Monday, August 20, 2007

Yesterday: a Challenge; Today: a Meme

I found this one while relaxing in the striped armchair.

What are you reading right now?
Dreamland by Kevin Baker (Fabulous!)
Rumspringa by Tom Schachtman (Very interesting.)
Amish Grace by Donald Kraybill, et al. (Also, very interesting.)
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Better than the movie. Really.)
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (Fun, but nothing outstanding.)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Fabulous!)
Babycakes by Armistead Maupin (Fabulous!)

And, as if that isn't enough, Bob and I are on a little "mini-vacation," long weekend in New Hampshire, and we went to one of my favorite independent bookstores last night, where I picked up a copy of Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass. Dreamland got pushed aside last night as I started this one. This has been an odd month for me, as I usually don't read more than five or six books at a time. I think it's because I've been reading all this stuff about the Amish.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I have some vague notions. I will most definitely read the next Maupin, and I want to read Jodi Picoult's Plain Truth, and I plan to start The Math Gene by Keith Devlin.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
Cooking Light and The New Yorker

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
Fiction: Well, I wasn't exactly "forced" to read it, but I had nothing else to do. Years ago, before I'd moved to Connecticut, I was visiting from North Carolina, got stuck in the airport with nothing to read, and made the huge mistake of buying some Jackie Collins novel (because it was nice and fat and might last). I have no idea which one it was, but I never finished it, and it's the only book I've ever bought that ended up in the trashcan.

Nonfiction: Every science and social studies textbook I had to read from elementary through high school. I am amazed by all those textbook authors' abilities when it comes to making two fascinating subjects so extraordinarily boring and tedious.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
I have more than one, and all my friends and family members can attest that I've forced at least one of these on them at some point: Jack Finney's Time and Again, Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, and Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth.

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
Actually, they don't. They know my face, yes, unless they are extraordinarily unobservant, but I used to be a librarian and "am perfectly capable of finding the answers to all my questions myself, thank you." And now all the libraries I frequent even have self check-out, so I can get in and out barely being noticed.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
All right, friends, help me out here. What have I recommended that made you think, "Emily is definitely off her rocker?"

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?

While eating: is there anything in life, truly, that is more enjoyable than reading and eating two delicious things together?

While bathing: besides reading and eating two delicious things together, is there anything in life, truly, more enjoyable than reading while immersed in a bubble bath?

While watching movies or TV: besides reading while bathing, is there anything in life, truly, more enjoyable than being able to pick up a book and tune out some stupid program your significant other has chosen to watch on TV or being able to mute the TV while a commercial is on and pick up a book while you wait for the return of whatever you're watching?

While you listen to music: is there anything less enjoyable in life than trying to finish a chapter while simultaneously trying to accompany Ella Fitzgerald?

While on the computer: oh yes, there is something less enjoyable in life than trying to finish a chapter while doing a poor Ella Fitzgerald imitation. It's called trying to read two things simultaneously.

While having sex: what I find truly more enjoyable and less enjoyable in this arena is none of your business.

While you're driving: I would imagine the most un-enjoyable experience of all would be to wind up a vegetable, plastered all over the media, politicians deciding whether you should live or die, having been thrown from your car during an accident that would have been completely avoidable had you not been stupid enough to have your nose buried in a book while driving. (I've noticed this does not keep certain people from doing so while driving in rush-hour traffic in CT. Nor does it keep them from doing things like playing the guitar, or eating yogurt, or putting on makeup. I would not be one of these sorts of people.)

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
No. I was keenly attuned to "what to do to avoid being teased," and didn't let any of the other kids know how much I was actually reading. After all, I had enough things I couldn't avoid letting them know, like being one of the smallest kids in the class and having very fair skin. Anything I could hide, I hid.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffennegger

Tagging: all the usual suspects. You know who you are.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't read more than two books at the same time! I'm going to look some of these up (I've only read "The Wizard of Oz" and "Grapes of Wrath" from your list).

I'm still at my sister's house in Chicago and was shocked to learn that Audrey Niffenegger lives down the street from her. Who knew? I LOVED that book. The movie version is supposed to start shooting any minute.

IM said...

I'm going to consider myself tagged for this meme. I was looking for a good topic and this one fits the bill.

Anonymous said...

My, that is a lot of reading! Try as I might I can never manage more than two books at one time...anything else overwhelms me. And if you ever come visit I am going to have to find a different magazine to keep in the bathroom - that's where our New Yorkers go as well.

Rebecca H. said...

I haven't yet thought that you are off your rocker, but I'll certainly let you know if I do! :)

Anonymous said...

Dodie Smith wrote I Capture The Castle - sorry to be pedantic but I agree, it's one of my favourite books and I'd hate anybody to be unable to find it!

Emily Barton said...

Danny, I think you'd like Dreamland. Even if he hadn't mentioned it in the acknowledgments, it's obvious Baker was influenced by Yezierska. Your family is just way too connected to so many of my modern-day heroes.

Ian, you are most definitely tagged.

Court, it's really too much. I'd like to become someon who only reads about three books at a time, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Dorr, please do!

Hannah, of course! And thank you so much for pointing that out. I can't believe I made that mistake, but then, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn happens to be the one book I force on every thirteen-year-old girl I know.

Anonymous said...

Three Men in a Boat--love it! Ever since I read it I tell everyone about it. I even bought a copy for my boss when she left to go work for a new company.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this a great meme? Loved your answers, Emily, and you remind me that I must haul out my old copy of Armisted Maupin.

Emily Barton said...

Litlove, yes, this was a particularly fun meme, and yes, pull out that Maupin for some afternoon when you're needing a good laugh.