1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?
I’m definitely a paperback person: 1) they are much lighter; 2) they are much cheaper; 3) when I read in bed my arms don’t get tired (goes along with reason #1, I guess).
2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it…
Ye Olde Book Shoppe. Just kidding—my favorite bookstore is Kramer’s in Washington D.C., so instead of owning a bookstore, I’d probably just go live in that one.
3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
Wow, this is a tough one. I’m very frequently struck by language in books*, but I can never, ever remember the quotes exactly or even where they come from. I guess I’m more of a nuance gal. I’m better at remembering poignant song lyrics, such as "Rollin’ On" by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler:
It’s hard sometimes
but pretty much it’s alright
And of course, Paul Simon’s "Graceland":
And losing love is like a window to your heart;
Everybody sees you’re blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow
*especially in The Country Life by Rachel Cusk (I’m taking this asterisking thing directly from Lee…)
4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…
Charles Baxter is near the top, along with Madeleine St. John, aforementioned Rachel Cusk, Nick Hornby, Mark Haddon…can I have a luncheon party vs. one-on-one?
6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…
I need something that will make my husband understand the amount of money I spend on books. There is something completely satisfying in the ownership of books vs. getting them out of the library. I’ve just reread a couple of my favorites and I didn’t even have to leave the comfort of my own home to obtain them.
7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…
An old boyfriend of mine had something about rifling through the pages of books and smelling them; when we were together I started doing it too. He’s long gone, but the practice lives on and I still think of him once in a while when I smell books.
8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be:
Nicola Barker from The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St.John. I read this book when I was going through a break-up (hmmm, seems like old boyfriends and books are becoming a common theme to this meme…) and I really and honestly took a lot of strength from the character of Nicola.
9. The most overestimated book of all times is…
The Poisonwood Bible. With.Out.A.Doubt.
10. I hate it when a book…
I hate it when a book starts out making you think it’s good, but then devolves into boring mash (Possesion, A.S. Byatt comes to mind.
10a. I love it when a book…
I LOVE it when a book puts me through the emotional paces, whether it be crying or laughing out loud. Not that I love crying, and it doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s great. Also pertinent to movies: like at the end of The Pursuit of Happyness when Will Smith is told he’s got the job, his reaction is what I’m talking about. Laughing out loud is just as great—make sure you read Motherless Brooklyn for this!
I used to belong to a book club several years back and got to trust the leader implicitly in her suggestions, which invariably turned out well (we actually did read The Interpreter of Maladies before it won the Pulitzer). After I moved away, I was at sea, so I started reading award winners. I figured that people much smarter than I have their heads on straight. I really like this method of guiding my reading, especially since I read equally from smaller awards as from larger ones (to be fair, however, I find myself drawn most to Booker Prize finalists/winners). If anyone thinks there’s a book I should be reading, please let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Lee, for the forum of discussion!