Sunday, February 17, 2008

Meme - describe your perfect library 

From Kim du Toit, who borrowed it from Tam.

Which [type of] book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

-- Fantasy. I want to focus on character and plot, not on what the world is like. Something set in MY world (21st century Earth) or in history is much, much more accessible. I can then get fascinated by the setting (and even learn stuff) rather than figure out the rules, the governments, how the magic works, and what the invented laws of physics are.

Exceptions include mythology and epic poetry, generally centuries old but modern can be good, too. And I count Lord of the Rings as epic mythology.

If you could bring three [fictional] characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

-- Dirk Struan (or Ian Dunross) for dinner on Victoria Peak (with chop sticks of course - I've eaten with chop sticks since I was 6. It's all about face. To talk business and Hong Kong history. From James Clavell's Tai-Pan and Noble House.
-- Shane, for shooting lessons. From Jack Schaeffer's Shane (never seen the movie, so I've no idea if he's so cool in the movie)
-- Lazarus Long for, um, cuddling. Homesteading if I got to spend a few years with him. From Robert Heinlein's Time Enough for Love.
-- Ooh, can I pick one more? John Galt, to live in Galt's Gulch a few years and see if I can cut it there. From Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

You are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

-- Anything by Jane Austen. Go ahead, call me uncultured.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

-- Sigh. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. I've flipped through, read summaries, read the famous excerpts, but never the book itself.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realize when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?

-- Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I'd read a few other books by him, like White Jacket, and some of his poetry. But I went to find a nice copy of Moby Dick when I was like 23, and flipped through and realized I hadn't read it. I kind of freaked out because I hadn't realized it was as long as it was. So instead of the nice but imposing hardback I'd intended to get, I got the cheapest paperback they had. Soon as I got home, I folded it open and broke the spine. Then it wasn't scary anymore. I read it and loved it.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

-- Ancient Greek.

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

-- Cryptononicon, by Neal Stephenson.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

-- The existence of book tourism.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

-- Let's start with a room that's actually big enough to hold the library I have now. There's a part of the room devoted to properly caring and protecting old manuscripts, and I have a Gutenberg Bible as well as a (nonexistant but identical) copy of the Book of Kells. Everything is signed. Everything modern is inscribed. I have every book ever written on combat stress and trauma and killology (I'm in the process of accumulated. I've never spent more than $100 on an otherwise unremarkable book before). I have every book my grandfather read and wrote marginalia in. I have a book from every country that I've ever visited, that *I* purchased (and remember purchasing, even if it didn't happen - magic fairy, remember) - and each of these books was published in said country and makes for perfect souvenirs as well as insight into their home's culture. I have two copies of every book that has monetary value (one to preserve for the next generation of readers, one for me to read now). Oh, and I have complete runs of the X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Kabuki, Power Pack, Generation X, Gen 13, Dawn, and all related miniseries).

I'd never call someone who found Jane Austin boring uncultured. Boring.

Thanks for linking to me by the way. I'll return the favor.
I don't know if she's overrated or just not my style, but I don't understand her reputation.
And thanks for the return link.
I just know I didn't like her stuff and I believe I'd slit my wrists to avoid reading her again.

And you're welcome.
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