Friday, February 17, 2006

BOOKS: I Put the "Me! Me!" in "Meme"

The time difference has knocked out DoppelSis, so she's all tucked up in bed right now. So here I am to remind y'all to make sure you get your Worst Date Ever story posted by the end of day today.

And in a surprise move, my charming housemate The Don has agreed to act as guest judge for this contest! (I asked The Don because he recently went on a blind date in which his date literally did not stop talking about herself. It's only because The Don is so sweet and unassuming that he didn't call shenanigans on her for it. Can you imagine? So I thought he might be in a position to offer fresh commiseration for your stories.)

And in another surprise move, Liz has tagged me with one of those blog meme thingies you hear about. I thought filling this out would be an easy, throwaway task, but I actually had to THINK, dagnabbit.

1) Name five of your favourite books.
Harriet the Spy - Probably my first favourite book. I love Harriet. She's hard as nails, calls it like she sees it, and is precocious as all get out. In short, she's who I wish I could be.

Howard's End - Only connect, dude.

Travels with Charley - Steinbeck takes a road trip around America with his standard poodle, Charley. I wish I could've gone with them.

Tender Is the Night - It's probably Fitzgerald's messiest, most ambitious novel, but I read it every year or so and find new stuff in it every time.

Larry's Party - My favourite Carol Shields novel, and that's saying something. She brings beauty and narrative symmetry to the life of a regular schlub like you or me. I love her for that.
2) What was the last book you bought?
An Alphabet for Gourmets by MFK Fisher, which I wrote about here.
3) What was the last book you read?
Heh, well, I just wrote about it here, but it's The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. But if you want to know what I'm reading now, it's Neil Postman's The Disappearance of Childhood. It's pretty interesting, but for some reason I'm moving really slowly.
4) List five books that have been particularly meaningful to you (in no particular order).
Oh, gosh. I think I blew my load writing about my favourite books. Hmm... let me think.

The Secret of the Old Clock - This Nancy Drew book was the very first chapter book I ever read. It was a gift from my mom on my eighth birthday. I also remember that I was allowed to stay home from school with a trumped-up cold so that I could read it.

Garden of Eden - This book will always make me think of full days spent at the beach reading with my friend Schimpky, the only other person I've ever known who can spend hours reading AND hours lying in the sun without getting bored.

The Happy Prince - I loved this story when I was a kid. Once, when I was six or seven, my mom woke me up -- just me, not my brother or sisters -- because the animated version of the story was on TV. We cuddled on the sofa and watched it all by ourselves in the dark, quiet house, then she tucked me back into bed. It was magical.

Pride and Prejudice - This was the first Jane Austen novel I read. I picked it up when I was 16 or 17, and it was the first time I experienced the special excitement I've since always felt when reading great classics.

Anything ever written by Stephen King - The first night I met Rusty -- after a first-year "great books" class we were taking -- we walked most of the way back to our respective homes arguing about King's merits as a storyteller. I argued for the fact that King has undeniable gifts; Rusty argued against. It was a great debate. Conversationally, I'd rarely felt more alive! At some point near the end, I realized that Rusty had never actually read anything by King. That pretty much set the tone for all our future debates. How could I ever want that to end? So we got married.
5) Name three books you've been dying to read but just haven't gotten around to it?
Hmm... this question is actually a bit depressing because I realize that, while there are some books I'd like to read, I wouldn't describe myself as dying to read anything at all right now. Jesus, what a downer.

So instead, here are some books I'd love to read... if only they existed:

The Lost Novels of Jane Austen
Harriet the Spy II
Can You Believe It? Still More Bertie and Jeeves
6) Tag five people and have them fill this quiz out on their own.
I'll start with Wing, despite the fact that I bet she hates stuff like this. BWAHAHAHAHA! (Sorry.)

And I'll add four of my other favourite book nerds, and wish I could add more: Cap'n Ganch, Jagosaurus, Carrie, and Mike.
That was my first meme! That's right, I was a meme virgin. Thanks for being gentle, Liz.


Anonymous said...

Was it good for you?

I'll get right on mine too ... you know, this weekend or something.

Andi said...

I found your blog through a friend, and must say, I'm in lurv! I'm a bit of a meme-holic, so I'll be stealing this one for my own book blog.

Carol Blymire said...

There is a Harriet the Spy II. It's called "The Long Secret" (1965), but it wasn't nearly as good as plain ole Harriet.

On a side note, now that I've had my own house for, oh, EIGHT YEARS, my mom decided it was finally time to pull all the boxes with my name on them out of their attic and give them to me. A number of the bexes were filled with books, and one of them was Harriet the Spy. I almost cried when I saw it. On the inside of the back cover, I put little hatch marks every time I read it. I was up to 57 before I stopped counting, because I know I read it at least 100 times. It has to be the best book ever written. Anytime a friend of mine has a baby, I usually send a box of my favorite books for them to enjoy as they grow up. Of course, all the baby girls get Harriet the Spy. :)

Anonymous said...

All right. I did it. And now I can't stop thinking about German Shepherds.

Anonymous said...

Well, here it is, for what it's worth. I didn't realize that I even had a top list of meaningful books until I had to think about it.

Anonymous said...

There's a couple of other books in the HtS series. The Long Secret, Harriet Spies Again, and Sport are the ones I recall, though there are probably others. None of the books are quite so good as the original, in my opinion, but that's often the case.

Anonymous said...

Anything with Jeeves and Wooster is good.

Anita said...

Carrie tagged me, so I'm coming over to blame you ;).

Seriously, I actually had fun doing this one, and I never do memes. But a book meme, well, it was hard to resist.

The only overlap you and I have is Stephen King. One of my faves of all time - The Stand.

The rest of my selections are much less literary than yours. I need to expand my horizons.

Anonymous said...

I, as well, like few things better than spending the entire day at the beach, reading. In fact, the only other person I know of (well, besides you, now) who also enjoys this passtime is my mother. Apparently, the apple does not fall far.

Amanda Roper said...

I *heart* Howard's End.... good book choices