Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Meme: Books, A - Z

A. Author You've Read The Most Books From

I read a lot of Agatha Christie books in middle school. And Brian Jacques' Redwall series. Before that it was  Animorphs, Nancy Drew, and The Boxcar Children. I never hopped on the Goosebumps bandwagon like so many other 90s kids did. I preferred real ("real") ghost stories, especially the ones in the collections curated by local spook hunter Charles J. Adams III.

 As an adult, I am trying to get a hold of everything David Foster Wallace.

B. Best Sequel Ever

Much as I read series when I was younger, it's not a trend that continued into adulthood. The sequels I did read weren't ones that I awaited with keen anticipation; they had already been out for years by the time I read them. I guess Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe?

I guess I also enjoyed Crown of Midnight even more than Throne of Glass, so there's that.

C. Currently Reading

Let's see. I've been working on Doktor Glas for a couple months now. This weekend I decided to tackle Ulysses and a short, Swedish book on women philosophers from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. JV is in the middle of reading Truckers to me. I also have a copy of Dead Souls on my Kindle app, as well as an oral history of slavery in America.

D. Drink of Choice While Reading 

I don't really drink anything while reading. I can't do that kind of multitasking!

E. E-Reader or Physical Books 

Dead tree books till I die, but I appreciate the traveling convenience of an e-reader. Not only that, but so many public domain classics are available for free!

F. Fictional Character You Would Have Dated In High School 

I don't know about dated, but I would have really wanted to be friends with Holden Caulfield.

G. Glad You Gave This Book A Chance

The Sun Also Rises. I read some Hemingway in college (In Our Time) and really didn't care for him. I wasn't expecting to enjoy The Sun Also Rises at all when it came up on the TIME Top 100 list, but lo and behold it's become one of my favorites off that list.

H. Hidden Gem Book

I think a lot of the books I read for my Swedish Modernism class would qualify: Doktor Glas, Kallocain, Aniara, etc. They're really good but they never seemed to become instant hits in English, even though they all have excellent translations.

I. Important Moments of Your Reading Life

I think when I read Walden. It really ~spoke to me~ at that point in my life and I think it played a large role in shaping who I am.

J. Just Finished

Harpo Speaks!

K. Kinds of Books You Won't Read

Harlequin romance, supernatural/paranormal romance YA, most anything that's really popular. (Not trying to go for hipster points—I just usually have a different taste from what sells.)

L. Longest Book You've Read

Infinite Jest.

M. Major Book Hangover Because Of

Solaris was a strange and interesting book. I needed an extra-long time to digest it.

N. Number of Bookcases You Own:

In the states I have one floor-to-ceiling bookcase and two half bookcases. At the moment my books take up maybe half a shelf in our apartment's three Billy bookcases.

O. One Book That You Have Read Multiple Times

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

P. Preferred Place to Read

On the subway, train, or bus; in waiting rooms; on the farm in Uppsala.

Q. Quote From A Book That Inspires You/Gives You Feels

There are so many! The most recent would be this anecdote from Harpo Speaks!
While waiting and hoping, I went for an aimless walk in the outskirts of Indianapolis. I was depressed, and confused, and I had to be alone. I kept telling myself that something good always happened every time I hit bottom. But I didn't believe it. What could happen? What could I do? Groucho could go back in vaudeville as a single. Zeppo could go back to Chicago with Minnie, where he'd have no trouble finding a job. He was the only high-school graduate in the family. Chico could land a job as a piano player, on his own terms, anywhere. 
But me? What was I trained to do besides being a Marx Brother? Well, I could play the harp on a New York City ferryboat, for nickels and dimes. Beyond that, nothing. 
It was the only time I ever felt sorry for myself. 
I came out of my daze. I was startled to find I was standing watching an auction sale. The inventory of a little general store in the suburbs—groceries, notions and dry goods—was being auctioned off. There were about twenty people there. They must have been jobbers, mostly, because the auctioneer was knocking down the stock in big lots. I was careful to keep my hands in my pockets, so I could resist any crazy impulse to make a bid, and blow my entire capital of seven cents. 
The shelves were nearly emptied out and most of the crowd had left, but I still hung around, having nothing better to do with myself. Finally everything was gone except one scrub brush, the former owner, hovering in the background, the auctioneer, myself, and an elderly Italian couple. The elderly couple had been there all the time. Either they had no money or they were too timid to make a bid on anything. Whichever it was, they exchanged sad looks now that the auction was winding up. 
The auctioneer was tired. "All right," he said. "Let's get it over with and not horse around. I have left here one last desirable item. One cleansing brush in A-number-one, brand-new condition, guaranteed to give you floors so clean you can eat off them. What am I offered?" 
The old Italian guy and his wife looked at each other, searching for the key to the right thing to say. The auctioneer glared at them. "All right!" he yelled. "It's only a goddam scrub brush!" They held on to each other like they had done something wrong.
I said, quickly, "One cent." 
The auctioneer whacked his gavel. He sighed and said, "Sold-thank-God-to-the-young-American-gentleman-for-one-cent." 
I picked up my brush and handed it to the old lady. She was as touched as if I had given her the entire contents of the store. The old man grabbed my hand and pumped it. They both grinned at me and poured out a river of Italian that I couldn't understand. "Think nothing of it," I said, and added, "Ciao, eh?"—which was the only Italian I could remember from 93rd Street. 
They thought this was pretty funny, the way I said it, and they walked away laughing. I walked away laughing too. A day that had started out like a nothing day, going nowhere except down, had turned into a something day, with a climax and a laugh for a finish. I couldn't explain it, but I hadn't felt so good in years. A lousy penny scrub brush had changed the whole complexion of life.

R. Reading Regret

A Death in the Family. The Jungle.

S. Series You Started and Need to Finish

I don't really do series. The one series I'm reading right now (Throne of Glass) hasn't been finished yet. I can only read as fast as the books come out, after all!

T. Three Of Your All-Time Favorite Books

Always such a tough question! I think I'd have to list Walden, due to its aforementioned influence on, and importance to, me when I was a young(er) person; Infinite Jest because of how massively complex and thoughtful and ponderous it is; and finally, Tacky the Penguin because we all need a little levity and cute illustrations.

U. Unapologetic Fan For

David Foster Wallace (hipsters be damned).

W. Worst Bookish Habit 

If I don't have a bookmark handy, I dogear. Gasp!! I also have a tendency, when visiting people, to say hi and then drift right over their bookcase to see what they have. I also will pull out books without asking to read the back or to flip through them. That might be rude?

V. Very Excited For This Release More Than Any Other

I don't really keep track of what's coming out. The authors I like are usually dead, which makes future releases rather hard to come by. The biggest exception to this is Heir of Fire and all of the rest of the books in the Throne of Glass series.

X. Marks The Spot (Start On Your Bookshelf And Count to the 27th Book)

95% of my books are in boxes. I don't have 27 books on my shelf at the moment. :(

Y. Your Latest Book Purchase

I've been trying to pare down my book-buying recently, as our apartment doesn't have space for my habit. I think my latest may have been a replacement of Prince Caspian. I gave Lawyer Mom my copy to read and it somehow got lost in the process.

Z. ZZZ-Snatcher (last book that kept you up WAY late)

I don't read in bed, really, so this doesn't happen. I think the last time it happened was something like two years ago, with The Good Earth.

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