Thursday, May 7, 2009

A literary meme

1) What author do you own the most books by?
I was hoping to be able to say something really impressively literary, like how I own every book Edwidge Danticat's written, or how I own a lot of Haruki Murakami. Then my mind thought, series, so perhaps Piers Anthony or Orson Scott Card. Except, I realize, sadly, that the answer might actually be V.C. Andrews. I went through a phase in 8th grade where I read almost every saga she came out with. And since that generally meant like, 5 books per saga, I must own at least 20 books by her. Sad. And a waste of shelf space.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
The Secret Garden. And not the same edition either, but various different versions, including crappy school copies, British editions, and beautifully illustrated hardbacks. My mom loves that book so she kept buying me new copies, as if the love could be distributed amongst all the different versions.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No. That's one grammatical problem that I never even really think about. Is it bad I'm a writing tutor?

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
I find Oscar Wao really endearing, but in love? No. Hmm, I can't think of anybody. Maybe it's because I like flawed characters in books, but who in their right mind would want to date anyone super flawed? I am ashamed to admit I did swoon over Edward from Twilight, until I realized how he was an accessory to Bella's insane neediness.

4a) What fictional character would you most like to be?
I can't say I want to be any of them, because seriously, if your life is interesting enough to be made into a book, it usually means your life is pretty fucked up. Even with a happy ending at the end, not sure I want to have to endure anything like that.

4b) What fictional character do you think most resembles you?
The ones I write about?

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
I think I have read A Wrinkle in Time many many many times.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Probably A Wrinkle in Time. Or one of those dollhouse mystery books. Or anything about time travel and secrets in attics and stuff. I have a bunch of those at home that I've read a few times but I can't remember what they're called right this moment.

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Assuming we're talking about past year as in the past 365 days, I'm going to go ahead and say again how much I despised Jack Kerouac's Visions of Cody. Self-indulgent. And I pretty much will never read Kerouac again because of it.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
It's been a long while since I've read anything I absolutely lovedlovedloved, but let me go through my backlogs of books. Okay, so in the past 365 days, the books that come to mind are 1. Kazuo Ishiguro's A Pale View of the Hills - possibly my favorite Ishiguro out of all the ones I've read 2. Alexander Chee's Edinburgh - in my opinion, really underpublicized and underread for how beautiful his prose is 3. The English Patient - which probably requires no explanation 4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - which is YA but I don't care because I really liked it and it made me cry. Clearly I love pretty prose and things that make me cry.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I still think it's fucking amazing no matter how many times I read it (and so far the count is at 3 times).

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
I haven't really been following the big hitters for this past year so I can't really say.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Hmm, I dunno. They almost always ruin a book when they make it into a movie, unless you're like, The Coen Brothers. Which, speaking of, they're supposed to be doing Yiddish Policeman's Union which should be awesome. Maybe something more genre, like I'm still waiting on an Ender's Game movie, though I'm also worried they'll fuck it all up.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
The Road. Which unfortunately apparently they've already done. I bet you it sucks.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
Uh. None I can remember at this juncture...

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Twilight and its subsequent sequels. Fosho. Or I suppose I could say my recent breeze through the Anne Bishop books could count too. I blame Jas and Frederick for those. Whatever. They were good.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
I don't like difficult, so I most likely didn't get through anything that was too difficult.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
The only Shakespeare play I've seen (like a real play put on by real actors) is Julius Caesar when Denzel came to town. And that's not really obscure.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Um. Wasn't a lit major so can't answer this question. I'll just say the Russians, since the half of Anna Karenina I quite enjoyed, and I love Nabokov (though I suppose he's more contemporary?). But I haven't really read any of the French so it's an unfair comparison.

18) Roth or Updike?
Haven't read any Updike, but the one Roth I read (American Pastoral) I was kinda disappointed by. So I choose neither.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
I've never finished a Dave Sedaris collection, and I thought A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was self-indulgent. I liked it when I first finished it but the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. However, I have What is the What on my shelf and I hear it's good, so maybe I'll choose Eggers when I'm done.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
I didn't like the little bit of Chaucer I had to read (he's the reason I decided to not become an English major), never finished all of Milton, but I quite liked the bit I did read, so my inclination is towards him, though that might be completely unfair.

21) Austen or Eliot?
This is when it becomes readily apparent that I'm woefully underread. I haven't read either.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
All of the above. Ahaha. Well. Like, let's think here, never read Hemmingway, Faulkner, Updike, Austen, Eliot, the Russians, the French, Pynchon, the Irish (besides Lawrence who I hated), Joyce, etc etc etc.... In other words, I'm missing the entire Canon, but who cares about dead white guys anyway?

23) What is your favorite novel?
Again, The Road.

24) Play?
Um... I haven't really seen many plays. So can I say something like Inherit the Wind?

25) Poem?
Love at First Sight by Wislawa Szymborska. Yeah, I'm a sap.

26) Essay?
Eh? I don't think I've ever sat around and read "essays".

27) Short story?
Hands down, "Children of the Sea" by Edwidge Danticat, from her collection Krik? Krak! That piece reminds me every time of why I want to be a writer. Beautiful.

28) Work of non-fiction?
The Year of Magical Thinking. So moving.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Edwidge Danticat.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Like I said, I was quite disappointed by Dave Eggers' AHWOSG. But I haven't read enough to deem him overrated yet. Maybe Stephenie Meyer? Ahaha.

31) What is your desert island book?
A book that tells me how to survive on a desert island.

32) And ... what are you reading right now?
I'm reading quite a few books simultaneously. Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix, David Yoo's Girls for Breakfast, and Tyler Knox's Kockroach. The plan is to get boy books out of my system and focus on female writers all summer as I attempt to bang out the first draft of my novel...

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