20.8.06

Because I love books

Obviously, nobody had to tag me for this meme.

Taken off Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty and two peas, no pod.

1. One book you have read more than once

Bill Bryson's Down Under, which I read every year when I want a break from reading new books, because it reminds me that good writing doesn't need to be florid, overwrought, "literary" or about "important" or "lofty" issues. Pair this with the Australian tourism advertisment featuring Delia Goodrem's "I Can Sing A Rainbow", and I'm sold on the place.

2. One book you would want on a desert island

The Riverside Shakespeare, because then there'd be lots to read --- tragedy, comedy, and all the mishmash between for every mood --- not to mention helpful notes for the really obscure bits. Also enough variety between poetry and drama, and plenty of fodder for (pseudo-)literary analysis scrawled on coconut leaves if I got really bored.

3. One book that made you laugh

Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding. Just about anything by Bill Bryson. And any of the Blandings stuff by P.G. Wodehouse --- that's when I first realised as a child that writing could be funny and well-written (okay, the word I'm reaching for is "witty", but I was reverting to a child's vocabulary there).

4. One book that made you cry

The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen (whose name I always spell with an unnecessary 't' on the first try). The family he describes --- so dysfunctional, yet so real, so depressing. I couldn't get through the book the first time, made it through the second time and then needed a big hug from Terz. I'm not sure I'll ever read it all the way through again.

Honourable mention: A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin, because a character died when I totally didn't expect him to die, which left me not only genuinely aghast and torn up, but also in awe at Martin, because what the hell kind of writer dares to kill off the kind of character that you don't expect to die --- which then made me nervous about reading the subsequent books in the series, which explains why I haven't.

5. One book you wish you had written

The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje (whose name I can spell impeccably), because it was lyrical yet real, out of this world yet very much of it. Now that's one book I need to buy for keeps.

6. One book you wish had never been written

All the Chicken Soup books, because they elevate rose-tinted optimism to an unworthy art form. Life is hard. In fact, life is frequently shit. Get over it already.

7. One book you are currently reading

Ironically, I am not reading anything right now. I was going to reread Pride and Prejudice because Cristy mentioned it on her book meme blog post, but I think we loaned it to someone. Consider this an official APB: Who has my Pride and Prejudice???

Meanwhile, I need to meet wahj to borrow some books off him. I could go buy some new books, but I really shouldn't (except for the aforementioned Ondaatje). They're all over the floor as it is.

8. One book you have been meaning to read

Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. I attempted it as a teenager, which was a foolish, foolish mistake because I was too young and silly. It's only in the last few years that I've truly appreciated Rushdie's writing. Maybe I should allow myself to buy this one, in addition to the Ondaatje ...

9. One book that changed your life

A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster --- though mainly, I suspect, because it was Mr K who taught it to us.

10. Now tag five people:

Why tag five people when you can tag ten? Also because I like doling out blog homework to former students:

1. yuhui
2. ampulets
3. wahj
4. cour marly
5. sarah
6. leah
7. dio
8. strangemessages
9. Daryl
10. ballsy

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6 Comments:

At 8/20/2006 11:10 am , Blogger budak said...

Midnight's Children is a masterpiece of historical magical realism indeed! Much richer in themes and characters than Rushdie's more infamous opus...

 
At 8/20/2006 1:13 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...

Rushdie's famous book was boring and made me fall asleep.

Yeah I'm a philistine. That's why I can't do this meme.

 
At 8/20/2006 2:25 pm , Blogger TaLieSin said...

I totally agree about the George R.R. Martin bit, and I think I know which character you're referring to. ;)

I conclude the author is evidently a sadist, and likes removing all the likable characters in gruesome ways so that his world is progressively screwed up by the more bastardly villains. A satire on the real world, perhaps?...

 
At 8/21/2006 1:25 pm , Blogger cour marly said...

Waaaaaaah.... homework!

Erm. Funnily, I've just started reading real books again (as opposed to silly fash mags), so HEY, I'll actually have something current to include in the meme!

 
At 8/21/2006 2:15 pm , Blogger inorbit said...

i like bill bryson too, but he's kinda uneven. laugh-it-up faves include gerald durrell's my family and other animals, peter mayle's a year in provence, roddy doyle's the commitments, armistead maupin's tales of the city, sue townsend's adrian mole diaries (the first two). have been meaning to read midnight's children as well. still meaning to. couldn't get into the corrections. love the english patient; surprised by how carnal the movie was. for sheer poetry of language, also jeanette winterson's the passion.

 
At 9/02/2006 4:14 pm , Blogger cristy said...

Great list of books - you cross neatly over mine and Paul's taste with your selections.

I should give The Corrections another try. I couldn't get into it the first time.

I also found Midnight's Children a little challenging at first, but it was well worth the effort in the end.

 

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