Jul 31, 2008

Memes and Awards

I'm currently recovering from a few days last week spent hiking through mountains and forests and walking around 12kms a day. I know that's not all that much for some people, but for me it really is. I didn't have much luck when it came to spotting any wildlife, but the landscapes were so beautiful. I'm going to have to do a post with pictures soon.

Anyway, I decided to spend today being a couch potato and catching up with some memes I was tagged for ages ago. Susan tagged me for this great reading meme:

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
To be honest, I don't. It's something that's always been a part of me. While I wasn't read to much as a child, there were always lots of books around the house, and I was given books and encouraged to read even before I knew how to. My parents are both bookish, so I guess I just followed their example.

What are some books you read as a child?
I read Alice Veira (a Portuguese children's author) a lot. I read a children's mystery series that was sort of like Enid Blyton's Famous Five. Hmm, what else. Tom Sawyer (countless times) and Huckleberry Finn. The Little Prince. Michael Gibson's Gods, Men and Monsters from the Greek Myths, the book that made me fall in love with mythology. Fairy tales, but only the most well-known ones. I had books with selected tales from Perrault, Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

I particularly rememeber a collection of four beautifully illustrated fairy tales: Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Puss in Boots. The books came with an audio version too, and the narrator was really, really good. I loved listening to it while looking at the illustrations. I remember that they used Vivaldi as background music in the tape, and to this day The Four Seasons makes me think of fairy tales. I also remember that the versions of the fairy tales used were not sanitized. In Snow White, the stepmother was made to dance in the red hot iron shoes until she dropped dead. And at the end of Puss in Boots, the Cat faked his own death to see if he'd be honoured with a big funeral, and ended up being burried alive. This was the last story in the collection, and that final image of him locked in his coffin made quite an impression on my young mind.

What is your favorite genre?
Fantasy. I'm particularly fond of retellings of myths and fairy tales. I also like historical fiction a lot, although I haven't read much of it in the past few years. But I'll read mostly any genre, as long as the book appeals to me.

Do you have a favorite novel?
Not just one! Some of my favourites are Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, The Other Wind by Ursula Le Guin, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, and I could go on. But I bet that those who've been reading this blog for a while are tired of hearing me blab about these books :P

Where do you usually read?
In buses and trains, at home in my bed with my cats cuddling beside me, in my special reading chair by the window, at the library.

When do you usually read?
In the early evening, in bed before going to sleep, during my lunch break, whenever I have more than 10 minutes free, while waiting for things.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
I didn't use to, but these days I do, yes. I normally only read one novel at a time, but I like reading a non-fiction book and/or a collection of short stories at the same time.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
I think I read it more slowly, especially if it's a book on a topic that's new to me and if I want to absorb everything properly.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
I buy or mooch the majority of them. I like owning books, but I'd definitely check more out of the library if more were available. My library is good for classics, some non-fiction and award-winning contemporary fiction. For things like fantasy or comics it's completely useless.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
I keep most of them, yes. It there's something I know for sure I'll never read again, or if for some reason I end up with two copies of the same book, I add it to my Bookmooch inventory.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?

What are you reading now?
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (It's awesome! I can't believe it took me so long to get to it) and The Book That Changed My Life edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Oh yes! A .txt file, an actual list spread over several little notebooks, an Amazon list, a Bookmooch list, and of course, my several challenge lists.

What’s next?
Hm. Here's the thing: I'm starting to realize that I should have brought more books with me on my trip. I have the following left for next month:
  • Strangers by Taichi Yamada
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • When The Emperor was Divine by Julie Otuska
I don't think these will be enough, though, especially because I want to save something for the plane trip back. And despite its many charms, Brazil is not the ideal place for book buying. I did find some Lloyd Alexander books at a decent price, including The Arkadians, and I think I'm going to go back for them. And I can always raid my boyfriend's bookshelves. The only problem is that I've read about 80% of the books he own. But I have my eye on his copies of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, The Handmaid's Tale and Naipaul's The Mystic Masseur.

What books would you like to reread?
Several. I'd like to do more re-reading next year. There are many favourites I've been meaning to revisit, like His Dark Materials, Middlesex, Life After God, The Hobbit, several Discworld books, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, etc.

Who are your favorite authors?
Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Ursula Le Guin, Diana Wynne Jones, Jeffrey Eugenides, Douglas Coupland, Douglas Adams, Philip Pullman, Daniel Wallace, Truman Capote, etc.

I'd like to tag Trish, Robin, Alessandra, Jessica and Lightheaded for this one. Don't feel pressured to do it, but if you want to I'd love to read your answers.

Now the Five Things meme. Amanda and Jeane tagged me for this one.

Ten years ago I was:
Ahh, that was the summer when I was fifteen. I had a lot of fun that summer. It was the one summer when I truly felt like a teenager. After that some things happened that complicated my life, and I never felt quite as young and carefree again. Not in the same way anyway. That was the summer of my first kiss, the summer of going swimming every other day, the summer of weekly sleepovers at my best friend's house. It was the summer when The Smashing Pumpkins' Adore was released, and my best friend and I both got copies one day and then went to her house and listened to it about five times straight. It was the summer of staying up half the night talking about anything and everything and the summer of lending each other Anne Rice novels. I had a wonderful time.

What are (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
The beauty of holidays is that there isn't much of a to-do list! Having said that, plans for today included calling a seaside hotel where we're maybe staying in a few weeks to check for availability, and returning some DVDs (I'm not There and The Darjeeling Limited, both of which I enjoyed).

Five snacks I enjoy:
  • Dried Apricots
  • Any kind of fresh fruit, especially pineapple
  • Baby carrots
  • Yoghurt
  • Cadbury's milk chocolate fingers (my perdition)
Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:
  • Travel the world
  • Donate to several endangered species preservation programs
  • Buy a house
  • Build my dream library
  • Start a small publishing house. It would be devoted to bringing back into print old children's classics and turn of the century fairy tale books, in beautiful editions illustrated by emerging artists. It crossed my mind the other day that this would actually be my dream career.
Five Places I’ve lived:
I've only got three:
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Braga, Portugal
  • Nottingham, Uk
Five Jobs I’ve had:
  • Bookstore salesperson (This was the summer after highschool, and I expected working at a bookstore to be a great experience. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong. But it was mostly because my co-workers were huge jerks.)
  • Museum guide (this one was fun)
  • Pamphlet distributor
  • Computer lab assistant
I'm not going to tag anyone for this one because it's been going around for a while, but if anyone wants to do it, please feel free. I'd love to see your replies.

Finally, I'd like to thank my blogging friends Melody, Alessandra, Teddy Rose, Jeane, Marg and Amy for picking me for the Brilliant Weblog Award, and also Mariel for thinking of me for the Excellent Blog Award. Thank you so much! You put a big smile on my face. I hope you know that I love all of your blogs.

I've been sitting here for five minutes trying to think of who to pass it on to, but right now I just can't choose. There are many of you who are special to me, so many of you who enrich my life in different ways. I think you know who you are.


  1. Thanks for tagging me for the meme, Nymeth. It looks like a fun one, so, yes, I'll do it! And congratulations on the awards! I agree with all those friends -- the awards are well deserved!

  2. I can't wait to see the pics you've visited, Nymeth!

    I enjoyed reading your answers to the 2 memes. I really like reading about your dream career, hopefully I'll be able to do that during my retirement, haha!

    Thanks for being a great blogging friend! The awards are definitely well deserved! :)

  3. Cool, lots of awards and interesting things about your reading. Sounds like you are having a lovely holiday and I am looking forward to seeing your photos.

  4. That publishing job sounds like a total dream job. If you get that off the ground and need a US rep, give me a call. :)

  5. Wow! Brazil sounds like an awe-inspiring place. I can't wait to see your photos! :]

    Fascinating! I never knew that you would start a publishing house. Through those memes, I can see that reading has affected you profoundly. Also, congratulations on receiving those awards. You truly deserved them. :]

  6. Thanks for playing along! And congratulations on the award!

  7. I also love fantasy and Stardust is one of my favorite books! I love your billionaire list! The publishing house idea is great. If you ever get a billion dollars and open it up, hire me to work there!

    I can't wait to see some pictures, have a great vacation :-)

  8. I can't believe anyone would ask if we had a TBR pile ! LOL LOL.. Duh! (only about 40! hehe)

  9. hi, thank you so much for the comment on my blog. i have read everything is illuminated and i did love it. extremely loud and incredibly close is my favorite though.

    i love fantasy and i read his dark materials a few months ago for the first time. loved them!

    thanks again for the comment, i am so excited about book blogging!


  10. It's amazing how much our parents influence our reading habits! Mine were big readers, so no surprise that I turned into one as well. Although its unlikely either of them know what a blog is.

  11. you definitely deserve the excellent blog award!

    oh, and reading with one's cats is the best! :D

  12. I'm very excited to hear your thoughts on Stevenson. (And no worries about the hiking - I started "running" again and was out of commission for almost a week! Who knew I had muscles there?)

  13. I also can't wait to see the photos you took, I miss the south of France so much, like Portugal it has some awsome walking trails I can't find here.
    After all this walking you can enjoy sitting around, give your leg muscles a rest

  14. Sounds like you're having an incredible time...like there was ever any doubt, huh? I absolutely can't wait to see more photos!

    It was so fun reading your answers to these memes. And you know what? I truly, truly hope you do become a billionaire...because the ways you'd choose to spend the money are simply wonderful! (And if you hit upstate NY on your world travels, you'd better come visit us!)

  15. Robin, thank you :) I look forward to your answers to the meme.

    Melody: I'll post some pictures soon. And thank YOU!

    Rhinoa: I really am. I'll post them soon!

    Daphne: It does, doesn't it? And I'll keep that in mind :P

    Orchidus: My dream career is definitely a book-related one. I'd also love to be an editor, but that's not likely to happen :P Still, no matter where I end up job-wise, I know books will always be a big part of my life. And thank you :)

    Amanda, thanks you :)

    Andrea: If I ever made that particular dream come true I'd love to enlist the help of my blog buddies. You all are so incredibly passionate about books that I know you'd be great. And thanks :)

    Deslily: lol, indeed :P

    Amy, you're welcome! They are both great, aren't they? I can't wait to see what Jonathan Safran Foer will write next.

    Kim: It really is. I don't think mine know about blogs either :P But interestingly enough my older brother isn't that much of a reader. Well, fiction reader. He's a biologist and does lots of science related reading.

    JP: It really is. And thanks :D

    Bookchronicle: lol, I know what you mean. I used to be able to go for even longer walks, but 6 months of being completely sedentary ruined me. I finished Treasure Island and I loved it!

    Madeleine: The north of Portugal, which is where I live, has some areas that are great for walks. I'm in Brazil for the summer, though! It's a completely different kind of landscape, but one that I also like a lot :)

    Debi: Wouldn't it be great if we all became billionaires? We'd buy up entire book stores for sure, among other things :P But yeah, the publishing dream is one I'll always keep in mind, and who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to invest in it. And if I ever make it over there I'll be sure to let you know!

  16. Treasure Island, huh? You've definitely got my interest and I look forward to your review!

    Awards that are much deserved, Nymeth! You've definitely helped to enrich my blogging world.

  17. Duh--just saw the tag. :) I'm still catching up a little bit, but I'll get to it as I haven't done this meme yet.

  18. Trish: I really enjoyed Treasure Island! It was very different from what I expected too. I'll try to post about it sometime this week. I'm so ridiculously behind on reviews. Thank you and likewise :) I look forward to your answers to the meme!

  19. I love it when people do these kind of memes and give really thorough, interesting answers. Nicely done!!!

  20. Thanks Carl, I'm glad you enjoyed reading my answers :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.