Thursday, October 11, 2007

All About Books

Mardougrrl at One Hand Typing tagged me for this meme, and I am honored and humbled to share my answers. The answers to these memes are always so dependent on timing and mood, so I’m sure I won’t recognize my own answers in six months, but here goes:

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why? Hardcover if I really want the book as soon as it’s released and/or there’s going to be a book signing and/or I know or know of the author and I want to support the book release and the author with my wallet. Most of the time paperbacks are just dandy. They’re cheaper and their much lighter to carry around in a purse. And, if I ever go back to the gym, I feel much less guilty cramming them into the book holder on the stair master.

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it... Eudaemonia. This is purely hypothetical because far too many people ask me how it’s pronounced, which would indicate that it’s a poor choice to name a business.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is... This was tough. I drew a blank when I first read this question because the first quote that came to mind wasn’t exactly from a book, it’s an excerpt of Andrew Marvell’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress” that’s on the first page of Peter S. Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place.

“The grave’s a fine and private place,

But none, I think, do there embrace”

The other one that came to mind was exactly the same type of thing. It was the Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” quoted in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders:

“Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be... Tricky. At first I thought Joyce Carol Oates or maybe Philip Roth or somebody really iconic, and then I thought I’d be much too nervous and dorky to enjoy the time. My next thought was that I’d really love to have lunch with all the people who visit here, but then I thought, I really need to name someone I don’t “know” at all. I’ve loved the New Hampshire writer, Ernest Hebert for so many years and recommended his first book, The Dogs of March so many times that I’d have to say Ernest Hebert.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be… I’d bring The Chicago Manual of Style. Kidding! I’m going to go out on a limb and I’ll bring one I’ve not read. The Recognitions, by William Gaddis is sitting here and mocking me at 956 pages. I’ll bet it would keep me busy for a while.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that… Could someone please come up with something that would allow me to read in complete darkness? I’d say night vision goggles for readers would be just the ticket. They’d have to be comfortable, lightweight and of course, stylish.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of… The smell reminds me to refill my allergy medication, but it also makes me reminisce about rooting through antique stores and second hand book shops and book barns in New England. Ah, the happy hours passed in those cozy places!

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be... Forrest Gump.

9. The most overestimated book of all time is… I can’t do it. Every title that comes to mind is a classic that I couldn’t get into, but rather than blame the author, I blame myself. I know this is a wimpy answer, but I can’t bring myself to single out a book and hurt the author’s feelings. Even if the author is dead. I will obviously never be a book critic.

10. I hate it when a book... Sucks. Um, wait, I can do better than that. I hate it when a book has me captivated for two or three hundred pages and then it becomes a struggle to wade through. Again, throw stones at me and call me a heretic, but that’s exactly what happened to me when I read One Hundred Years of Solitude. I was captivated and somewhere along the line, I was lost.

I feel a little guilty tagging people again, because this is twice this week, but this is a pretty good one and it was fun to do, so readers, do tackle this if you like and I would love to hear answers to some or all of these questions in the comments.

How about: Kristi, Candy, Liz, Usman and Moonrat


moonrat said...

thanks, lisa--i'm really excited to do this one, actually. good meme : ) it will be my treat to myself after i finish today's horrible edit!!

kristen said...

Lisa, love it! Good answers, all...

Larramie said...

Now that was a real challenge, Lisa, and you did well. Except would you honestly want to be Forrest Gump...simply satisfied and never curious? Sure... LOL

Bernita said...

You handled a difficult meme admirably and honestly.

Patti said...

i love #4...made me laugh.

Patti said...

i meant #5...dead people, not so funny.

Lisa said...

Moonrat, so glad you did it! Oh, and I just got The Spanish Bow in the mail today. Thanks for the recommendation.

Kristen, thanks!

Larramie, I had to think hard about it, but I thought if I was Forrest Gump, then I would be content, I suppose. I can't imagine what it would be like not to have this constant curiosity :)

Bernita, thank you ma'am.

Patti, YOU make me laugh :))) congrats on sending out your ms girl!

steve said...


Wonderful post. You got a lot farther in One Hundred Years of Solitude than I did. Some time ago, Patry Francis tagged me for the "Five Weird Things About Me" meme. One of them was, "I read the parody first." Before I ever read Marvell, I remember reading, "The bath's a fine and private place./And some, I think, do there embrace."

As for No. 6, I highly recommend audiobooks. Night vision glasses will still strain your eyes.

reality said...

Interesting answers all of them.
Thanks Lisa for tagging me. First time I have been tagged.
But fols give me a few days, Eid Holidays start in our part of the woods.
I'll try to be quick.


moonrat said...

you read SO MUCH. you are such an asset to thebookbook.

Lisa said...

Oh Steve -- TAG -- please do the meme too! I know you will have incredibly interesting answers.

Usman, there is no rush at all. This is just fun :)

Moonrat, ha! if I could only find the time to write up a decent review, I'd feel all the reading was a little more of a benefit! I've been taking the lazy way and commenting on reviews of books I've already read, but it's tough to find the time to write one. I also need to find a good format for reviewing. I don't much like the two I've written so far -- I've been reluctant to go into much detail for fear of spoiling the stories, but I need to give up more. Thanks for the encouragement!

Charles Gramlich said...

"the Snow Leopard" would be the one book I'd bring to a desert island with me.

Yogamum said...

I love this one and I'll do it as soon as I can.

I completely identify on the book reviewing. I have actually received a couple of free review copies via my blog and I can't bring myself to review them, because it's not going to necessarily be positive.

steve said...

I guess I asked for it. Actually, the smell of old books question made me think of a bookstore on the west side of Davenport, IA, which brought to mind the "Devil of Davenport" mystery story that was conceived, thought about, but nearly forgotten. Thanks for the tag.

Ello said...

Hey Lisa, I have to say I loved 100 years of Solitude, but it was Love in the Time of Cholera that I had a problem with. But then again, I'm the only person I know who really disliked Life of Pi. I have to say the smell of old books tends to make me gag and hold my breath. But the smell of new books, mmmmmmm it's the sweetest perfume in the world to me.

Lisa said...

Charles, one of these days I'm going to have to check that book out. I've kept track and you're consistently loyal to it.

Kristi, great post today about teachers! I'm looking forward to your answers on this one.

Steve, I'll be checking for it daily! Is the Devil of Davenport one of your stories?

Ello, Oh boy. Well, now that 100 Years of Solitude is an Oprah selection, Mr. Marquez isn't going to go hungry if I don't buy Love in the Time of Cholera. Now it's much lower on the "maybe I'll give this a read" list. Thanks! I've got too much to read as it is :)

Lisa said...

Kristi, Jeeze the cat erased my previous response to you! I know what you mean. I love to write about books I've enjoyed, but I'm not too hot on criticizing books I don't like. I think lately I've noticed an increased "meanness" with a lot of the reviews and literary criticism I read and it's turned me off even more. There's a place for a tough review, I just don't think I want to be that reviewer.

reality said...

Ok Lisa, I did it. Go to my site.

Anonymous said...

I thought the grave quote from #3 came from Emily Dickenson, or maybe Dorothy Parker. Oh well. They are all dead and won't mind my mixing them up.

liz fenwick said...

Interesting and tough........will do the meme sometime this week because I will need to think hard on this one :-)

Loved your answers though.

Anonymous said...

I was so curious to read your responses and as always, you never disappoint. I feel like I know so much more about you! And I have never been able to get through Hundred Years of Solitude either, which has always made me feel guilty because he's supposed to be the Greatest! Colombian! Writer! Ever! and I'm Colombian. A dumb reason to feel guilty, but there you have it. :)

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Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf