Saturday, August 3, 2013

Book Tag

All the cool people have doing this tag. Well, all the cool people and Jessica, Natalie and Jodi. If you would like to get in on it, consider yourself tagged by moi.

What are you reading right now?
I am half-heartedly reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, but I’m not a big J.K. Rowling fan so I’m not that into it. I’ve only read a few chapters but so far it’s all a bit ‘jolly hockey sticks’.

Do you have any idea what you will read when you’re done with that?
Probably Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I’ve been told it’s really good and she’s one of my favourite authors. Or possibly The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall. I read the intro a while back and was kind of into it but then I got distracted. You know I love my television, so it stands to reason I'd love a book about televsion.

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t gotten around to?
Hard to say. If there’s something I want to read I usually just read it. Some that I have been intending to get around to eventually are Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, The Other Typist by Suzanne Rendell, In One Person by John Irving, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human by Harold Bloom, and The Twelve by Justin Cronin.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
None, I don’t buy magazines.

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
My most hated book is Wuthering Heights. It’s many moons ago now since I was forced to endure it so I can’t remember whether I thought the story and writing was actually bad, but my English Lit teacher in Year 12 was completely obsessed with it and we pored over it like forensic scientists. It was EXCRUCIATING. Heathcliff is a mopey, abusive whinger with anger issues and Catherine was a snotty gold-digger. SO ANNOYING.

What book seemed really popular but you didn’t like?
Well, aside from the obvious ones like Twilight and The Da Vinci Code, neither of which I could stand to finish, one that I did manage to get through but didn’t like was We Need To Talk About Kevin. It took me months to read it because I hated the style, and I wasn’t really interested in the outcome of any of the characters – they were all pretty horrible. Considering the subject, it was surprisingly boring.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson. Perfection.

What are your three favourite poems?
I’m not really into poems. As an art form I consider it a bit daggy, up there with macramé and scrapbooking. I guess The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe is a good – if obvious – choice. I like the rhythm of it, and it’s witty. In high school I loved The Apparition by John Donne, about a guy who was planning to come back and haunt the woman who spurned him after he died. The ultimate ‘nice guy’. And when Lily was little I always used to read her Matilda, Who Told Lies And Was Burned To Death by Hillaire Billoc. We both loved that one.  

Where do you usually get your books?
Book Depository. Or online. *shifty eyes*

Where do you usually read your books?
On the couch or lying down in bed on a weekend afternoon. If I lie down I have a tendency to doze off, though.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
Not especially, unless you count volume. I read tons when I was little – I was never without a book and I got them for Easter instead of chocolate for years (I didn’t like chocolate as a kid – weird, I know!), Christmas, birthdays, and so on. My mum was always yelling at me to put my book down and do things properly because I’d be trying to read and do other things at the same time, like dry the dishes. I was also a bad sleeper from a young age so she was always catching me reading late at night under the covers with a torch and going off at me.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
It’s been a long time since I did that with a book. Maybe one of the Gillian Flynn ones – Dark Places or Sharp Objects.

Have you ever ‘faked’ reading a book?
At school I would have for sure  – we did some of the more boring Shakespeare texts and I hated The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome so I don’t think I ever legitimately finished those.

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Of course, loads. There are two that specifically come to mind. 

The first one is Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. I saw it in a bookshop in Yarraville when I was killing time waiting for a movie to start at the cinema next door. I’d never heard of the author and had no idea what the story was about (spoiler: it’s SAUCY), but I loved the cover so I bought it and it sat on my bookshelf for about two years before I got around to reading it. 

The second is Becoming A Man by Paul Monette, a memoir about growing up gay in the 1950s. I don't know why this picture appeals to me so much, but I think it's beautiful - and I don't mean specifically the guy (who is not the author), although he's easy on the eye. There's something about the composition of it that I can just stare at forever. It makes me sad a little too. Very hard to explain how I feel about it, but I saw it in the Brunswick Street Book Shop years and years ago and I was so mesmerised by the cover I had to have it.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I’m not sure exactly but I’d say probably one of the Enid Blyton ones like The Magic Faraway Tree. I was a fiend for Enid Blyton. This was before there was such a thing as YA, so it was like one minute you’re reading The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor and The Wishing Chair Again, and then a few months later you’ve graduated to Salem’s Lot and Flowers In The Attic.

What book changed your life?
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. It was the first book I remember reading where I was really sad that it ended. I wanted to keep reading it forever. Also In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan, which killed forever any stupid food issues I may have been cultivating.

What is your favourite passage from a book? 
I am talking to Waldo Winchester, the newspaper scribe, one night and something about the snatching business comes up, and Waldo Winchester is trying to tell me that it is one of the oldest dodges in the world, only Waldo calls it kidnapping, which is a title that will be very repulsive to guys who are on the snatch nowadays. Waldo Winchester claims that hundreds of years ago guys are around snatching parties, male and female, and holding them for ransom, and furthermore Waldo Winchester says they even snatch very little children and Waldo states that it is all a very, very wicked proposition.

Well, I can see where Waldo is right about it being wicked to snatch dolls and little children, but of course no guys who are on the snatch nowadays will ever think of such a thing, because who is going to settle for a doll in these times when you can scarcely even give them away? As for little children, they are apt to be a great nuisance, because their mammas are sure to go running around hollering bloody murder about them, and furthermore little children are very dangerous, indeed, what with being apt to break out with measles and mumps and one thing and another any minute and give it to everybody in the neighbourhood.
The Snatching of Bookie Bob - Damon Runyon
Who are your top five favourite authors?
Kate Atkinson, Sarah Waters, Gillian White, Tom Perrotta, Damon Runyon.

What book has no one heard about but should read?
I have so many. Herb ‘n’ Lorna by Eric Kraft. I don’t think it’s still in print but it’s worth tracking down. It’s about a guy who discovers a secret about the lives of his grandparents. Best to know as little as possible before going on so if you have any interest in reading it, don’t read blurbs or reviews. Roofworld by Christopher Fowler is a horror novel about a society of people living on the rooftops of London office buildings. Also Spanky by the same author, which is one of those ‘deal with the devil’ kind of tales, and oh – also one I bought for the cover and my entry into Mr Fowler’s works, because why wouldn’t you? 

What 3 books are you an evangelist for?
A Prayer for Owen Meany, Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kick Me by Paul Feig, an incredibly sweet, funny memoir from the guy who created Freaks and Geeks

What are your favourite books by a first time author?
Behind The Scenes At The Museum, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson. 

What is your favourite classic book?

Five other notable mentions?
Election by Tom Perrotta
The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier and Clay by Michael Chabon
A Short History of a Small Place by T.R. Pearson
True Grit by Charles Portis
Anything at all by Damon Runyon