Jan 26, 2008

Eva's Reading Meme

Eva tagged me for this fun reading meme that she created:

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
Hm, I can’t think of a specific book, but I can think of a few authors. Jodi Picoult is one. A lot of people whose opinion I trust like her, but somehow I keep thinking she’s not for me. One day I’ll find out if I’m wrong or not.
Actually, I can think of a book. Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It’s funny, because more than once I’ve read a review that makes me go “that’s it, I’m picking it up.” But then some time passes and the irrational cringing returns.

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?
Let’s see…I’m not big on social events that involve more than half a dozen people, so it would either be an afternoon tea or a quiet dinner party. And the characters would be Tenar from the Earthsea series, Granny Aching from Discworld, and Death from the Sandman series (no, not Discworld's Death this time, although he’d be most welcome to my little gathering too. As long as it wasn’t to collect anyone, of course). Tenar is an immensely wise and gentle woman who understands things in half the time that it normally takes most people. I would just love to have a conversation with her. Granny Aching is a character we never get to see directly in the books, and perhaps that’s why I’d love to meet her so much. She’s so intriguing. And Death…I can’t imagine reading the series and not wanting to have a friend like her. She could cheer anyone up and she just sounds so pleasant to have around.
I would probably pick another three tomorrow.

(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 think it would be Moby Dick. Although I enjoy some of Melville’s shorter fiction, I cannot imagine reading this book and not being bored to death.

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 haven’t claimed to have read a book I haven’t per se, but, as an English major, I am properly ashamed of myself for never having read any Jane Austen, so I have been known to just smile and nod knowingly if she ever comes up in a conversation. That will change this year, I promise.

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?
Hm, I can’t remember that ever happening, no. But there are some books I clearly remember reading in my childhood, like David Copperfield, that I’m sure will be like new to me when I read them again. I can’t remember a thing.

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) This is a hard one. It depends on the VIP, of course. But I’d probably go with an impossible not to love classic like To Kill A Mocikingbird. Why? Because
I think it’s one of those stories that make people realize just how wonderful books are.

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?
Japanese. The reason is the fact that it’s so different from Western languages that I can’t imagine the translations being very similar to the original at all. I always feel a bit uncomfortable with translations. With an author like Murakami, for example, I feel like I have access to his ideas, but not to his actual writing, to the way he words things. How do his books sound in the original? Of course I have a lot of respect for the translators who struggle to find equivalents for things in different languages, but with translations I always feel a slight distance from the work in question, and it makes me uncomfortable.

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? Definitely Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I don’t think I could ever tire of it.

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)?
Strange as it might sound, blogging made me read more mainstream fiction. I have always read all sorts of books, but sometimes I tend to get lost in my little world of fairy tales, fantasy and comics. The several reading challenges I joined helped me ensure that I always have books of different genres on my reading plans. Also, there are certain mainstream books, like “The Secret Life of Bees”, that I’m sure I would have never picked up if it weren’t for the blogging community. I'm glad I did.

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.
My dream library would have both paperback and hardcover editions of my favourite books. I love nice hardcovers, but they are not very good for carrying around, so if I could, I’d have both. It’d also have signed books by my favourite authors: Neil Gaiman, Ursula Le Guin, Diana Wynne Jones, Jeffrey Eugenides, Douglas Coupland (no mention of Terry Pratchett because I’m lucky enough to already have some). As for the place itself…it would have high shelves in some kind of sand-coloured wood. It would also have a nice big comfy chair next to a huge window. Actually, the library would be in the corner the house and it would have two big windows in different walls, to let the lots of daylight in. How I love a naturally well-lit room. What else…a nice couch, a coffee table, a few puffs or big pillows on the floor to sit in, and a nice fluffy rug.

Now I’m supposed to tag four people. I’ve sort of lost track of who has been tagged and who hasn’t, but here it goes:

Darla D


  1. I quite like Jodi Picoult's books, but there are one or two that I'm just not interested, perhaps it's the story premise that just doesn't suck me in.

    Wow, and I can see Moby Dick tops the list for being the most boring novel on earth. ;P

    Hope you have a great weekend, Nymeth. :)

  2. Melody: Yeah, some of her story lines sound a bit too...soap opera-ish? But I've been told that she executes the stories really well, and I know that a lot of people admire the way she presents the various sides of an issue without being melodramatic in the least. I WILL give her a try someday.

    And thank you :) Have a great weekend too!

  3. Thanks for tagging me, Nymeth! It's a very interesting meme, and I'm enjoying reading all the responses to it on different blogs. I'll work on it and post my responses soon.

  4. Yep, I just KNEW you'd have really interesting answers! (Which is why I tagged you, too...not knowing you'd already been tagged, of course.)

    I haven't read any Picoult either. I have picked up a couple really cheap thinking that I really should give her a try. Haven't cracked one open yet though.

    Sounds like quite an interesting little dinner party there!

  5. I'm actually a big fan of Jodi Picoult. I've read about 6 of her books, and as good as they are, they are hard to read. Not because of the way they are written, but the topics are always tough. And they one thing she does do is show all sides to a story. They are just so heart-wrenching!!

    I love your answers!!

  6. Good call on _Life of Pi_! The story is interesting, but the writing is not. :-)

    Jane Austen, on the other hand, lives up to all the hype! I hope you'll start with _Pride and Prejudice_ as it really is her best! :-)

  7. I hadn't thought of Life of Pi, but that's another book that makes me cringe at the thought of reading despite all the glowing reviews.

    I love the sound of your library! I can see having two sets of your favorites-hardbound and paperback for ease of reading. That makes a lot of sense. :-)

  8. I really enjoyed Life of Pi, I hope you can get over your cringing and get around to it someday. Death from The Sandman is very cool so I can see why you would want to hang out with her. Also Tenar is my favourite character from the Earthsea books.

  9. I loved "Life of Pi". It made me laugh, but I know others who truly disliked it. Isn't diversity wonderful.
    Signed books! What a great idea.

  10. I agree with you on Jodi Picoult. I've read a few of her books, and don't want to touch anymore. Her writing style bores me and they seem so- melodramatic. Not nearly as boring as Moby Dick, though! I'd never thought of having paperbacks included in a perfect library just for their convenience- what a great idea. Plus, then you can read them to death and keep the hardcovers pristine!

  11. Poor Melville! I don't think I've seen one person stand up for Moby Dick yet. :)

    Death from the Sandman series would be fun to hang out with, as would Granny Aching (haven't read that other series)!

  12. Last year, I read my first Jodi Picoult book...and hated it. I was shocked when I wrote a review on my blog and I actually had comments from fans that were rather..um...testy,to say the least! LOL

  13. I have enjoyed the Picoult books I've read so far. Could easily get a bit sick of them though, so have steered clear of reading anymore for a while. They are a quick read, although because of the subject matter probably not an "easy" read.

    Life of Pi is one I have had on my shelf for a long time, and I keep thinking I ought to read it, then never do.

    Granny Aching is an awesome choice, and I know exactly what you mean about her.

    Moby Dick is incredibly dull...

  14. You know Moby Dick will be on my list, too (shudder). Although I will say that I can stand up for poor Melville with some of his short stories, like "Bartleby the Scrivener," which I always thought was kind of fun. Thanks for the tag- I will have a lot of fun with this one!

  15. I'm one of those readers who love Jodi Picoult. I have to admit I wasn't as impressed with her last two, but I love her nonetheless.

    Okay, your paragraph on Jane Austen could have been written by me. I'm also an English major (well, was an English major, since I graduated 10 years ago) who hasn't read Austen. The Triple 8 Challenge will take care of that this year, but I still feel the shame!

  16. Thanks for tagging me!

    I haven't read Picoult either but my sister seems to like her. Oh well. She owns Moby Dick, a book I never bothered borrowing from her too. Hahaha!

    Life of Pi is on my Book Awards Reading Challenge list and I still haven't touched it. Hahaha! Oh no!

    Now, Granny Aching's a wise choice. I'd like to meet her as well.

    Interesting answers, really. Haven't read any from the Earthsea series so I'm quite unfamiliar with Tenar.

  17. Robin: You're welcome! It's a great meme, isn't it? I loved reading everyone's replies!

    Debi: Thanks for tagging me anyway!

    Stephanie: You're one of those people with great taste who recommend her. I will try her one day!

    Renee: I guess that with a good enough story I can get over less than great writing. As for Austen, Pride and Prejudice is indeed the one I intend to start with!

    Literary Feline: I also really don't know why it makes me cringe...some things are just impossible to explain.

    Rhinoa: I remember your review, and how it made me think I really should get over myself and give it a try. One day, one day. And if you like Tenar, you really need to read the most recent Earthsea books!

    Framed: There are some books that people seem to either love or hate! But yeah, it would be very boring if it were otherwise.

    Jeane: I have that impression of Picoult, but it's really based on absolutely nothing. Some people agree, some say it's the opposite...I'm going to have to see for myself one day. And yup, it'd be great to be able to keep my hardbacks in mind condition!

    Eva: Neither have I. And like I said I even like some Melville, but I just can't get past the first few chapters of Moby Dick.

    Boudicca: That's just immature of people. I haven't seen that in book blogs so far, but in music blogs it happens all the time. People get REALLY aggressive if someone posts an opinion that isn't the same as their own.

    Quixotic: I will try her one day, even if just out of sheer curiosity. Isn't Granny Aching great? I think it takes a lot to be able to make a character that isn't even actually in the books so appealing!

    Darla: I like Bartleby too, and Benito Cereno, and some of his other stories. But Moby Dick...just no.

    Susan: When I finally try Picoult I'll pick one of the earlier books, then!

    Lightheaded: You're welcome! I think you'd really like Earthsea! And I look forward to your thoughts on Life of Pi.

  18. I have always love the cover to Life of Pi but it is one I too generally cringe away from.

    Death would be a fun, and cute, choice for a get together. Certainly many of Neil's iconic characters would be interesting to have at a party.

    Moby Dick always cracks me up because of the ongoing use of it in the graphic novel Bone and how Bone always puts everyone to sleep reading it or talking about it. It was a fun running gag in the series.

  19. I'm not a fan of Picoult either. I've read 3 of her books and that's it, no more.
    Jane Austen though is great!
    I completely agree with you on Japanese being so different from Western languages and feeling a bit uncomfortable with translations. Wouldn't it be wonderful to read Murakami in the original?


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