Posted by: Mish | April 30, 2009

Bookish Memes

btt2Which is worse? Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author or reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

I’d rather be disappointed by one or two books by an author I usually love. Everyone has their down days or not-so-good projects.

Thanks to Antipodean Owl for this one:

1) What author do you own the most books by?

32 by Mercedes Lackey, most of which are from the Valdemar Series. Shakespeare is a close second with the Complete Works, assorted plays, and an antique collection given to me by Grandma.

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

Aside from Shakespeare’s plays, Gaston Leroux’s the Phantom of the Opera in English and French.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

Nope.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing. She has spunk.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children)?

I’ve read Equus by Peter Shaffer five times, possibly more. In my youth, I borrowed my dad’s copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology so often he finally just gave it to me. Then it was assigned for various courses in high school and college. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read the pages between its torn and tattered cover.

6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old?

Probably something by R.L Stine.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

Mercedes Lackey’s Vows and Honor trilogy, which I feel are the worst from Valdemar. An excerpt from my review:

The storyline and characters vary from okay to good. In my humble opinion, they could be better. It was more the atrocious writing and repetition that I found really annoying. Another qualm I have is the overuse of italics. Its usage for mind speech, thoughts, or “foreign” terms is all right, but Mercedes tends to over stress words. There were times when I wondered if an editor was involved at all. In fairness, these are some of Lackey’s earlier writings, the first story being published in 1985 and the last one in 1998. Her writing has improved quite a bit through the years.

8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Irene Radford’s Guardian of the Balance, which is a fantastic take on Arthurian lore. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead are also up there for the best reads of 2008.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

I’m not into making enemies so I can’t really say.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Ursula Le Guin.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

I usually find adaptations lacking, but Lackey’s Vows and Honor trilogy. A movie couldn’t be any worse than the books.

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

Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest. Adapting it would butcher her poetry, written imagery, and wonderful use of language.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

None that I recall.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

Given many of the reviews and opinions out there, probably the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

I’m finding the Bible unnecessarily repetitious. The minute details about construction doesn’t help either: cubits X cubits, number of stones, rows of this and that, etc…

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?

I watched Twelfth Night and Henry IV from behind the scenes or the booth. I don’t know if any of the Bard’s plays can really be called obscure.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

Well, I’ve liked more French writers than Russian, besides Chekhov makes me cringe.

18 ) Roth or Updike?

I haven’t read either.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

Sedaris because I’m unfamiliar with Eggers.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Yes, please.

21) Austen or Eliot?

Eliot.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Because nothing else really comes to mind, Russian literature is probably the biggest.

23) What is your favourite novel?

The aforementioned Palimpsest and Ursula Le Guin’s the Lathe of Heaven. Okay, that’s two, but they’re tied as favourites for this year so far.

24) Play?

I love Peter Shaffer’s Equus and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America equally. They’re both brilliant and intense pieces of work. 

25) Poem?

Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” is certainly the one I quote the most.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

26) Essay?

“Listening to the Left Hand” found in the Book of Frank Herbert. The afterword was my favourite part of the sci-fi anthology. Herbert discusses the law of relativity and change, absolutes, perception and false limits, consensus reality, group behavior, linear habits, successful patterns unexpectedly failing, and futurism. He quotes Sören Kierkegaard with, “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.”

27) Short story?

“Ten for the Devil” by Charles de Lint, “Palimpsest” by Catherynne M. Valente, “the Locusts” by Steven Barnes and Larry Niven, and “Unaccompanied Sonata” by Orson Scott Card are all favourites for various reasons.

28) Work of nonfiction?

Robert Wolff’s Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing.

29) Who is your favourite writer?

Neil Gaiman, Ursula Le Guin, and Mercedes Lackey to name three.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Ratings are relative.

31) What is your desert island book?

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. It’s one of those I just haven’t gotten around to reading yet so being stranded would be as good a time as any.

32) And… what are you reading right now?

My Life with the Eskimo by Vilhjálmur Stefánsson, which has gone beyond merely “taking a glance”. I’m also reading a sci-fi/fantasy anthology, the Compass Rose by Ursula Le Guin, Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, Tao Te Ching, and the Bible.

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Responses

  1. I can’t believe I forgot R.L. Stine! I looved those books as a kid! I think you are the third person this week to remind me that I need to read some Ursula Le Guin, perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something, no?

  2. They were great!

    The Lathe of Heaven is a good start. Reading her shorts might put you off. I’m finding them more difficult to get through than her novels. They’re good, but make my head want to metaphysically implode.


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