Monday, 28 January 2008

ok the last meme for a while....

1) Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
Well I hate to sound racist but it would have to be the 'Great American Novels' that everyone who's anyone 'has to have read' : Moby Dick, The Old Man and the Sea , The Great Gatsby, Walden etc - Boy have I tried !!! But it's like swimming through tar.... Please don't get me wrong - there are hundreds of wonderful american authors - it's just when it comes to classics I do not believe it can loosen the sandal of contemporaneous European Literature.
But there is one book I have vowed vehemently to never read - Ulysses !!!

2) If you could bring three 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?
Father Zossima from Dostoyevsky's 'The Brothers Karamazov' ; [bit obscure] The Lady Polgara from the David Edding's 'Belgariad/ Malloreon' fantasy novels ; Hercule Poirot. As for the circumstances ? Absolutely anything the Universe could throw at us...

3) (Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for a while, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Ulysses !!!!????

4) 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?

Dostoyevsky's 'The Idiot' ; I raced through Crime & Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov , but this one just kept slipping ; I found every excuse to put it down....

5) You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (If you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalise the VIP).

Fiction : Depending upon the person I'd recommend one of the three main A.J. Cronin's : The Citadel , The Stars look Down or The Keys of the Kingdom - why ? because they are probably some of the easiest and most engrossing to read ; and they teach one great lesson - the bravery and humanity and unfairness inherant within human existence....Then I'd thrust I Claudius , The Daughter of Time, followed by Crime & Punishment then Brideshead Revisited , Ivanhoe, David Copperfield or A Tale of Two cities upon them , getting them ready for War and Peace !!! For a train journey some Chesterton Essays and one of the half dozen brilliant Agatha Christies

Non Fiction ? A Good History - probably an AJP Taylor ,or an Antonia Fraser or even Tom Holland's 'Rubicon' or something of that ilk.If they wanted a classic - what's better or more easily readable than Thucydides' "History of the Pelopponesian war" ?

6) 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?
Chinese. I'm so ignorant of their millennia of excellent storytelling....

7) 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?
Well I always have my Gibbon's 'Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire' close by ; and my 'Introduction to the Devout Life' and 'God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy' [Fulton J Sheen] close by...
So I would have to say it's my G.K. Chesterton combined: 'Heretics/Orthodoxy/The Everlasting Man'
If it was fiction it would be 'The Books of The New Sun' by Gene Wolfe or 'The stone and The flute' by Hans Bemmann
But I must confess the Book I never tire of reading snippets from is Malachi Martin's "Vatican" [shocking I know - slap hand!]

8) 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)?
Father Elijah - not a bad book - shame on the ending though !!!

9) That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leather bound? 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.

A Gazebo between a forest and a lake - with dozens of winding paths going in all directions - glass ceilinged but cool and crystal clear - wooden panelled walls , stained glass windows , big plush green leather armchairs - the smell of lemon balm in the air, with perpetual supplies of coffee and cheese on toast/ham on toast - debussy or slow mahler/sibelius/bruckner softly playing in the background - a huge central wooden circular desk on which to take notes or access the internet- no overhead or wall lighting - everywhere to be lit by a multitude of lamps - plus a good supply of the best audio books where one can merely rest and Jeremy Irons reading Brideshead, Basil Rathbone reading the Oscar Wilde fairy tales... Stephen Fry reading Wodehouse...If this is a fantasy I wouldn't mind a robot who was programmed with all the thoughts of every Doctor of the Church - to answer my questions while I slowly plodded through the Summa....and if the robot was able to recite poetry from at least a century ago ? all the better...


Anonymous said...

Fr Elijah ending; yes, I think he chickened out a bit on that one.

I've awarded you- come to my homeschool blog and collect :)

God bless
WSNS (not signed in)

gemoftheocean said...

Hey, I tagged you for an award.

BTW, much better on immediately seeing the text. It still takes forever to load all the way up, but seeing the text right away is the main thing. I suspect you'd get more comments if it didn't take longer to load. You might try spacing your youtube a little more judiciously, because I know when I put them on my blog they take a while to load so I try not to have more than one that would show up on a screen.

More comments later about your fascinating picks on this meme. I'm an American [duh] and I'm with you on the "great American Novel" yeah, there are some, but I think there's more than a few "pretty good but overrated" in there.

I gotta go tag some other folks, but I really was intrigued with your picks.

the mother of this lot said...

At last! For the last two weeks, each time I've tried to load your page the whole thing has crashed. Looks better and stays on. What more could you ask?