Jun 5, 2009

Because I haven't done one in a long while...

...here's a reading meme. I combined some of the different versions I've seen around. (Actually, I suspect that what I'm really doing is combining completely different memes, but that's okay, right?)

Which author do you own the most books by?
Terry Pratchett (42), and Neil Gaiman (35). Surprise, surprise.

Which book do you own the most copies of?
I have two copies of Coraline and of Stardust. I don't think I own more than two copies of any book. Yet.

Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Not at all.

What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I can't say I'm actually embarrassed about any of the gaps in my reading. I don't believe that not having read a certain author by a certain age (or even not meaning to read them at all) automatically turns anyone into a philistine. Also, I'm not from an English speaking country, so a lot of what I read at school and was introduced to while growing up is unknown to the world at large, whereas English, American and also some French and German classics are considered universal classics. I could go on and on about the whole notion of The Canon, but I won't. Does this mean there were horrifying gaps in my education? I don't think so. And as I love reading, I've been seeking out many of these books on my own.

Having said that, I'd like to read some George Eliot before the end of the year. And also some more Shakespeare.

Which fictional character are you secretly in love with?
I've always been a little bit in love with Death from the Sandman, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this. Also, my teenagehood crush on the vampire Armand is probably not completely gone.

Which book have you read more than any other?
Hmmm, I'm not sure. Os Olhos de Ana Marta by Alice Vieira? (I often daydream about translating this book and introducing it to the English speaking world). Anne Frank's diary? One of my childhood favourites for sure.

What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old?
The two I mentioned in the previous question.

What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
The last book I strongly disliked was The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin, which I read a little over a year ago.

What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

What is the worst book you’ve ever read?
Any of the four by Paulo Coelho that I was bullied into reading. Sorry!

If you could tell everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Today, Tender Morsels. Tomorrow, who knows.

Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
To be honest I haven't read enough of either, but I'll go with the Russians.

Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Austen or Eliot?
Like I was saying, I haven't read Eliot yet, but for some reason I have the feeling I'll like her even more than Austen.

Roth or Updike?

David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
It's a tough one, but I think I'll have to go with Eggers.

What is your favorite novel?
My default answer is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, but you know, there are probably others I love just as much.

What is your favorite play?
I'm not very well-read when it comes to drama, but I did love Synge's Riders to the Sea.

What is your favorite short story?
*Points to right sidebar*.

In addition to those, "A Diamond Guitar" by Truman Capote, "One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock" by Neil Gaiman, "The German Reporter" by Douglas Coupland, "The Theme is Power" by Ali Smith, "The Story of the Eldest Princess" by A. S. Byatt, "The Tiger's Bride" by Angela Carter.

Okay, why have I been completely neglecting short stories this year? I obviously love them to bits.

What is your favorite poem?
There are quite a few I love, but I'll go with "i like my body when it is with your" by e.e. cummings.

What is your favorite epic poem?

What is your favorite non-fiction?
All-time? Probably Nick Hornby's Spree (an imaginary edition containing all three books, preferably). This year so far, Bad Science by Ben Goldacre.

What is your favorite essay?
I'm a big fan of Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" and Ursula Le Guin's "Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?". John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor's "The Subjection of Women" is pretty awesome too.

What is your favorite graphic novel?
Death: The High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman, probably.

What is your favorite science fiction?
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

What is your favorite fantasy?
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

What is your favorite memoir?
I haven't read that many, but I loved John Bayley's Elegy for Iris.

What is your favorite history?
I'm not sure. I tend to gravitate towards social history, and I really enjoyed Liza Picard's books about London. Actually, recommendations in this area would be very much appreciated.

What is your favorite mystery or noir?
Mystery is a genre I don't know enough about. I really enjoyed the Father Brown stories that I read, though.

Who is your favorite writer?
Neil Gaiman. And Terry Pratchett. (No way! you say.)

Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Okay, part of me wants to say Stephenie Meyer, but I know that since I haven't, er, actually read her, I'm not technically entitled to. Also, I've always had problems with the notion of "overrated". What exactly does it mean? "Something that a lot of people like but I don't, and therefore less people should like it?" I'm not saying I'm above thinking, "this book/song/movie is awful, what can people possibly see in it?!", but I do see a difference between that and declaring, "This is overrated." Okay. Rant over.

What are you reading right now?
I'm just finished Suffer and Be Still: Women in the Victorian Age by Martha Vicinus (a great history, by the way), so now I'll devote myself full-time to The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's going slowly, but I'm enjoying it.

Feel free to grab this meme if you haven't yet. I'd love to see your answers.


  1. I love that you combined these!! I should definitely use it, and maybe combine that diversity meme into it, too...

    btw, I'd love to read the translation of the Alice Vieira book if you ever make one (or anyone else for that matter). I hate when books aren't translated into a language I can read. Of course, it doesn't help that I only read 1 fluently and 1 only partway (and losing it every year I don't practice). But still. I have at least two books on my tbr list that aren't in any language I can read. :(

  2. I'm also a fan of Eggers - he is a great writer!

  3. This was a fun meme, no matter which version(s) one answered. I liked reading yours and getting to know you a bit better.

  4. Oo, I can't wait for your review of Suffer and Be Still - great title and a topic that interests me a lot!

  5. I just got done reading that E.E. Cummings poem and -- wow. I think I need a cold shower. It's as steamy as Donne's "Elegy 19: To His Mistress Going to Bed."

  6. I like this meme! You did well with combining them. I'm really not feeling good about the Paulo Coelho book that's sitting in my TBR pile. Wonder if I should just give it a go and then if it's bad, I can toss it aside!

    I also love what you said about overrated. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's overrated.

  7. I too love A.S. Byatt's short stories. The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye which contains The Story of the Eldest Princess is a favorite. Have you read The Little Black Book of Stories by Byatt as well?

  8. Grammar Girl makes me so happy :)

    I like your version of this meme too! I just found out that the only English translation of one of my favorite short story collections is really bad. So it's become my summer project to translate it the right way.

    This was great to see your list! I'm going to steal this one. I like it better all combined like this. I'm going to add the multicultural version too, I think!

  9. Wow - I didn't realise Neal Gaiman had written so many books. I feel bad about how few I have read.

    Tender Morsels - I really need to read this one soon.

    I didn't enjoy Paul Coelho either. I read The Alchemist and couldn't see what all the fuss was about it.

  10. I didn't realise Neil Gaiman had written so many books either - I really should read one!

  11. I did this a while ago. The first question would be a battle between Fyodor Dostoevsky and Alan Hollinghurst. I tend to read over and over again authors who have been good in my book.

  12. Amanda: I'd love to see your answers to the memes! And I hate that too :( I also hate reading a weak translation and knowing the original is probably brilliant but I'll never be able to enjoy it in its full glory :(

    Stephanie: Are you also ridiculously excited about his upcoming novelization of Where the Wild Things Are? :D

    Beth: That's what I like about memes!

    Jenny: I'll try to post it soon! It was awesome.

    Loren Eaton: lol, cummings can be steamy alright :P And Donne! I haven't read him in so long. My favourite was always The Good-Morrow, but that one is lovely too.

    Meghan: Maybe you'll enjoy it - I have a lot of friends who really love him. But to me, his books always seem so simplistic.Plus the characters are one-dimensional and just vehicles for an inspirational message of some sort. That's not how I prefer my fiction.

    Heidi: I have! I enjoyed that one a lot too. Elementals is another favourite - especially the story Cold :)

    Lu: hehe, she makes me happy too. How awesome that you're translating the collection yourself! And I look forward to your answers to the meme.

    Scrap Girl: I know! But the novels, comics, short story collections, picture books and move scripts do add up! He does a little bit of everything.

    Jackie: You should :P

    Matt: I've yet to read either, but both are on my mental list! I love re-reading too. I need to make more time for it.

  13. Nymeth, I came to your blog because every blog I go to seems to have you on their "Bad Bloggers" list! So, in the interest of overwhelming myself even more with TBRs, I came to check it out, too. A lovely blog- I am so jealous of the three-column system :-)

  14. Great answers. I'm definitely feeling the Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett love :)

  15. I loved Elegy for Iris, too. I think I may have to give Discworld a try, even though I (gasp! I know! I'm terrible!) was not head-over-heels-blown-out-of-my-mind by Good Omens. Since I have since come to *adore* Neil Gaiman, I have a feeling the same sort of conversion may happen with Pratchett. (please understand: I really enjoyed Good Omens, just for some reason it didn't crack my all-time top 10, which I know is complete blasphemy in some circles!)

  16. Fun meme! I definitely want to read Tender Morsels. I'm sure that got on my list after you first mentioned it :)

  17. What an enjoyable read, Ana! Now, now... Paulo Coelho can't be that bad, right? LOL!

    You sure have lots of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's books!

  18. Aarti, thank you so much for visiting! We ALL need an even larger TBR pile...I do my best to help ;) Also, I'd be very happy to help you with how to add a third column to your blog! Just drop me an e-mail.

    Maree: I always feel it at your blog as well :D

    Daphne: lol, don't worry, no lynch mob will be sent your way because you didn't love Good Omens ;) Maybe you could try The Wee Free Men? I'll be surprised if you don't like that one!

    Iliana, I really hope you enjoy it!

    Alice: I know a lot of people love him and I completely respect that...but he's definitely not my cup of tea :P

  19. On the social history front, I read Building Jerusalem recently (http://5-squared.blogspot.com/2009/05/building-jerusalem-by-tristram-hunt.html), and it was really interesting, particularly if you like 19th century British history/lit/etc. On a diametrically opposed note, I'm reading "The Golden Bough", now, whic, while it's certainly dated now, and says a few things that make you cringe, is a very powerful book about the history of magic and religion. Otherwise, do you like biographies?

  20. this was a fun way to really get to know you a little bit better Nymeth. I enjoyed reading this and was shocked to find that Pratchett and Gaiman were your favorites...just joking...that I already knew!! :) I think you're really well read but I find that I have big gaps in my reading but I'm o.k. with that for now!!

  21. I forgot to add. Do translate that book, I would love to read it!!

  22. Me, too! I think you should translate that book. I can't think of anyone who could possibly do a better job. :-)

  23. Thanks for visiting my blog, too, Nymeth! I just might take you up on the three-column thing, once things settle down in my life a bit.

    I have that Neil Gaiman quote saved as one of my favorites, too! Clearly, we were destined to be book friends :-) So glad I found you!

  24. Gosh, I don't own that many books by anyone. Probably I own the most by Joyce Carol Oates.

  25. I really hope you like Ella Enchanted! The movie version of it is painful to watch, so I really hope you haven't seen it. That was one of those books that would make me profoundly sad every time I had to turn the last page.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is so funny. You should watch the movie version with Gary Oldman (directed by Stoppard himself).

  26. I didn't even know that Neil Gaiman has written that many books!

  27. Jason: I've heard about The Golden Bough, but I haven't read it yet. Actually, I remember that Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson poked fun at some of those cringeworthy bits in The Folklore of Discworld :P But it sounds worth reading all the same. I don't think I've read all that many biographies, but recommendations would be welcome!

    Staci: I bet that came as a total surprise :P And thank you, Staci. Now I just need the author's permission and a publisher for the translation :P

    Darla: Aw, thank you!

    Aarti: Just let me know anytime! And yes, I think we were :D

    Lenore: They're both quite prolific!

    Lu: I bet I'll love Ella Enchanted :) And worry not, I've avoided the movie...I've been hearing it's a complete travesty of the book for a while. The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead movie sounds great. I'll have to see if I can also get my hands on that.

    Mee: They do add up!

  28. I so loved your answer about "embarrassing gaps" in reading. I tend to be so hard on myself sometimes...bet you didn't know that about me ;) I used to look at myself as horribly under-well-read. (Sorry, I couldn't for the life of me come up with a better way to say that, but I'm sure you know what I mean.) And I'm sure many people would view me as such, but really who's too say what well-read is. Have I read everything I want to read? Everything worth reading? Hell no...and that day will NEVER come. There are gaps all over in my reading, but if I'd read "this" book to fill "this" gap, then it would have left "that" book unread and thus "that" gap open. Anyone who claims to have a definite list that everyone "needs" to read is simply full of themselves. Now having a list of books that you love so much that you just "want" everyone else to read is a whole 'nother thing entirely! :)

  29. fun meme nymeth :O)
    I know you read lots of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman lol.
    I have a semi crush on the vampire Armand too.

  30. That's a fun meme, and I enjoyed reading your answers, Nymeth!

    Of course I'm not surprised that you'd mention Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett! :P

  31. Wow! Great meme! It would take me hours to fill out though so I have to skip this one but I enjoyed reading your answers!

  32. Debi: lol, I do know what you mean. And you know what you did? You've just described Harold Bloom :P And I'm definitely NOT a member of his fan club. Recommending books because you love them is a whole other matter indeed.

    Naida: Armand is lovely, isn't he? <3 I need to re-read those books.

    Melody: You're not?! It's not like I go on and on about them or anything :P I hope you're feeling better, btw!

    Ladytink: It did take a bit :P But it was fun!

  33. I liked getting to know you better through this meme. That poem is actually one I had liked when I first read it years ago but had completely forgotten about. Thanks for sharing it! It is even better now than it was. :)

  34. This was cool, I like your answers. Especially the one about your favorite books where you say you would like to translate the Alice Vieira book (I think you should!)

    I'm curious about the Pelevin book, even after reading your review. For some reason this is an author that I've always meant to read. I think the ones I have on my list are 'Homo Zapiens' and 'Sacred Book Of Werewolf'.

  35. So, 42+35 is 77. I'm trying to figure out how much shelf space that would take. :P

    Read Middlemarch. Hmmm--Silas Marner is a lot shorter. I think you'd like her more than Austen, but maybe I'm just saying that because I do. Brontes win hands down, though!

    Interesting answer for overrated author. Perhaps I'd agree with you, but I can think of a few others I'd add to the list (although, I don't think anyone expects those authors to win literary prizes!).

    Ok, more hugs. I'm not apologizing for my absence because you told me not to--but I have missed being around.


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