Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm Back Again and Eva's Reading Meme

I'm exhausted from playing the tourist in my own city this weekend, but we had so much fun. I know Megan had a great time going to all of our favorite "New Orleans places" and we had a tad bit too much fun on Bourbon Street Saturday night which left us in bed for most of the morning on Sunday, but that's what Bourbon Street's all about :p The trip was short, which sucked, but we definitely made the most out of it and turned it into a really good visit and hopefully I'll be reporting to Texas soon for some interviews and visiting time! And then all of this long distance stuff will finally be over with. That will indeed be a great day!

So I'm back now to book blogging after the weekend hiatus, and I thought I'd start with Eva's reading meme that I've been tagged for by quite a few people! Here it goes:

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

You know, I thought and thought on this one and I really can't think of a particular book that I cringe away from. I can however think of a genre that I cringe away from....All that late 19th/early 20th century period piece literature. I know there's a literary name for that (someone help me out here, I'm not a lit major :p) . I'm hoping to remedy that by reading two Jane Austen books this year...we'll see how it goes. I've tried Edith Wharton twice and couldn't get into her. And I've just completely avoided anything else from that period despite people loving it. I do love Dickens, but his writing tended to focus on the every day person and real life stuff rather than high society...maybe I have the wrong idea of the genre, we'll see!

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?

I'd like to have a little back yard barbecue for my guests. Something where people could sit around, talk, pick on food and just mingle with one another. Maybe listen to some good music in the background...I'm currently listening to Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman on audiobook and forgot how great of a character Richard Mayhew is...he'd definitely be invited along for the BBQ. He seems like he'd be a nice guy to sit down and hang out with and he'd have some interesting tales to tell. I would LOVE to have a hobbit at a backyard BBQ while we're telling stories. And tell me they wouldn't enjoy an outdoor meal! The problem is, which one? I suppose I'd go with Frodo, although I've always loved Bilbo's story so much...I do have 4 editions of The Hobbit after all. And finally, I don't know how many of you are familiar with The Bone People by Keri Hulme, but it's an amazing Maori book and there's a sort of tragic character that I absolutely loved by the name of Kerewin. She's an awesome Maori native who I'd love to get to know more.

(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?

I'll prepare to be shot down by some, though I know by not all....but I would rather shoot myself in the foot than to ever have to read The Great Gatsby again. Call it a classic, but I couldn't stand it! Sorry to those who love it :O

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've never blatantly admitted to having read a book that I haven't before, but I've hinted that I have when it comes to people talking about books or books being made into movies that didn't stick to the book and blah blah...This happened recently with Lord of the Flies actually (yes, I haven't read Lord of the Flies! I know, I need to remedy that!) I just nodded as if I knew exactly what they meant :p

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?

No, it's usually the opposite...Sometimes I'll think that I hadn't ever read a book and then I'll go read it and think "wait a minute, I know this story". Not that this happens often, but it has. Last time this happened was with Tom Sawyer. I thought it was ashame that I had never read this, so I started reading it and realized that I had and it brought back a flood of memories of being a kid. Kinda neat experience actually.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP)

Definitely Lois Lowry's The Giver. It's an amazing book that really focuses on what's important in humanity and what makes human relationships special and what makes our bonds work...what makes our civilization work. And it shows how trying to aim for sameness,trying to erase our differences just doesn't work. The world needs diversity. Plus, if the VIP isn't a big reader, it's short :p

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?

Hi good fairy! Easy answer here..Japanese! I love Japanese literature and I'm really stuck in that state of mind right now with Bellezza's challenge. I've always had a fascination with the Japanese language though. I love their written characters, I love their spoken language, and there's even expression in the way that the characters are written. As Nymeth mentioned in her answer to this question, I would love read a Haruki Murakami book in it's original Japanese. As much as I enjoyed Norwegian Wood in it's English translation, I'm sure that much of it was lost. Same goes with The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima. I'd love to read it in it's original, and I could just tell when I was reading it that some of it had been "americanized". I guess it couldn't be helped.

A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Well this fairy doesn't sound mischievious at sounds like the good fairy again ;) This one's easy for me too...American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Yes it's chunky, but I could never tire of it. It's such an amazing book. Each page blew me away.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

The main thing that I've discovered from book blogging is reading outside of my genre of choice which was fantasy. I still LOVE my fantasy books and they're still my favorites, but looking at my list of books read last year, I read about half and half fantasy and non-fantasy which was a BIG change for me! I've also loved this community that I've discovered of people to talk to about books. I've never had this before and it's just amazing. It makes me all warm and fuzzy. Before it was just me and occasionally my classmates if I happened to be in a literature course. And that was back when I was an undergrad.

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 favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free. I wish...First of all, I was thinking...we would all have to have mansions in order to have our dream do realize this? Of course it would be a decent sized room, but not huge...I'm going for cozy. And I'd like to have a nice domed ceiling with marble floors. Definitely Mahogany shelves from ceiling to floor with the rolling ladder. I'd love to have a few large windows that let plenty of sunlight in during the day with window seats and then soft yellow lighting for night time. And I'd love a fireplace! I would definitely need to have some plush chairs or sofas with an ottoman that were just right with a coffee table. An espresso machine would be nice along with a tea kettle, so I could have my choice of reading beverages. As far as the books go, I'm a fan of hardbacks or trade paperbacks and I'd need to have all of my authors entire collections :p preferably signed, first editions and I'd love to have the special editions (like Neil Gaiman's Hill House editions *drool*) Getting the idea yet?

And Now to tag four people!

Deslily @ Here, There, & Everywhere
Scott @ Booky Ooky

This was an awesome meme, Eva :) I have to say that it's the most fun I've ever had filling one out...great job!


cj said...

Bourbon Street! I was there in 1984 and have been wanting to go back ever since. I absolutely fell in love with The Big Easy...

Oh! I forgot all about The Great Gatsby when I answered this one. I'm with you there.

And I really do need to try American Gods again. Really.

The mailman was very nice to me today! He brought me a package all the way from the great state of LA. Thank you so very much!

Quixotic said...

Oh I loathed The Great Gatsby...completely. We really are book twins! ;)

Thanks for tagging me - will get round to answering sometime this week. :)

Nymeth said...

I'm glad to hear you had fun, despite Megan's visit being so short. Hopefully the long distance thing will soon be over for guys more than deserve it!

You're not the first person to say it's a good idea to stay away from The Great Gatsby :P I know some people love it, but I can't say I'm too interested in that one.

I wouldn't mind re-reading American Gods every year either. And I REALLY have to read The Giver soon. And your dream library sounds lovely!

Marg said...

I think I would love to go and drop in on one of the hobbit's tea parties. That whole opening scene from The Hobbit is one of my favourites!

Debi said...

That's so funny...I opted for a backyard barbecue, too. And then I started reading The Fellowship of the Ring (FINALLY!) and couldn't help but think how entertaining it would be to have some hobbits join our little party.

Anyway, so glad to hear you and Megan had such a wonderful time! Wish you'd post some pictures...I'd love to see some real life pictures of Bourbon Street. And I hope you'll be heading off to Texas for some interviews and Megan-time real soon!

Stephanie said...

So glad to hear that you and Megan are getting some quality time together. Bourbon Street rocks!! Of course, the last time I was there, I'm quite sure I was the only sober person in the entire city. It's not a lot of fun spending New Year's Eve in the mother of all party places, and not be able to drink!! (I was expecting my little Anastasia, at the time!) Still, it was a great experience!!

I think I could probably read American Gods every year!! Great answers!

Carl V. said...

I'm glad you had a nice, albeit brief, visit. Hope you find yourself in the BIG state soon.

I don't have a problem with 'good' period piece literature (Jane Austen's works, A Room with a View, stuff like that). You might want to try something like that with a bit of a twist...say, Tom Jones (or more aptly titled, The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones) by Henry Fielding. A true classic work that is both fun and a bit naughty. Or maybe something by Wilkie Collins that is certainly a period piece but has that melodramatic gothic air about it.

Lady Door is generally on my list of invites when I do these things but I decided I wanted to try more recent characters this time. I always see Laura Fraser in the role from the Neverwhere BBC series and I really like her so she as Lady Door always seems an obvious choice for me.

Make sure I get an invite when that library is open for visitors!

Bookfool said...

I'm glad you had a good visit and hope you manage to find something wonderful in Texas.

Bourbon Street . . . eck. Not my thing.

I thought about The Great Gatsby, but I've only attempted to read that one once or twice. It may have come close to killing me; I thought it was very, very painful.

Thanks for tagging me! I'd seen this one so many places and not been tagged ('cause I've been a bad blogger and my visitors are dwindling) that I tagged myself at Kookie's blog. It's a fun one, isn't it? :)

Literacy-chic said...

Okay, so tempt me, why don't you!! Jane Austen is Romantic literature. Mid- to Late-Nineteenth Century British is Victorian (Dickens & such) and Early Twentieth Century (Woolf, Forster, Joyce) is Modernist lit. The first two categories are exclusively British, though there was a Romantic movement of sorts in America. Wharton is much more intersting than Henry James--don't even try James--ugh!! I would second the Forster recommendation, recommend Wharton's ghost stories, short stories (especially "Roman Fever"), and House of Mirth--NOT Ethan Frome. I couldn't get past the first page of that one. With early 20th C, sometimes its best to stick with the short stories--Joyce & Woolf for example. I find Austen unreadable--the novel just doesn't become what we know & love today before Dickens. The story lines are good, the writing is just--dull.

So that ends the unsolicited English lesson portion of this email!!

Yeah, Great Gatsby. Yuck. What more is there to say, really?

P.S.--You've been tagged again! Don't worry, it's an easy one! ;)

Literacy-chic said...

Er... comment, not email!

Darla D said...

The Giver! That's a perfect choice. And I agree with Carl V - I think you'd enjoy Wilkie Collins. Have you ever read Jane Eyre? I picked that up when I was a kid, not knowing and never suspecting I was reading a musty old "classic" - it was very gripping! Glad you had fun with Megan. My husband and I had lots of long-distance time before we finally got in the same place together, and I feel for you. Although I'll never forget the amazing intensity of the time we did get to spend together during that period. :-)

Chris said...

CJ, It's an easy city to fall in love with. If I end up moving to Austin I don't know if it could ever be a permanent move. I'd miss this city so much. There would def. be plenty of visits. Wasn't the Great Gatsby awful :p And you do need to try American Gods again! It's incredible ;) Maybe not for everyone though, but then again, I'll make an argument for that ;) You're welcome for the book...I hope you enjoy it!

Quix, Book twins we are! Although I don't think it takes exact reading tastes to loathe the Great Gatsby :p God I'm bashing that book today, lol...Can't wait to see your answers!

Nymeth, It really was a fun visit...despite it being short. We barely slept though, so it felt a lot longer than three days. We made it work. Yeah...I'd definitely stay clear of The Great Gatsby, though it's supposedly one of the "greatest american novels ever written". I really tend to oppose what some of the literary people call american classics though...though I love some of them too. Oh, you do have to read The Giver soon! You could read it in a couple of hours, seriously. I keep thinking that you've read that one already. It was so good. And you're invited to my library anytime you want ;)

Marg, That's exactly what I was thinking of! I'd love to have a party with a hobbit...couldn't beat that :)

Debi, You have to have hobbits at a party! They're such a fun bunch :) Hey we could have one big BBQ and combine our lot :p I almost invited Shadow anyway, so there we go! I was going to post a few pictures, but I didn't take any actually on bourbon street...just inside the bars. I should've though...her roommate (who also came down)might have taken some. I can get her to send them to me. But yeah, we had a really good time...and I think I might have an interview soon!!

Stephanie, I seriously wouldn't doubt it if you were the only sober person in the city :p Especially on New Years Eve...even if there were other pregnant women down Street is fun to an extent. I couldn't do it every night. It's disgusting, lol..but it's definitely like no other place and it's a lot of fun to do maybe once a year. I couldn't go out there every night though! You should come back down here!!!

Carl, I might have an interview in the BIG state real soon!! Yay! That'll rock! Megan's been trying to get me to read A Room with a View too...I'll have to try it. Now you see, I love gothic lit from around that time and I definitely plan on trying some Wilkie Collins for RIP this year. I should say that I shy away from those high society romantic type novels...but I think most of us guys do...but I really can't wait to read Jane Austen, so maybe I don't cringe too bad :p I thought of inviting Door too when I was putting my list together! But then I though of poor Richard and thought "this poor guy needs some R&R" so he got the invite. And you've definitely got an invite when the library opens ;)

Bookfool, I'm hoping something wonderful comes along in Texas too! Lord knows I've been waiting for something long enough, lol...Bourbon street isn't really my thing either, but whenever visitors are in town, that's where they want to go! So that's where we went, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We went to Pat O'Brien's which was SO much fun. It's actually relaxing out there in the courtyard believe it or not. The Great Gatsby was just awful and the teacher that I had that taught it in high school though it was the most wonderful book ever written...I just sat there thinking "really??? Am I stupid and missing something?" I'd recommend that you don't attempt it again :p This was a fun meme and I loved your answers! Glad you did it!

N, I knew you would be the one to step up and give me my literature lesson! Thanks for that! Seriously...I really wanted those terms! I've read some of Woolf's short stories and I really enjoyed those, though I can't remember what now. I read them in some class at UNO. And I'd like to read some Forster too, though who knows when I'll get to that...maybe one of these days when another challenge comes out! The Wharton I tried was The Age of Innocence and I couldn't get past the first 30 pages...I tried it twice and it was just a nightmare. I RARELY have this problem, but it was a no-go for me. I wanted to tag you for this one too, but with your very sad Lenten sacrifice (:() I didn't know if you'd have time to squeeze this one in. But if you do have time, I would LOVE to read you answers :)

Darla, I haven't read Jane Eyre and that's something I've been trying to remedy for years! I've loved all the productions I've watched of it, but I've never read the book. I plan on doing some Wilkie Collins reading for RIP this year. Looking forward to that! I haven't heard many bad reviews at all there! Long Distance is rough, but you're right...those moments that you do get together and the long conversations on the phone are so much more meaningful. But I'd trade it for seeing her every day ;)

Stormfilled said...

Richard Mayhew over the Marquis? Never! I'm a big Marquis fan...

You really should give Wuthering Heights a try. If you can avoid being bogged down in Lockwood's narration and hold out for Nelly's, it's a truly wonderful book and merrily smashes the conventions that you would normally associate with Victorian literature. You might also love GK Chesterton. The Napoleon of Notting Hill is superb!

Excellent meme. I'm now happily imagining my library. There's a ladder on wheels.

DesLily said...

of course I am most happy that you and Megan had such a good time. (sorry it was so short).

tag huh? well I've read and read yours and others on this meme and still can't really come up with many of the answers to the questions.. I may however attempt the ones I can relate to if that's alright?

Chris said...

Stormfilled, The Marquis at a BBQ! That would be fun too :D It's funny because Carl picked said that he usually picks Door for these things. We should just have a Neverwhere reunion! I think I may have tried Wuthering Heights before, but I'm note entirely's not too long if I recall...I'll try it again! And you should do this meme!! It was lots of fun and I'd love to read your answers :)

Deslily, I had to tag you for this one :p I'd love to read your answers for any of them...I didn't think I'd be able to answer some of these either, but the answers ended up just coming out. You were the first person to jump in my head for this one though!

DesLily said...

if anyone already knows my answers even to the few i will answer it's YOU! duh. I think I talk more to you than I do my birth sons!.. make that, I KNOW I talk more to you than them! sheesh ...

Chris said...

Deslily, Why am I picturing a wizards party with Abbercorn as the guest of honor? ;) Answer all the questions! It'll be fun :p

DesLily said...

LOL.. you are so funny! To be sure a party with Abbercorn, Gandalf, and Belgarath would be AWSOME!!!!

Eva said...

Thanks! I'm glad you had a fun weekend, even if it was tiring. I'm still jealous of you possibly moving to Austin...I wish there was an awesome international relations program there! (Not that UT in general isn't awesome, but it doesn't fit my needs)

Chris said...

Oh yes, I have to have a fireplace in my library too.

Chris said...

Eva, It was quite a fun meme, and quite a fun weekend :) Are you looking for PhD programs right now too? Where at?

Other Chris, A necessity! Of course I would be eyeing it from the corner of my eye constantly for fear of having fire in the middle of a room of books!

Bellezza said...

Yes, I'd love to read Japanese...but, I'd also love to read Russian. Egads, think of all the characters those two languages would involve!

p.s. Would a Megan who commented on my blog, a lovely comment by the way, be yours?

Chris said...

Bellezza, Russian would be fun too! I just watched a Russian movie and the language really is fun, though I've barely read any Russian lit yet, so I didn't pick that language...I'd like to read more this year though! Starting with that GIANT War and Peace. And I'm afraid that Megan wasn't mine...but that was a very sweet comment :) I thought it may have been mine too...very similar personality it seems!

Carrie K said...

American Gods is a great choice and I agree with you about The Great Gatsby. The movie wasn't much better.