Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Book Meme

My sexy FG did this meme and I'm doing it, too. I'm feeling very happy this week & pleased with life, in spite of having insane amounts of work to do and deadlines looming, and I just feel like blogging. Maybe I'll blog every day this week just for the heck of it. (Hello, ecstasy half of spring! Hello! So glad you've dropped by!)

1) What author do you own the most books by?

Salman Rushdie. One of my good childhood friends loaned me his children's chapter book, "Haroun and the Sea of Stories," when I was a 14 or so and I was hooked. ("Look out! Slow down! Don't be funny! Life is precious, cars cost money!") That summer I took "Midnight's Children" out of the library, feeling very daring. The public librarians in my town were very old-fashioned and barely approved of kids being in the adult section at all, much less borrowing thick foreign novels by authors with fatwas against them. I mean, it just wasn't done. Anyway I worked my way through the book that summer on the porch, mesmerized by the language and the descriptions of Indian life and history. I even bought myself a jar of mango chutney. Over the next several years I worked my way through most of the rest of his books: "Shame," "Satanic Verses," "The Moor's Last Sigh," "Imaginary Homelands." I bought "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" new when it came out in hardcover and devoured it. I living in California when "Fury" came out and was distraught at having to wait several extra days for it to be shipped from the East Coast. But, ultimately I didn't think much of it, and I haven't read any of his more recent stuff, either.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?

I think I don't have any repeats. I give them away when I end up with them.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

No. Silly rule. Like Winston Churchill supposedly said, this is English up with which I cannot put.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Vina Apsara from "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" (Salman Rushdie)

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)?

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon. I think it's brilliant. Every time I read it I find something new. And I also find the language oddly soothing.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

Hm, I'm not really sure. I read a lot of cotton candy books when I was ten, Encyclopedia Brown and kids' mysteries and Baby Sitters Club (yes, really). Life didn't get interesting for another year or so, when Joseph Heller's "Picture This" sent me on a binge of reading grown-up books with Big Ideas. Oh, and I discovered and inhaled the complete Sherlock Holmes.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

I don't know, something I wanted to cite that I probably just skimmed.

8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Judith Butler, "Gender Trouble"

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

I wish I could say Leslie Feinberg's "Stone Butch Blues" but I'm not sure it would work. I'm not sure they would get it. Wait, I mean 'everyone in the world' here. I'm only tagging Jess, of course. Jess has already read it and definitely got it.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Me! The first person to win for their blog! (Hey, I could use the prize money, ok?)

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

No idea. I'm horrible about watching movies. I drive FG crazy with movie deprivation. I'm a terrible partner.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

See above.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

I think I dreamed I was in Jean Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear" once. But it was a long time ago. I don't really remember.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

Can I go for magazine here? For several years in my late teens/early twenties I had an unhealthy adoration for "Men's Health". You're stunned, I'm sure.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics" There's so much brilliance there and it's not easy to read but it was so worth it. Lucky for me I was reading it on a train that broke down and I sat there in the sunny train seat for two hours and soaked it in, and after that, it made a lot more sense. I saw her speak recently, too, and again my brain felt like it had had a workout. I'm a fan.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?

Dunno. I have trouble keeping them straight.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

I like the Russian novels I've read: "Anna Karenina" and "Crime and Punishment" leap to mind. I almost let a boat float away when I was reading the latter secretly on a summer job in college. But I love French literature too, though I have an idiosyncratic view and modern & Francophone taste: Michel Butor rather than Victor Hugo, Maryse Condé rather than George Sand.

18) Roth or Updike?

Roth. I haven't read anything by Updike but I thought "Portnoy's Complaint" was so much damn fun. The scene where he wanks with the liver...

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

Like my darling FG, I have only read Sedaris. He made me laugh.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

All of the above, though none with special enthusiasm.

21) Austen or Eliot?

All of the above: Jane Austen I came to late, but love; George Eliot's "Middlemarch" is a favorite; and hey, I quoted T.S. Eliot a few posts back, I can't be dissing him now.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

American fiction. I didn't even finish "Huckleberry Finn". That's how bad it is.

23) What is your favorite novel?

I don't really have one. I have about 25 favorites. And don't worry, I'm not going to list them here. Each favorite is so special that I couldn't rank it.

24) Play?

Not sure, I'm not that into plays. We just saw "Endgame" (Samuel Beckett) though and damn that was some good stuff.

25) Poem?

I haven't read as much poetry as I'd like. I really like W.B. Yeats and what I've read of T.S. Eliot.

26) Essay?

I like Joan Scott's "Gender as a Category of Historical Analysis"... it's smart and well-constructed as an essay in my opinion. Not sure it's my favorite but it's what I thought of.

27) Short story?

The Bank Robbery by Steven Schutzman. Gotta agree with FG on this one. (And don't go pressing any alarm buttons or I'll blow your head off.)

28) Work of nonfiction?

Judith Butler, "Gender Trouble"

29) Who is your favorite writer?

See answer for novels above.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Oh, what a mean question.

31) What is your desert island book?

"Ulysses" by James Joyce. I know I could get more each time. As it is, I don't have time for even a second round.

32) And… what are you reading right now?

My own fucking dissertation. (Oops, did I say that?)


Butch Boo said...

Oh fab!

My faves too- QR read Haroun to me...loved it, truly beautiful story telling (and read out by a beauty too)!

The Curious Incident- I read whilst lying in a hammock in Lesbos


Stone Butch Blues I read whilst floating in a rubber ring in the villa pool QR and I rented in Paxos last year.

I'd give you an award for your writing!



LL Cool Joe said...

I couldn't resist having a go at this one!

Very interesting meme, and it doesn't surprise me at all that you are so well read either. :)

Jess said...

I love you for tagging me (again). I'm not going to do this Meme because I really don't read much and it would be boring for someone else to read. LOL.

SBB however, probably had the most impact on my life of any other book I've read. It was nice to be able to relate to a character so well, and also the realistic historical references in the book were really reassuring to me. If that makes sense at all.

Side note. I'm starting to miss my shot glasses, when can we come retrieve them? ;) And NO, I don't want you to mail them. You are stuck with a visit.

Hahn at Home said...

This was a great meme and if I had any kind of time, I'd do it too. Hmm, maybe this weekend.

Thanks for sharing - most interesting choices to be sure.

QueerRose said...

Hey Leo! Haroun and the Sea of Stories is one of my favourite books. I've read it so many times! Like BB said, even once to her!
Have you read anything by Rohinton Mistry? You might like his stuff - try A Fine Balance. QRx

Anonymous said...

Hi Leo -

I have an award for you over on my blog to start our Monday off on a positive foot...

It would take me an entire blog post to comment on how many of your favorite readings are also on my list. ;-)

Dyke Evolution said...

Stone Butch Blues - what an amazing book!

MLC said...

I LOVE this meme and books - so I need to take a crack at it this weekend.

MLC said...


Finally -- got there.