Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eva's Book Meme, and a Blogger Housekeeping Note

Marg tagged me for Eva's Book Meme*:

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

Like Marg, I think I'd have to answer Dorothy Dunnett's books. I hear mostly good things about them, and I think I even have a copy of King Hereafter in my garage, but I just can't bite. I think it's that for all the good I hear about her books, they just seem like too much work. And I do enough of that at the day job!

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?

Being that this is a historical fiction blog, I'll pick Richard III, Edward IV, and Edward II and take them clubbing. (Though somehow I can't picture Richard III enjoying it much.) Hopefully, after a long evening of drinking, I'd hear (a) what really happened to the Princes, (b) whether there was a precontract, and (c) what really did happen in Berkeley Castle.

(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 Longevity-Industry Dec-07 is great for awhile, eventually you realise it's past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

I'm having a difficult time with this one, because although I can think of a lot of books I dislike, it's usually not because they're boring but because of something else--it's because they're poorly written, or pretentious, or have stereotypical characters. Things like that. That being said, I did have a hard time wading through Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (this was back when I was younger and would finish any book I started, no matter how dreary). Almost everyone in it struck me as an upper-class twit (except for the lower-class characters), and I didn't give a rap about Clarissa's former love or about her angsty family. So I'll pick that. (Come to think of it, Woolf did manage to make London seem like a pretty boring place. And that's quite a feat now that I think of it.)

Come on, we've all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?

I really can't think of one. The closest I can come to recalling is Howards End by E.M. Forster, which we were given the option to read in one of my English classes years ago. I opted out, and sat through the class discussion trying to look as if I knew what the professor was talking about.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to 'reread' it that you haven't? Which book?

I can't ever remember this happening. I'm more likely to read a book and forget I read it.

You've been appointed Book Advisor to a VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why? (if you feel like you'd have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP)

Depends on the VIP. I'd probably pick a nationally known talk show host and advise them to read one of my novels in the hopes of getting a mention!

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?

Latin, so I can wade through medieval documents to my heart's content!

A mischievous fairy comes and says that 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?

Charles Dickens's Bleak House.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various 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 discovered all sorts of great people through blogging--just look at the sidebar for just a few of them!

That 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 favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

I don't really care what the books look like, as long as they're in good condition with easy to read type. (I tried to read a mass-market paperback of Antonia Fraser's Mary, Queen of Scots a while back and couldn't do it--the typeface was so dense and the book so thick it was impossible to crack it open to read that easily. It was an almost painful process.) The main thing I want is just room to put them in! So a big house with lots of extra rooms would be my dream library--with, of course, some comfy chairs to read in.

One of the sexier things I've seen recently are the movable bookshelves in the Duke University library. You press a button and they can move together to give you more room to get to an adjoining bookshelf, or you can press another button and they move apart so that you can go into the stacks. If Oprah ever discovers me, that's what I'll be spending the sales proceeds on.

*And, for extra credit, if you leave a comment letting Eva know you've done the meme with a link to the post, she will give you some link love via a big list of who's participated. Additionally, if you link back to her original post, she will enter you in a drawing to win The House at Riverton. If you're an American, this is especially exciting since it isn't going to published until April. ;) To be in the drawing, you must have posted the meme (and commented) by February 5th, which is when she is holding the drawing.

OK, now to interrupt for a housekeeping note:

I've been pretty erratic about posting to my Unromantic Richard III and Plenty About Plaidy blogs, so I'm not going to be keeping them up anymore--all my posts will go here. The archives will still be available, though.

5 comments:

Eva said...

Moveable bookcases! That sounds like a ton of fun. :)

Mimi said...

I LOVE this Meme! I have one of Dunnet's books in my TBR pile, and it hasn't floated to the top either.

And, boy have I slogged, and boy have I played it off about reading a book :)

All my evil secrets come out on this Meme, I guess.

Mimi said...

Oh and PS - would you let me know on the Princes? I've always wondered.

Sarah said...

We have those moveable bookcases where I work, too. They're a big hit with the students whenever I give library tours, and so far (fingers crossed) everyone has believed me when I tell them the shelves will stop if people walk into the aisle while they're moving. (They will, but I'd rather not take that chance, you know?)

Susan Higginbotham said...

Eva, they are! I had a great time moving them back and forth. Of course, people have told me I need to get out more . . .

Mimi, you'll be the first to know.

Sarah, I was thinking that would make a great murder mystery device. Something with a title like "Squeezed in the Stacks" . . .