Book Meme: Pick One

Hard to pick one answer for each. Got this from Ted.

One book you’re currently reading: I am only reading one. I cannot read fiction right now. I can barely read, if you want to know the truth, but I do what I can. I am now reading Nureyev: The Life, by Julie Kavanagh. Brilliant, engrossing.

One book that changed your life: Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh. Helped make me who I am today. Helped validate my compulsive need to put pen to paper as a small child. Helped me realize that prickly weird individual little girls like myself with strange intense obsessive qualities were actually pretty awesome. She also helped lead me to the sneakers I still wear today. One of my essays on that book here.

One book you’d want on a deserted island: My Riverside Shakespeare. I still haven’t read the whole damn thing, although I’ve read the plays and sonnets, of course But the introductory notes alone would take me years to get through. I’ve had this book since I was 19 years old and it’s one of my most prized possessions.

One book you’ve read more than once: Just one? I’ll go with Mating, by Norman Rush. Here is one of the many essays I have written on this spectacular accomplishment.

One book you’ve never been able to finish: “Never”? I don’t like that word. Most books I CHOOSE not to finish because they effing SUCK. Like that Nicholas Sparks book I tried to read in Ireland, whichever one it was. So far, I have “never” been able to finish War and Peace, but that’s only because I had to put it down last September, due to extenuating circumstances, and have been unable to pick it up again. I can’t think of a book I have tried multiple times to read and never been able to finish.

One book that made you laugh: Scoop, by Evelyn Waugh. One of the funniest books I have ever read in my life. One of my essays on the book here

One book that made you cry: Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine Dunn. My essay on the book here

One book you keep rereading: Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi. I’m actually not sure, at this point, how many times I have read this book. I read it, on average, once every two or three years. I see no reason that this trend won’t continue.

One book you’ve been meaning to read: Villette, by Charlotte Bronte. I love Jane Eyre so much and I’ve always wanted to read it – just never got around to it.

One book you believe everyone should read: “Everyone”? I don’t know about that. I’m not really that bossy. But I think if you haven’t read Crime and Punishment you are missing out on so so much! My heart aches when I try to imagine NOT having read the book, and NOT having that book in my consciousness – so I’m just saying.

Grab the nearest book. Open it to page 56. Find the fifth sentence…

In many ways Rudolf was better suited at that time to the Bolshoi’s broad bravado style, which has always lacked the Kirov’s refinement.

Well, clearly.

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14 Responses to Book Meme: Pick One

  1. mitchell says:

    One book you’re currently reading: Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellman…delicious.

    One book that changed your life: Stuart Little by E.B. White

    One book you’d want on a deserted island: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

    One book you’ve read more than once: The Cider House Rules by John irving

    One book you’ve never been able to finish: Ulysses by Joyce(sorry has me beat!)

    One book that made you laugh: Lives of the Saints by Nancy Lehman

    One book that made you cry: Lives of the Saints…

    One book you keep rereading: The Diary of Anne Frank

    One book you’ve been meaning to read: Crime and Punishment…once again sorry Sheil-babe.

    One book you believe everyone should read: The Diary of Anne Frank

    Grab the nearest book. Open it to page 56. Find the fifth sentence…

    I was ready to glom onto any kind of work a black kid with no education might qualify for.

  2. red says:

    Ah, Lives of the Saints. How glad are we that we discovered her?? It’s been a while since her last book (which I really didn’t like) but I will stll read whatever she writes!

    And I am so glad you are loving the Wilde bio. I knew you would!

  3. Doc Horton says:

    Lucy Snowe of Villette is one of my literary girlfriends, along with Flora Poste of Cold Comfort Farm and Charlotte of Charlotte’s Web.

  4. red says:

    Must get to Villette someday! Maybe wehn I finally finish War & Peace! When I was able to read fiction, I was amazed to find how quickly War & Peace went … it’s not dense or slow-going – it’s a page-turner!

    I’ll be sure to post on Villette when I do get to it!

    I like the thought of literary girlfriends/boyfriends. I think Mr. Rochester is one of my literary boyfriends. Along with Sydney Carton from Tale of Two Cities.

  5. red says:

    Oh, and Cleveland from Mysteries of Pittsburgh. I am deeply in love with Cleveland.

  6. Alessandra says:

    Crime and Punishment is the book I’ve never been able to finish. Tried twice, and both times I threw in the towel. Maybe it’s not the time yet.

    Ahhh, literary boyfriends… I still have a huge crush on Newland Archer.

  7. red says:

    Ah yes, tragic Newland!

  8. mitchell says:

    Homer Wells…im in love with Homer Wells.

  9. nightfly says:

    Currently reading – Re-reading, in this case: “Wyatt Earp” by Casey Teterfiller.

    Life-changing – I once had an abridged and heavily-illustrated version of The Three Musketeers. Obviously I never wanted to grow up to be a literal musketeer, but that book really sparked (or represented) a lot of my outlook on life: the importance of steadfast friends and quick wits, some swordplay at need, and the idea that life can be lived like a quest for something more important than oneself.

    Deserted Island – it’d be nice to have my Sherlock Holmes omnibus.

    More than once – pretty much all of my books, but let me go with some Twain – “Pudd’nhead Wilson.”

    Never finished – I can’t quite get the handle on GK Chesterton’s “Everlasting Man.” I always peter out about sixty pages short, and have to start all over again instead of picking up where I left off.

    Made me laugh – tough one. Comedy is hard in print. I’ll go with “The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Aged 37½.” (I hope I got the age right.)

    Made me cry – I can’t really recall one, even the very sobering and tragic ones. I cry about songs on the radio, but not often about books.

    Keep rereading – I roll through Pride and Prejudice every few years.

    Meant to read – “Ulysses.” Gotta try. Maybe side-by-side with The Odyssey, just so my brain can melt.

    Must-read – I’m a big advocate of CS Lewis’ “Till We Have Faces,” not in the sense of “Everyone MUST read what I have chosen,” but because it’s a terrific and overlooked book that merits a wider reception.

    Grab the nearest book. Open it to page 56. Quote the fifth sentence. – You won’t believe this, but in the nearest book on my desk, page 56 is BLANK. For some reason, this printing starts all the chapters on odd pages, and any chapter that ends on the previous odd is followed by a completely empty page – 19 of the them, all told.

    Page 55, sentence five: “I thought he almost smiled.”
    Page 57, #5: “I didn’t mind that.”

    A man of few words, a book of few pages.

  10. melissa says:

    I couldn’t finish Middlemarch… I’ve tried a few times. (My go-to-book for this kind of question used to be Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring. This was especially odd since I’m a huge fantasy reader, with many of my favorites being labeled “Tolkienesque”. And, because The Hobbit was a long-standing favorite. I finally got through it and the other 2 books a few years back.)

  11. red says:

    Melissa – your comment reminded me that there WAS a book I tried to start and could not finish – Silmarillion!

  12. jean says:

    I thought the book you couldn’t read in Ireland was Cold Mountain – remember you left it in the B and B with a note inside that said “This book is unreadable – good luck!” or are you talking about a different trip to ireland?

  13. red says:

    Jean – hahahaha You kill me with your memory!! No, the book I left in the B&B was a Nicholas Sparks book, I believe it was Message In a Bottle – but I had forgotten the OTHER book I was unable to finish (they’re all coming back to me now) was Cold Mountain! Hell, it’s not that I didn’t FINISH it, I couldn’t get past the first five pages! But I don’t think that was on our Ireland trip. Still, your memory astounds me.

  14. red says:

    Also, to call that place a “B&B” is to stretch the definition way too far, I think.

    More like a homeless shelter! Member those bunk beds?

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