Answers to My Own Questions
1. Have you ever liked a movie more than the book? If so, what movie(s)?
Yes, before legal thrillers were a dime a dozen, and no one had ever heard of some new guy named John Grisham, I read a book called The Firm, which kept me absolutely riveted from beginning to end. When the movie came out, I was sure it wouldn't be as good as the book, especially since it starred Tom Cruise. I was wrong. I can't remember why (we're talking nearly twenty years ago now), but I distinctly remember thinking that some changes had been made for the movie version that made it even better than the book.
2. ________ opening for __________ would be a dream concert. Fill in the blanks. (You can fill them in with performers dead or alive.)
Jamie Cullum. Ella Fitzgerald. And then I hope they would come onto stage and do a few numbers together.
3. If you're making dinner and don't need to take into account anyone else's tastes but your own, what do you find yourself having over and over again?
Fried egg on toast, or baked beans on toast, or (if I'm really being fancy and decadent) fried egg and baked beans on toast.
4. You get to interview the author of the book you are reading right now. What's the first question you'd ask?
I'm (as usual) reading several books at once, but I will ask Lawrence LeShan, author of How to Meditate: Am I ever going to get to the point at which I can focus and keep my mind from wandering all over the place? (I've been trying fifteen minutes a day for three weeks now without much success at all.)
5. If the world becomes one in which all new novels are only published in digital format, what will you miss most?
Going to bookstores and browsing the new book shelves to see what (if anything) strikes my fancy. I do judge books by their covers, and digital covers are completely unsatisfying.
6. If you had been gifted to play any musical instrument brilliantly, what would you choose to play? (Or maybe you are so-gifted. If so, what do you play?)
The banjo. It's just such a fun, happy instrument.
7. The "war between the sexes" has been around since the beginning of time. What do you think is the biggest problem between the sexes today?
The fact that we still raise our children in ways that adhere to traditional sex roles. We're getting better, but we have a lo-o-ng way to go, and I'd say we've gone backwards since the 1970s, and Free to Be You and Me, what with all this focus on princesses and fairies and pink and lavender for girls these days, not to mention seven-year-olds being encouraged to wear tight-fitting, cleavage-baring clothes for their non-existent cleavage.
8. If you could switch places with any celebrity for three months, with whom would you like to switch places?
Nigella Lawson. I want to be able to cook like her. I want her kitchen. I want to write like she does (and to write for such publications as The New York Times). And I want to look like her. If I didn't love her so much, I would hate her.
9. You can eat at any restaurant in the world. Where would you eat?
The Hanapepe Cafe and Espresso Bookstore. Books, delicious coffee, fabulous food. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, it's in Kauai, HI.
10. What book do you wish you hadn't wasted your time reading last year?
Heaven is for Real. That one very nearly did in this curious cat, who wonders just how many lives she has left to waste on books that pique her curiosity because she can't believe so many people are actually reading them and taking them seriously.
11. Would you like me to answer all these questions myself?
I think I've answered this one.
Answers to Ms. Musing's Questions
1. How do you mark the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend?
Since I work part-time, often on Saturdays and am married to a minister, my "weekend" is very different from most, basically it consists of Sunday afternoon and Monday. I typically mark it by coming home from church, changing into something extremely comfortable, eating lunch, and spending the afternoon reading before having some sort of "date" with Bob, whether that's going to dinner or a movie or just staying in and playing games.
2. What is your idea of luxury?
A day spent in bed, alone, with a good book.
3. Tell me a book, a drink, and a food that all complement each other.
Amor Towles's The Rules of Civility, a martini (or anything made with gin), and crackers with some sort of really delicious aged cheese.
4. What is one thing you love about the house (flat, apartment, yurt, whatever) and one thing you would change?
I love almost everything about it: the fact that it's over a hundred years old, its high ceilings, its hard-wood floor, its cool molding, it's large front porch, the large walk-up attic. It's a fabulous house.
I would change its horrible, horrible location: right on an extremely busy highway, traveled day and night by noisy tractor trailers, which makes the front porch impossible to use. There are so many gorgeous places in this county where I would happily pick it up and plop it down, if only I could.
5. What is something about yourself that you have made peace with?
I will never tan; that creamy, white skin can be beautiful, too (I mean, look at Nicole Kidman), no matter what the fashion industry wants us to believe; and that it is much better to stay out of the sun than to burn myself and risk skin cancer.
6. If you're browsing in a real-world bookshop, what will make you pick up a book that you've never heard of by an author you're not familiar with?
a. The cover
b. The fact that it's on a "staff recommends" shelf or has some sort of "staff-recommended" blurb associated with it
7. If you could (or do) have it your way, what's your decorating style (plain, fancy, girlie, austere, classic...?)
Definitely classic. Visit Pierpont Morgan's library in NYC (the part that was his). Antiques, leather, wood, huge fire place, wall-to-wall books. That's what I want (unfortunately, I don't have the money for that sort of thing).
8. What never fails to cheer you up?
Reading Three Men in a Boat (preferably outside, on a gorgeous day, by some body of water, with multiple glasses of fresh and icy cold lemonade).
9. What are you going to do when you retire that you don't have time for now?
Bake my own bread. In fact, bake in general. I also hope to learn about wild flowers and trees, hiking all those trails in Maine.
10. Given the chance, which house in literature would you move into and why?
The brownstone in NYC that Elizabeth Enright's Melendy family lived in in The Saturdays, because it was obviously conveniently located to anything the kids wanted to do (museums, opera, Central Park, etc.), while also being a typical brownstone, with its multiple floors (I'm a fan of multiple floors). I would also like to have the country home the family moves into in The Four-Story Mistake, because it's another dream house, with its cupola and secret rooms and nooks and crannies (and, of course, multiple floors). It was probably in Westchester County somewhere, but once I moved to Connecticut, I liked to think it was in Connecticut.
11. What don't you wear, not because it doesn't suit you, but because you don't think you're the sort of person who wears that style/colour/a poncho?
Long, tight dresses with plunging necklines and slits up to the hip. I don't have the right sort of curves, and I'm not a movie star and will never be on stage receiving an Oscar. Also, if I need tape to keep myself inside anything, I'm not going to wear it.