Friday, September 01, 2006

Book Meme

I've been saving this book meme (created by litlove) for a day when I'm feeling uninspired. It has great questions - I've been thinking about some of them for a while, so hopefully my answers are interesting.

1. First book to leave a lasting impression?

Definitely To Kill A Mockingbird. The first time I read it was in English literature class at school when I was 14. Even though I knew the black man was going to be convicted for a crime he clearly didn't commit, I couldn't believe that it would actually happen (very naive I know, but I had a very sheltered childhood). Then, when I read it again a few years later, I was just as shocked and bewildered by the verdict. That book was the main thing that helped me understand what racism was.

2. Which author would you most like to be?

Right now? J.K. Rowling. Hellooo, she is rich. Most authors are tormented souls who struggle away in dire poverty for the sake of their art. So not the way to do it. Give me money and the relatively insignificant stress of wanting to kill off my main character because the pressure of all the people who want to make me more money through their inventive gimmicks (featuring my scarred but lovable character) is getting too much for me.

3. Name the book that has most made you want to visit a place.

I know I bashed on about James Herriot enough in the last meme, but being a country girl, reading about the Yorkshire Dales in his books has given me a long lasting urge to visit them. (I know I should have come up with somewhere more exotic since I'm reading world fiction, but there we are.)

4. Which contemporary author will still be read in 100 years?

Um. I don't know...100 years seems like a long time, but it's actually pretty short when it comes to literature. I'm going to say Ian McEwan, even though I've never read any of his work. He gets rave reviews, right?

5. Which book would you recommend to a teenager reluctant to try 'literature'?

Depends how one defines 'literature' really. I'd want to recommend something interesting - not Dickens or anything, because he's a little hard to get through first time out. Maybe The Golem by Gustav Meyrink (seeing Carl's book challenge made me remember that one.) Darkness, intrigue, twisting plot - very good. Alternatively, Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder, because it really does make you think. When I was a teenager it introduced me to some of the thinking other people had done about things I'd always wondered about, and inspired me to study philosophy further.

6. Name your best recent literary discovery.

Reunion, by Fred Uhlman. He's only written one other book, and I fully intend to find it and devour it. I don't usually seek out everything an author has written if I enjoy one of their books, but that one was so good I can't wait to get his other work.

7. Which author's fictional world would you most like to live in?

Excellent question! Probably C.S Leiws' Narnia. How fantastic would it be to have a whole other magical world that not only was accessible through the back of a wardrobe, but that you also reigned over? The megalomaniac in me is emerging! Seriously though, being Queen of my own world is one of my ambitions. Definitely want my own castle. Maybe I could rule my own island...I hear you can actually buy Indonesian islands. That's what I'll do with my first billion!

8. Name your favourite poet.

Pablo Neruda. Without a doubt. Something in his poetry just speaks to me (and a lot of other people, judging by his popularity).

9. What's the best non-fiction title you've read this year?

Blogging For Dummies. Well, you did ask! It's what got me started on my book blogging - I learned more than I ever imagined there was to know about blogging from the first chapter of that book, and now I'm blogged up and loving it.

10. Which author do you think is much better than his/her reputation?

Reputation varies so much depending on who you speak to. A lot of people adored that Wild Swans book by Jung Chang, except my course tutors who unanimously loathed it. As a work of fiction, I think it's pretty good but should never be cited as being anything aproaching factual. It's impossible for me to answer this question, because I divide books into those I like and those I don't, regardless of how marvellous the author's technique is, or how well they dealt with such-and-such a topic - I love Louise Bagshawe, for example, who writes the most incredible fluff, but I dislike Irvine Welsh intensely, yet look at his reputation. Some of the books I've been reading recently aren't necessarily widely read in the UK or the USA, but the minority who read them rate them highly; look at Ismail Kadare.


Dorothy W. said...

Good answers! I loved Sophie's World -- I think it's such a good introduction to philosophy.

litlove said...

Hey, great answers! May you get your wish to be Queen in your own Castle (or J. K. Rowling - very similar).

booklogged said...

Well, Traveller, for feeling uninspired you sure provided some thoughtful responses to this meme. Enjoyed your answers.

BookGirl said...

I'm a huge Pablo Neruda fan too! And, call on Sophie's World.

BookGirl said...

That was supposed to say - "good call, on Sophie's World" :)

Carl V. said...

I just read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time this year. Yes, I know, its embarrassing to admit! I had and idea of what I thought the book was and that idea turned me off from reading it. So glad my wife finally talked me into it as it is such an amazing book...and not at all what I expected. It has been the most pleasant reading surprise I've had this year.

I'd take some of JK's money! ;)

Good answer on the place, I'd like to visit that world of Herriot's as well! Love the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small.