Saturday, February 02, 2008


Quotidian Grace tagged me for the Book Meme. It's a hard one, so I am cheating and only answering the easy questions. My excuse is that I am reading Jeremiah, and a gannet can only handle so much pondering and cogitating before she is overcome by the desire to swoop from her cliff out over the sea.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

Well, QG already took Eat.Pray.Love. So I'll skip the rant. Except to say that I still love that PeaceBang retitled it Gripe.Brag.Screw.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Mary Lennox, Nancy Drew, Scout Finch, and Anne Shirley, for a long afternoon on an empty beach to discuss how everything has turned out. Some time ago I started a sermon on the importance of narrative, and realized that all of my favorite fictional characters are girls without mothers -- creative and determined and insightful girls without mothers. How surprising (not) . And my idea of the perfect social event is pretty simple: people + beach + conversation.

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it's past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

You know, I stop reading as soon as I get bored. I'm sure there are lots of such books, but I have forgotten them all. (We are not counting Baugh's A New Testament Greek Primer, are we?)

Come on, we've all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?

I'm thinking that has to be War and Peace.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to 'reread' it that you haven't? Which book?

I'm afraid that the opposite is usually the case for me: I'll see what looks to be an interesting and as yet unread book on my shelves, and take it down to discover turned down pages and my own handwriting in the margins. No recollection whatever.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

Francais! I want to read Camus and les philosophes -- and Le Monde, every morning in a little cafe in Chartres.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favorite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

I love this question!

It's the entire second floor of my house above the dunes, with huge windows open to the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Matanzas River on the west. Pelicans and egrets abound; sometimes they land on the railing of the deck that surrunds the room.

The walls are white and the floor to ceiling shelves are a golden oak. The wall-to-wall carpet is a soft teal, the lamps are brass, and there are two loveseat-sized sofas for sinking into. There are a couple of wide tables, because I am a piler and not a filer, and some of the bookshelves have doors so that I can pile journals and odd-sized books inside and be spared the sight of the chaos that ensues.

The books are of every possible kind, size, shape, and condition and are organized by topic -- someone comes in and does that for me every few days since I am incapable of it on my own -- so that when I want one I can actually find it and don't need to go out and purchase a new copy, which in my current situation usually takes less time than than the search would. Some of the shelves are clear of books and display pottery and small paintings and photographs.

And I just made a quick estimate of the number of books in our library at home, from whence I am typing at this very moment: I am guessing well over 1,000. And that doesn't count the books piled in the dining room, kitchen, sunroom, living room, basement, attic, and every bedroom. This dream library of mine needs to be pretty big.

Oh, and there are three cats. Two stretched out on windowsills and one across the middle of the floor, each of whom occasionally deigns to join me and purr on my tummy when I am reading.


MartaSzabo said...

If you'd like to read the hardcore version of Eat Pray Love, i.e. the real life behind-the-scenes memoir of what it was like to live in Gurumayi's ashrams, I invite you over to read my memoir:

Quotidian Grace said...

Great play, GG!

I actually did read War and Peace years ago. But don't remember it very well.

It's comforting to see someone besides me has had the experience of completely forgetting I read that book before!

Kathryn J said...

I'm going to come visit your library - it sounds perfect.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Well, *sniffs haughtily* I have NOT read War and Peace. But I HAVE read Crime and Punishment. Though not in Russian.

I loooooovvvve your library. Can we take turns between yours and mine for book club parties?