Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Giant Literary List 1

AC recently linked to a giant literary list of questions, some of which are interesting. Like AC, I'm going to take the Giant List of Questions bit by bit.

Worst Books Ever, or Five Hours of My Life I'll Never Get Back

About three years ago, I identified the worst book I had ever read. It was a Harlequin romance from the early 1980s, featuring a white chick raised in the Indonesian Islands somewhere whose daddy complex transfered itself perfectly onto the only other white man available. Happily, he was rich.

Books I Have Lied About Reading

I lied about having read Wordsworth's Prelude. After my 16-hour delirious days reading the poem and correcting the papers, my supervising professor got a good laugh out of the idea that I wasn't intimately familiar with the poem.

Books I Have Lied About Liking

Finnegan's Wake. Educated French people can be really annoying about Joyce.

Book-to-Movie Adaptations Where, Frankly, the Movie Was Better

Maybe the Neverending Tale?

Books I Used to Love, of Which I Am Now Ashamed

Anything by Peres-Reverte. In 6th grade I thought Anne McCaffrey was awesome.

Best Book Titles of All Time

I'll go with Joy in the Morning, by Wodehouse, because that's a phrase now associated with a plot which always makes me happy.

Books That I Expected to Be Dirtier

Everything by Lawrence

My Real Guilty-Pleasure Reads, and Not the Decoys I Talk About Openly

a) my continuing quest to find single-volume fantasy, leading me into weird paths,
b) my continual amusement with workaday Regency Romances.

Books You Must Read Before You Die, but Would Rather Die Than Read

I swear, I am going to be mature enough to read through Faulkner one of these days.

Books I Refused to Read for a Long Time Because too Many (or the Wrong) People Recommended Them

This is so typical of me--to refuse to read a recommended book--and it's also telling that I can't come up with an instance. Ok. My sister kept recommending A Turn of the Screw for almost a decade before I was willing to read it. I still haven't read The Shipping News, despite all the personal recommendations.

Books I Read Only After Seeing the Movie

Pride and Prejudice. I was pretty young when I saw the Greer Garson version: maybe 10.

Books I Most Often Try to Persuade Other People to Read

I'm drawing a blank here. Empirically, the answer might be Wordsworth, Baudelaire, or Shelley.

Authors I Wish Had Written More Books Already

Well, among the living authors, I wish George R. R. Martin would finish up his epic already. Among the dead authors, I wish for just one or two more from Austen and Eliot, a whole second career for Brocken Brown, and a hundred years more life for Flaubert.

Overused Plot Points That Drive Me Nuts

I am tired of two-page prologues that pretend to set the scene for the rest of the novel. These tableaux and flashbacks have simply become another tiresome paranthetical. I have also begun to loathe novels that intersplice page-long POVs of the psycho-killer.


Anonymous I don't pay:

to refuse to read a recommended book

Me too, and an annoying personal tic. That's why I refer, or quote, or even praise a book, but never say "You should read..." Just in case others have this too.

2/14/2007 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

That's a heck of a giant list.

After perusing Doppelganger's site, I felt like I had just met someone who I could listen to all day. She goes to the favorites list. Thanks for the link.

I'm thinking hanging out at political sites is becoming wearisome, like an addiction that starts out as godawful fun and becomes ashes in the mouth.

Books and recipes and the smaller (but more important) personal stuff seem much more interesting lately. More sacramental, like the Japanese tea ceremony.

Maybe this entry to the list would work:

Books you've always wanted to read, but know you never will unless you come across them accidentally and out of context.

I mean this in the way Walker Percy talks about visiting the Grand Canyon. There is a difference in seeing and experiencing between planning a trip to the edge of the Canyon by all of the normal approaches and being lost in the desert southwest and coming upon the Canyon by accident.

He talks, too, about the soldier who awakes wounded on the battlefield and notices his own hand for the first time in his life.

Books, like the Canyon and my hand, become so barnacled over with, what?, that a person either wants to watch Saturday morning cartoons or become a terrorist, or something.

2/14/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

Oh, I know that feeling very well. The books become part of the furniture, and they look so nice in their neat rows, it would be a shame to move them. There are a number of books I own that I've only read after stumbling across them in a library.

And this: I'm thinking hanging out at political sites is becoming wearisome, like an addiction that starts out as godawful fun and becomes ashes in the mouth. Yes.

2/14/2007 03:00:00 PM  

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