A Word from the English Major. On Meme Monday. Worlds Colliding!

Stumbled upon this fun, thoughtful meme while poking around on the 'net, as I am wont to do. Having just been tagged on Facebook with the BBC list of Essential Books (btw -- I have some gripes with that list... no Hemingway? No Toni Morrison? Pffft. And PS: I can count on one hand the number of people I know who have really read, cover to cover, the Complete Works of Shakespeare. And they all have advanced degrees. In English. Anyhoo...) I'm finding myself in a literary mood. So I'm sharing that flyleaf joy with y'all!

1) What author do you own the most books by?

Ellery Queen, believe it or not. Oh, and John Jakes. Have the whole Bicentennial Series, the Civil War Series and assorted others.

Then there’s my Jackie Collins collection. Shut up.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
The Bible. Have a half dozen versions. And the Complete Works of Shakespeare, coming in with five copies.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Yes. I involuntarily twitched.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
Aloud: Goodnight Moon; Hop on Pop; Go Dog Go

To myself: The Bible, Gone with the Wind, Auntie Mame. The Great Gatsby, Little Women, The World According to Garp, The Sun Also Rises

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Little Women. I devoured that book. It has a special place in my heart.

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
It wasn’t a Bad Book in any sense of the word – but I have to say Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I tried – oh how I tried – to like it, to get into it, to dig it. But never did. I’m not even sure I made it all the way through. Still have it on the bookshelf for a revisit. Just in case.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Rachel Kushner’s Telex from Cuba. Fascinating and thought-provoking and really well-written. Plus there’s that Cuba thing – and y’all know how I feel about that place…

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
One Hundred Years of Solitude. No question. While I love Latin American fiction as a rule, this is a passion.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. Just to see Venice in all its splendor.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
One Hundred Years of Solitude. Trying to literally visually capture the magic of this masterpiece is a no-win situation for both the novel and the book, at least from my perspective.

13) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Please. Have we just met? J’adore the Jackie Collins oeuvre. Enough said.

14) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Anything by Thomas Pynchon. I just don’t get him. Despite having read him numerous times in undergrad/grad school. However, I understand he has a new book coming out soon that is more “accessible.” I shall try again with Mr. Pynchon.

15) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Russians. No good reason. I just do.

16) Roth or Updike?
Updike. The Rabbit series is on the nightstand ready to get into the rotation.

17) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

18) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare. Shakespeare. Shakespeare.

19) Austen or Eliot?
Eeek. While not a passionate, die-hard fan, I will go with Austen.

20) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Probably the aforementioned French/Russian novels. Have spent the majority of my time camped out with American/English/Latin American works. Should I branch out?

21) What is your favorite novel?
Truthfully – while I adore The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises and One Hundred Years of Solitude, my favorite novel is Auntie Mame. So there you are.

22) Essay?
Jonathan Swift’s "A Modest Proposal"

23) Work of nonfiction?
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. All the President's Men. And the Bible.

24) Who is your favorite writer?
Hmmm. Shakespeare is up there. As is Hemingway. But I truly madly deeply adore Patrick Dennis.

25) What is your desert island book?
The Norton Anthology of American Literature, featuring the more contemporary works. I'd rather hang with Steinbeck, et al than Twain. But that's just me.

26) What are you reading right now?
Re-reading Julie and Julia in anticipation of the movie; McCullough’s Truman; Praise Habit by David Crowder.

27) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Rhett Butler. Please. The man is sex on a Confederate stick.

28) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Thomas Pynchon. See, I am giving him another chance!

29) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I cannot think of one.

But I did have naughty dreams in grad school about my sexy alpha male much older professor and the sexy long-haired stereotypical teaching assistant who sat next to me in my Contemporary Latin American Fiction class and who I would drink many beers with after class as we talked about those pretentious things that English grad students talk about.

Does that count?

30) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
Two Gentlemen of Verona

31) Favorite Play?
Where do I begin? Lanford Wilson’s Burn This; Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff?; Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park; The Taming of the Shrew. Oh – G.B. Shaw’s Pygmalion and Don Juan in Hell. And then there's Blood Wedding and The House of Bernarda Alba by Garcia Lorca. Or The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlum (my guilty, campy pleasure.)

I cannot decide on just one. And you can’t make me.

32) Favorite Poem?
Anything by Neruda is stellar. And I really appreciate Borges. (can you tell I love my Latin American stuff?)

But my favorite is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. It is inscribed on my heart. I will be happy to recite it for you any day, any time. Just ask.

33) Favorite short story?
Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing.” Resonates with me now more than ever. As you might imagine. I adore Carver, by the way. Go watch Robert Altman's Short Cuts for a look at Carver's works in three-dimensional form.

34) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Maya Angelou. Shhhh…


perpstu said...

Bravo! I didn't even think of kids books in the "most read" question. I'd have to change my answer to Skippyjon Jones or Walter the Farting Dog!

Excellent answers!

yoonamaniac said...

Wow, I don't know if it's because English is not my first language, but I really don't understand what the big deal is with Shakespeare...

pritcharddesign said...

Yes! One Hundred Years of Solitude! I'm also a Russian fan. Read The Idiot!