Monday, August 25, 2008

Meme of the Day: Reader Questionnaire

Cathy at Kittling: Books cribbed the Reading Questionnaire used with authors at the book trade blog Shelf Awareness. This appeals to me the way Cosmo quizzes did when I was a teen ager! Feel free to copy and post -- leave a link in the comment section so we can see your answers: On your nightstand now:The Spirit of the Place by Samuel Shem, author of the hugely popular novel House of God, a "must read" for those in the medical profession; John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves, which I am plugging away at so I can write my IRB review; and The Accidental Tourist by Anne Taylor, because it is never to late to read a popular favorite. Book you've "faked" reading: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser. I never got past page 50 for a Lit. class in college, so faked class discussion and the essay question on the test. Lame. I finally went back and read it last year and thought it was excellent. Book you've bought for the cover: Favorite book when you were a child: Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. My sister even consented to have a book case tipped over on her, but it didn't make her flat. Book that changed your life: Of course, the correct answer is the Bible, but that's always a trump card that tends to end the game abruptly. So I usually leave the Bible out of any book discussion. With that caveat, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Favorite line from a book: I have several lines I've marked in books, but none are so profound that I could pick one as a life motto or anything. Jim Harrison makes me laugh out loud with lines I remember as, "Food is the main reason most people leave the Midwest" (which appeals to this Nebraska-born Oregonian) and "The unexamined life may not be worth living, but the over-examined life will make you crazy." Top five favorite authors: Kingsley Amis, Jim Harrison, Vladamir Nabokov, Anthony Powell, and P.G. Wodehouse. Right now, Ian McEwan is vying for a spot on the list. Books you recommend as regeneration when people say, "I'm bored by almost all contemporary American writers": I must not run with such a jaded crowd because I've never heard anyone say this. But Postcards by Annie Proulx and most books by Jim Harrison, especially The Road Home, should get the juices flowing. Book you can't believe that everyone has not read and loved: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Book you are an "evangelist" for: A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. Technically, this is 12 books, although usually published in four volumes of three novels each. This is an all-time favorite of mine and my "desert island" book:

This twelve-volume sequence traces a colorful group of English acquaintances across a span of many years from 1914 to 1971. The slowly developing narrative centers around life's poignant encounters between friends and lovers who later drift apart and yet keep reencountering each other over numerous unfolding decades as they move through the vicissitudes of marriage, work, aging, and ultimately death. Until the last three volumes, the next standard excitements of old-fashioned plots (What will happen next? Will x marry y? Will y murder z?) seem far less important than time's slow reshuffling of friends, acquaintances, and lovers in intricate human arabesques.

-- Time and Anthony Powell, A Critical Study by Robert L. Selig. Book you most want to read again for the first time: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I would love to recapture as an adult the amazement I felt when I read it in high school. I wonder if it could be the same.


  1. It's nice that you had an obliging sister when you read Flat Stanley. :o) I feel as if I hit the jackpot in your description of A Dance to the Music of Time. It immediately went on a wish list!

  2. I loved Flat Stanley too! I think I still have that hanging around somewhere, I'll have to track it down and read it again.

  3. I've never read Gone With the Wind. I've also never watched the movie! One of those great gaps in life.


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