Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Twenty Questions

I've been skipping the weekly Top Ten Tuesdays because I haven't been able to think of anything for the latest topics. Less than usual, considering I've participated when I could only come up with 3 items before. Laura over at Devouring Texts was also at a loss for this week's topic (sequels you're looking forward to) and instead posted answers to twenty questions. Because I'm all about talking about myself I thought I'd steal her post (don't worry, I asked her about it first) and give my own answers. So here we go

1. Which book has been on your shelf the longest?
I have a copy of T. H. White's The Once and Future King from the early '50s I took from my grandparents house. I think that fulfills the category both in oldest book as well as book I've carried around with me (thus been on my shelf for awhile) but still have yet to read.

2. What is your current read, your last read and your next read?

I'm currently re-reading Tracks by Louis Erdrich, my last read was Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane and my next (tentative) read is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Although I'm no good at sticking to a reading plan so we'll see what my next book actually ends up being.

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Everyone it seems loved this one and couldn't put it or the sequels down. I struggled to make it through this one for book club and never bothered to read the others.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?

I don't want to say I probably won't because I like lying to myself, but I have Franzen's The Corrections staring at me, just daring me to read it for almost a year now. I bought it last October coming back from a friend's wedding and I made a promise to myself that I would read it before the end of the calendar year. We'll see if that happens.

5. Which book are you saving for your "retirement"?

That would require a level of planning that is beyond me. I usually pick out my next read on the fly.

6. Last page: read it first or save it for the end?

I do not understand reading the last page. I would never read the book if I did this. My mom does this, and I am impressed that she can still enjoy the story even if she knows how it goes. She's this way with everything, which is awesome for me because I never have to worry about spoilers when talking to her about movies.

7. Author acknowledgements: waste of ink and space or an interesting aside?

I usually just skip over reading them, but sometimes I'll skim them to see if they say anything interesting. I used to read the liner notes on CDs to see what bands were thanked and used that to find new music. Authors need to do this in their own acknowledgements section.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Thursday Next from Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. She's a literary badass and I would love to visit Book World.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (a person, a place, a time?)

I'm sure there are other books that fit this question and I'm sure I'll think of them after I've already hit "publish" but Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code makes me think of my friend's aunt's house in Ireland. I spent just under a month out there with her and her family, and I had brought this book with me. In between seeing the countryside and visiting various bars I remember hanging out in the sitting room reading this book. I think I remember the location better than I remember the book itself. Maybe not the worst thing. 

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I kinda sorta stole it from my English class when I was in the sixth grade. I'd say "accidentally" stole, but that's not really true. I switched classes mid-year and the class I switched into had just begin reading The Phantom Tollbooth, so I had to catch up a bit. Which meant when I was given a copy of the book I apparently didn't put my name on whatever roster everyone else did. At some point the book got caught in my locker and the back cover ripped off. I was upset the book was ripped plus I knew I was going to have to pay for it. But they never asked for my copy of the book back and I never offered it up. Having to pay to replace an $8 book seemed way more dire when I was 11 than it does in retrospect.

11. Have you ever given away a book to a special person for a special reason?

I wish I had some cute story here, but nope. Update! My (awesome) friend Paul reminded me I gave him an (awesome) Bryson book being being a super (awesome) nerd.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

I guess I'd have to say Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, though not because it's a particular favorite of mine. I brought it with me to Italy when I studied there, and then before coming back to the States I spent a month in Ireland (separate trip from the one above, though with the same friend) so it came there as well. I then carried it with me throughout my various Boston moves and I re-read it at some point so had it with me on the subway. And now it's in Long Island with me.

13. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad ten years later?
It's hard to say because the books that I really hated in high school I've yet to revisit. I probably should because that list include The Grapes of Wrath and 1984. Maybe I'll re-read those and then can answer this. The Scarlet Letter however, stays on my "no thank you" list. I re-read it in college and it was exactly how I remembered it.

14. What's the strangest item you've ever found in a book?

I suppose this isn't actually that strange but when I recently read Stephen King's Dreamcatcher an old birthday card from fell out, along with a newspaper clipping for the Broadway show Kiss Me, Kate, which I saw for my birthday that year. That's apparently when I had been given the book. And then I read it more than 10 years later. Not because I didn't want to it's just such a big book for subway reading.

15. Used or brand new?

I love new books. I like my books to look like they're in new condition. I know I should make use of a library and save myself some money, but I never do. 

16. Stephen King: literary genius or opiate to the masses?

This is very black and white. Can't he fall somewhere in the middle? If I have to pick I'd say literary genius, although that might be going a bit far. He's obviously a very popular author but I don't think he gets all the literary credit he deserves. 

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

Yes, definitely. I love the Lord of the Rings movies (I have both the theatrical and the extended editions). It was a struggle to make it through the first 2 books and I really tried to make it through Return of the King before I gave up. It wasn't worth it. American Psycho is another movie I like more than the book. Because the movie doesn't make me physically gag.

18. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?

Never say never. There are some stories that have had really unsuccessful movie adaptations (Pet Semetary) but that doesn't mean that there is no hope of the book working on the screen. However, I can't see how the Thursday Next series would ever work although if someone were to attempt it, I'd probably see it. All this being said, I have been avoiding the movie 1408, because I loved the short story so much I assume the movie cannot live up to it and I don't want the short story ruined for me. That's not to say it shouldn't have been put on the screen, and maybe it is a really good movie. I just don't want to find out that it's not and have images from the movie supersede what's in my head.

19. Have you ever read a book that made you hungry, excluding cookbooks?

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. She's cooking a bunch of Julia Child recipes, which sound delicious and she's cursing throughout which made me smile.

20. Who is the person whose book advice you always take? 

Well I don't always listen to anyone because I'm stubborn like that, but there are a few book recommenders I listen to more often than not. My friends Paul and Matt always seem to recommend books that end up being favorites of mine. In the blogging world there are a number of recommendations I seriously consider. Here's a short list:
Ben from Dead End Follies
Brenna from Literary Musings
Jennifer from Soy Chai Bookshelf
Greg from The New Dork Review
Laura from Devouring Texts
Alice from Reading Rambo
Ellen from Fat Books & Thin Women
I could probably go on and on (and on) with this list but I'll stop here.