a bit of a shame but understandable.

Pat, I found it really hard to choose just one book for various questions. And like you, lots of characters I'd like to meet. Robinton would be another one. How about you?

Anonymous said...

I agree that book blogging has challenged my reading boundaries. That's probably my favorite part of reading blogs and participating in challenges.

Jeane said...

I liked a lot of the books you named. Of all Anne McCaffrey's works I've read, my favorites are the Harper Hall books. I think they always will be. I'm very fond of LeGuin's Earthsea books as well.

Cath said...

Bookgal: I've been thrilled with the inspiration I've gained from reading other people's bookblogs. Quite a few authors discovered, genres I might have thought were not for me have proved otherwise and so on. It's definitely been a really good thing for me.

Hi Jeane. To tell the truth I really would like to reread The Earthsea books. I read them in one mad rush last year and feel I probably didn't savour them as much as they deserved. And McCaffrey's Harper Hall trilogy has a very special place in my heart, though I'm not sure why. I just love them. Thanks for stopping by.

Marg said...

Mma Ramotswe would be lots of fun - although you would have to get in a fair supply of bush tea and cake!

Cath said...

Hi Marg,nice to meet you. The cake wouldn't be a problem *cough*, not so sure about the bush tea. LOL. I really think Mma Ramotswe would be fascinating though and can't wait for the drama of the first books at Easter.

Eva said...

I know a lot of people who feel that way about Russian lit. :) If you ever change your mind, I think Anna Karenina (get the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation) is a great intro, despite its length. And if you like magical realism, you have to try The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Blugakov.

And can I come check out the travel section of your library? It sounds like fun! As does the ghost part. :D

Cath said...

Hi Eva. 2008 is a year for me to stop counting books, relax, and read some longer and more challenging stories. So, I've added Anna Karenina to my 'to read' list and will keep an eye out for The Master and Margarita as well. Thanks for the recs.

Yes, you would be most welcome to check out the travel and ghostly section of my library, a suitable armchair would be provided for armchair travel of course. :-D