Thursday, 30 April 2009
Books, Books, Books...
I feel guilty completing another book-related meme when I have been so undisciplined reviewing books recently ... it's fun though. I found this on Simon's blog today and couldn't resist.
1) What author do you own the most books by?
Angela Carter, most definitely, as I have duplicate copies and more or less everything written about her. I also have a lot of Colette books, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and every book by Toni Morrison (including a signed copy).
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, with three copies. I have the one pictured above -bought on a trip to London in '98- with a fabulously salacious cover, a newer Penguin Classics edition (they are all actually Penguin) that is included in my Penguin Banned Books boxset and the beautiful -and exceptionally useful- The Annotated Lolita. This is tied with three copies of Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop, all Viragoes, including the fabulous 30th birthday Virago hardback fabric edition.
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Somewhat, especially ending with "of", which is a pet-hate.
4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
After watching the wonderful TV series, Lost in Austen, recently, I would have to be cliched and say Mr Darcy; I probably have been since 1995 when I watched the BBC adaptation with Colin Firth.
5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
Hmmm, I don't re-read as much as I would like... any of the favourites below are a good bet.
6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old?
Charlotte's Web by E.B. Smith.
7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
I'm usually quite particular with what I read, spending my time with books that I've been wanting to read for some time, but within the last year I wasn't too impressed by The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams; there's only so much one needs to know about moths, unless you are a lepidopterist.
8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
It's been a good year for reading but recent read Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie was astonishingly evocative and Lady Rose & Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson, 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim were all thoroughly enchanting.
9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?
Like Simon, I "don't really like the idea of forcing everyone to read a book" but I often encourage (usually by buying them a copy) people to read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant as well as frequently voicing the praises of Angela Carter.
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
There are many deserving writers ... I would like to see another woman win as there have only been three females to win since its inception. I would also like to see it given to Salman Rushdie, however "popular" a choice he may be. Also, can it be given posthumously? If it can then I'll go out on a limb and say that it will be given to John Updike or JG Ballard this year.
Oh, I would ADORE if Terry Pratchett won it! He is so under-rated amongst the high-browers and literary snobs but is exceedingly worthy.
11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Most have been ... I am looking forward to the forthcoming big screen adaptations of The Time Traveller's Wife, Cheri and The Lovely Bones.
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Um, again most have been... I enjoy seeing how movies of books adhere and translate to or deviate from the literature.
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I have a hopeless retention for dreams.
14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Probably the Twilight series! Sometimes lowbrow "popcorn" is needed though -it satiates but isn't exactly filling or nutritious, and is simply indulgent.
15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Ooh, I have NO idea! Something I read for my Master's degree, probably. Most likely secondary crit such a Cixous, de Beauviour, Lyotard, Foucault ... highbrow yet accessible but with difficult -yet highly interesting- concepts.
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
The Winter's Tale, which is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays.
I also saw a fabulous -but definitely obscure- adaptation of The Tempest with puppets.
17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
A bit of both ... I've read more modern Russian than I have French but I am a huge fan of Colette and Anais Nin so probably the French.
18) Roth or Updike?
I want to read both.
19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
I've heard good things about Sedaris.
20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
21) Austen or Eliot?
22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
So many gaps along the way ... Proust and Tolstoy and Joyce. I've read some Joyce but I managed to bluff my way through two degrees without reading Ulysses, something that used to make me proud.
23) What is your favourite novel?
I seldom play favourites -because I simply can't whittle it down to just one- but the following make it to my top however many: Nights at the Circus, The Bloody Chamber and Wise Children by Angela Carter; Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; Pride and Prejudice and Emma by Jane Austen; The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark; Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov; Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and on and on ...
By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr; Lovers by Brian Friel; Tally's Blood by Ann Marie di Mambro; Oleanna by David Mamet and the amazing The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh, as well as the afore-mentioned The Winter's Tale.
I'm not a huge poetry fan but I love "Kubla Khan" by Coleridge and several poems by W.H. Auden, Sylvia Plath and Edwin Morgan.
A Room of One's Own and a number from Flesh and the Mirror (collected essays on Angela Carter).
27) Short story?
"The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and "The Company of Wolves" by Angela Carter will duel it out to the end of time for more than equal a place in my heart and I hold particular affection for 'The Doll's House" by Katherine Mansfield, which is a wonderful study of the cruelty of children.
Furthermore, I recently read Neil Gaiman's short story, "A Study in Emerald", and was blown away, so that makes the list, as does Colette's The Cat.
28) Work of nonfiction?
Oh ... Lorna Sage's Moments of Truth and Angela Carter's collected journalism, Shaking a Leg.
29) Who is your favourite writer?
Angela Carter, which probably won't come as a surprise.
30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Stephenie Meyer - I may guiltily enjoy the Twilight books but she can't write, in the literary sense of the world, and the franchise is way too hyped (hence the haters).
31) What is your desert island book?
I think it would be the collected stories of Colette.
32) And... what are you reading right now?
Currently I am about to pick up another book as I finished Sputnik Sweetheart last night. I also have a couple of short story collections (Katherine Mansfield and Neil Gaiman) to finish, one probably today, and a book on writing, which I am savouring slowly.