Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Maven

Woman reading in New York Public Library
Alfred Eisenstaedt

I answered this questionnaire a few years ago on Facebook and thought it would be fun to revisit. It's also my 1601st post. If ya'll didn't already know how much I have on my dang plate, you'd probably think I have too much time on my hands. Humor me.

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Goodnight Moon

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No, I could care less.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
The aviator in The English Patient

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
The Brothers Karamazov 

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Half Magic and The Little Princess

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Three Delays by Charlie Smith

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown

9) If you could force everyone here to read one book, what would it be?
The Idiot by Fyodor Doestoyevsky or Middlemarch by George Eliot

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Good Lord, who knows? Who cares? 

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
The Brothers Karamazov

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
This is a ridiculous question.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
The DaVinci Code -- sorry to be such a snob.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
All that Proust in college (I was a French lit major) and that giant tome by Umberto Ecco whose title I can't remember.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
I haven't. But I did see Ian McKellen once playing Lear.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Definitely the Russians.

18) Roth or Updike?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
David Sedaris

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

21) Austen or Eliot?
If you mean T.S. Eliot, then I pick Austen. If you mean George Eliot, then I pick Eliot.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I've only read two Don Delillo novels and I've never read Tolstoy's War and Peace. Or James Joyce's Ullysses.

23) What is your favorite novel?
Maybe The Brothers Karamazov or To the Lighthouse

24) Play?
Dancing at Lughnasa, maybe? Othello? Wit?

25) Poem?
Anything by Yeats

26) Essay?
Way too hard -- I could never pick one. I was blown away by William Langewiesche's three articles that appeared shortly after the World Trade Center fell. They were published in The Atlantic -- American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center. Joan Didion's essays are pretty amazing, and I laugh extremely hard when I read David Sedaris.

27) Short Story?
Lorrie Moore's There are No People Like that Here, Faulkner's A Rose for Emily and Shirley Jackson's The Lottery get me every time I read them. I'll read any of William Trevor's short stories, too -- 

28) Work of nonfiction?
Too many to count, but Mark Doty's Heaven's Coast is one of my favorite memoirs.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Virginia Woolf

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
This is mean. Jonathan Franzen?

31) What is your desert island book?
Something blank. The Brothers Karamazov otherwise

32) And... what are you reading right now?
Anne Enright's The Forgotten Waltz


  1. So I am chuckling a bit. You mentioned the book "The Brothers Karamazov" a couple of times and I am brought back to a trip to Tahiti my husband and I went on. Silly me I did not bring a book to read and the one book in English I could find was that book! Well they did have War and Peace....

  2. You make me feel so uneducated and poorly read. I have, however, read War and Peace. It was a challenge. I have no desire to reread it.

  3. "9) If you could force everyone here to read one book, what would it be?
    The Idiot by Fyodor Doestoyevsky or Middlemarch by George Eliot"

    I'm chuckling here to myself. I read The Idiot in Spanish when I was in college (high school) and then revisited it a few years ago in English. I first went to my local library to see if they had it and - it must have been my accent, I can only think that it was the way I spoke - when I asked about the book, the (young) woman behind the counter replied: "Oh, I don't know, but why are you calling that author idiot?"

    I've got Middlemarch in my to-read list.

    Greetings from London.

  4. Not much to add, except to perhaps echo Ms. Moon's statement of feeling poorly read and uneducated. I love to read, but don't take the time. I dream of opening a children's book store and own hundreds of children's books but no where in the league of reading where you are. However, Caitlin, our second oldest ... she is you. You mention Brother's Karamazov to her and she smiles and shakes her head and says, "In my top 5. Absolutely."

    A while back she devoured a 1000 or so page book, "Atlas Shrugged", as a mom, watching her read like that made my heart happy. I think if you sat with her, you two would be kindred spirits. I like one day for that to happen. She is who i want to be when I grow up.

    I have read to my children since they have been probably 5 months old. I think, I have made a lot of mistakes in my life parenting them but I do believe I gave them a gift of loving books and at least that is something, right?

    Love you my friend and hoping your day got better.

  5. I read a lot but I feel like a backwards hillbilly now. I got to about question 4 and started answering all questions with, "I don't know".

  6. Oh dear, with all due respect to the above commenters, War and Peace is not a chore but a complete joy, and one you should deprive yourself of no longer.

  7. I'm in good company here with all of the others who are feeling a little inadequate in the context of your supreme literatti-ness!

  8. Loved your erudite choices, I've done my slightly blue-collar version of your list on my blog; it was a rather fun and illuminating process. Think I'll put Brothers Karamazov on my reading shortlist.

  9. Oh, I think I may steal this. And clearly, my most embarrassing gap in my reading is with the Russians. I'm afraid I've read The Brothers Karamazov, and yes, I just felt your cringe from all the way over here.

  10. Love this. It may finally drive me to read The Brothers Karamazov... well, after I get through the growing pile on my bookshelf which includes some TC Boyle and a few collections from emerging writers.

  11. I love that you can find refuge in your books. And I'll pop back here to add to my reading list.




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