a better book meme … because it’s Sunday and I am lazy

October 19, 2008 § 5 Comments

Yes, this meme has likely been around several times, but figured it’s ok for a sunday entry and I plucked it out from a book reviewer blog writer and let it sit in my draft section, til now. I could title this one “blah blah blah” or “yada yada yada” but if you’ve nothing to do while you’re waiting for the freshly scrubbed kitchen floor to dry or for your dogs to finish eating so you can walk them or ’til the sun hits the right angle through the south windows, then this might work.

What was the last book you bought?

Um, I can’t think …  FALL ON YOUR KNEES. I saw it on someone’s blog. I have no idea what it is. Then to my horror I saw it was an Oprah book. Don’t get me wrong. It’s totally cool that Oprah does the book thing. But I recoil at group fever regarding anything. Ah, well…

Name a book you have read MORE than once:
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Why? The first time I read it I was so young and couldn’t believe it.  Years later, I read it again out loud to our kids; they were completely slack-jawed. Not by the writing but by the fact I would read something “like that” to them – so many words, where was the action? They wanted CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS. Harumph. I finished Dickens that second time practically under my own covers with a flashlight.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
CATCHER IN THE RYE, maybe. The city thing, the preppy thing which I grew up in the middle of. There was a compelling reality and rebelliousness in the life at that age of Holden Caulfield.
Whoa, this is a heavy question and I don’t think I’m doing it justice … Maybe YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN by Thomas Wolfe, or Hemingway’s A MOVEABLE FEAST.  SONS AND DAUGHTERS. THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING. And poetry by Ogden Nash. He made me laugh.

How do you choose a book; e.g., by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews:
Cover design helps.
Title will override cover design. (as in, ‘
Paper covers rock.’)
Recommendations by friends and bloggers.
I am not opposed to strolling around B&N and seeing what other people are reading, picking up or asking for. It’s curious.
I tear the Book page out of VOGUE every month. Especially as we approach Christmas!

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
I am overall a Fiction reader.
But I snatch up books on or about Writing. 
Certain memoirs beckon, too.
And essays: Anne Morrow Lindberg, EB White, Annie Dillard

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
Oh, beautiful writing. But like so much about beauty, it doesn’t last – no, I mean, you have to go slowly. Beatuiful writing is rich and should be taken in small bites. You can’t devour it during a work week. You can’t read beautiful writing quickly.
So, in my sometimes McBites world, a gripping plot will have me making a run on the book every chance I get – from escaping to the porch to going through a drive-through just to have a few minutes to sit, sip and read.
OK, I love both. The beautiful writing AND the plot.
I know that Truth is in Beautiful Writing.
Yet I am a sucker for plunging headlong into Story.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book):
I am stalling here. There might be a perfect answer. But it would vary on any given day. Who stands out? Ellen Olenska from Wharton’s AGE OF INNOCENCE. She is the exotic, the woman Archer falls in love with though he marries May. She is, for all her Euro-ishness, a woman of value, nobility.
Owen Meany in  A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY. I guess I love him cuz he’s memorable. Real, sad, but not sad; he endures.
Jamie (excellent male protagonist) in THE OUTLANDER.
The women in HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT. Each has a story; each has a reason. Each shines through in her piece of the world pie.
These are unusual choices (above); must be because I’m drinking tea rather than coffee this a.m.
FOREST FOR THE TREES – Lerner   It’s still there. I read bits of it regularly. It backs me up, helps me out in some of my work.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
It was HIGH STAKES, a ridiculous vampire book that I read last week while under the influence of over-the-counter meds. I stand fast: there is nothing wrong with a little escapism!

Have you ever given up on a book halfway in?
Roddy Doyle’s A BOY CALLED HENRY. Here is an example of excellent writing. But I just couldn’t stick witht he subject even though it was fiction.
Nora Ephron’s CRAZY SALAD, and I love Nora! The book was too dated; too fact-sy. Maybe it was the reading moment, I dunno. But I love her ‘NECK’ book and have reread several parts.
There have been others, but only in the past 10 years, since I have given myse
lf permission to not finish stuff.

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§ 5 Responses to a better book meme … because it’s Sunday and I am lazy

  • seachanges says:

    For a lazy bit of writing this is not bad! I like the way you stumble across books: someone (and I know, you can never quite remember where or how) recommends it and then suddenly you watch this huge pile of books that mounts and mounts and you wonder when you will ever work your way through them all.
    Great lists by the way, I haven’t read any of the ones on your bedside table, so will wait for you to recommend!

  • Jeanie says:

    This is great — I may have to put this one on the Marmelade Gypsy sometime soon! I stumble on books, too. Sometimes it’s the best way!

  • oh says:

    Seachanges – I am trying to be strict with myself about reading ONLY what’s on the bedside table. But that’s not working! (sigh)

    Jeanie – It is always interesting to hear what others read, have read, and reread – will look for this one on TMG.

  • shoreacres says:

    This is good for an occasion like tonight – I’m eating pistachios and just roaming. Not a care in the world for the first time in weeks – and nothing that has to be done.

    “Have you ever given up on a book, halfway in?” After years of being nagged by my boating friends, I tried John MacDonald’s Travis McGee on for size- The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper. I got to page four. I stayed at page four for two weeks. I read the last page – the last two paragraphs were good. I tried again, and got to page 18. It was terrible. I gave it to a neighbor.

  • oh says:

    Linda, I was once down and out with pneumonia and on top of it all,I couldn’t sleep either. I started reading Travis McGee, got through the Yellow this and the Orange that and two other “color” book titles in the series. Four books in four days. I haven’t touched the series since. I associate it with that hellish time. Too bad.Or, not.

    Funny thing about that particular list/meme: on any given day, some of those answers would be different, particularly, favorite characters.

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