Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book MeMe

I was tagged for the first time ever with a meme by Valerie. And seeing as it's about books, how can I resist?


1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?

With some notable exceptions, paperback. I'm trying to collect all of the Jane Austens in hardcover, because they seem more like heirlooms (under the dustcover of the Everyman edition is a lovely green cover, and the pages are a nice cream). All of the Harry Potters are hardback, since I bought them as they were released. And sometimes, I just can't wait for a paperback.

But the cost of hardbacks is senselessly prohibitive. The cost of production isn't much more for a hardback, so the cost difference has to do with publishing houses trying to recoup their costs and reap as much profit as quickly as possible. Understandable, but I'm not a business person, I'm a reader, who likes to buy books (as a librarian, you'd think I would be passionate about using libraries, but no, I'm building my own). Don't even get me started on the cost of CDs.

2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it…

I have no idea. I would probably be uncreative enough to name it after myself, a relative, or worse yet, one of my cats. I would, however, have shop cat. It seems so necessary.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…

I am so bad at remembering quotes (my pathetic memory is why I can read books over and over and always be surprised by the ending). So a couple I remember: "Life IS pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something" (Princess Bride, said by Buttercup's mother in the most excellent book); "I had a farm in Africa" (Out of Africa. It's such a musical opener); and of course "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." (Pride and Prejudice, obviously. It sets the tone so perfectly).

I also went and searched for a quote which gets to what drew me to Grapes of Wrath. I remember being completely taken by Jim Casey, the (ex-)preacher. That character had a huge effect on my budding, teenaged spirituality. This sums it up nicely: "Why do we got to hang it all on God or Jesus? Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love: maybe that's the Holy Sperit- the human sperit- the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of". Then he went out and lived it and died for it.

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

I'm such a geek that I'd probably spend the whole time drooling and saying inanely stupid things, so lunch with someone I admire might not a good idea. The other problem is, what if an author I admire greatly turns out to be an asshole? I might never be able to read his or her books again! However, with sufficient drugs (for myself), I'd say Anna Quindlen would probably be a very interesting conversationalist. Molly Ivins would be a scream. Ooo! Jonathan Kozol, he's so passionate, pissed off and funny.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be…

The collected works of Shakespeare. If people can devote entire careers to Shakespeare, he's probably good for a long stint on a deserted island.

And what is a SAS survival guide? In my wee corner of the world, SAS is a statistics software. I don't see that being very useful on a deserted island.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

Isn't the book a perfect gadget?

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…

The University of Michigan Graduate Library. I suppose I don't really need to be reminded, since I go there often enough, but it's more the experience of the place when I was an undergrad. I loved that place. Stuffed full of the most arcane stuff (it seemed to me), it seems so subterranean (it isn't). And it smells like knowledge.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be:

Oh geez. How cliched can I be? Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Who else?

9. The most overestimated book of all times is…

John Irving.

10. I hate it when a book…

I hate it when an ending fails to live up to the rest of the book. I can't think of a specific example, but there are usually some convoluted coincidences and a sappy reunion. I also hate dialog which in attempt to be "real", rings false. The Time Traveler's Wife comes to mind. That book has such a great story and structure, but the dialog was tinny and it drove me crazy.

10a. I love it when a book..

So as not to end on a totally negative note. I love it when a book is headed toward a train wreck and the author is brave enough to let it happen. Amsterdam and Bel Canto spring to mind. I also love it when a book is so well written I can forgive any flaw, Rise and Shine sometimes had tinny dialog, it tended to cliche and a sappy ending. I'm still sad that I've finished it.

So. Who to tag? Stef, of course (you can punch me in the eye when you see me next). The gals over at Two Sharp Sticks. And my sister, Sarah. She doesn't have a blog but could do this in the comments or e-mail me and I could post it?

4 comments:

Keith said...

Just because I'm like that, I had to comment a correction... the Dread Pirate Roberts (aka her sweetheart) delivers the quote to Princess Buttercup just before she tosses him down the hill. Also one of my favs, by the way :-)

Keith said...

OK, ok, ok. Maybe I'm totally wrong. After closer reading I noticed that you credited her mother in the book. I know nothing of the book (nasty, smelly things, books - prefer to wait for the Hollywood blockbuster any time... :-) The Dread Pirate Roberts delivers the quote in the movie. My bad...

Valerie said...

Great post! You gave me a couple new titles to read (I haven't read that Anna Quinlan book, nor Princess Bride).
Thanks for sharing!

Sharon said...

I'm so glad Valerie did this or I would never have found your blog. I love Anna Quindlin but didn't like Rise and Shine at all - it felt like two different books, pasted together in the middle. I think I was so hard on it because I had such high expectations. I especially liked Blessings and look forward to her book out next month. Can I go to lunch with you two????