Tag Archives: Douglas Adams

BBAW meme

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Here’s my next post in our continuing celebration of Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  The instructions were to just pick a few or to answer them all in 5 words or less.  Yeah, not so much with the brevity, but I did my best.  Enjoy learning a bit more about how I read, and please leave comments sharing your own reading habits.  You should also check out the main site for 2009 BBAW: http://bookbloggerappreciationweek.com

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

I like to eat sweets when I’m reading, especially since most of my reading time these days is on Sunday evenings.  A few Oreos or brownies hit the spot.

 

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Oh, I’m a scribbler, as those of you who have been following my Ulysses graffiti know.  The more “proper Literature” the novel, the more likely it is to get this treatment.  I do, however, draw the line at writing in library books.  That’s just bad manners (ok, I’ve copy-edited one or two, but I couldn’t help myself… really…)

 

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?  Laying the book flat open?

I’m rough on my books– dogearring pages left, right, and center; laying books open flat for months at a time until I get back to them; underlining bits I really need to remember.  And yet, for all of my admittedly abusive behavior, I’ve only ever lost the spines on one or two. 

 

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Generally, I’m a Fiction girl through and through, but this summer I’ve strayed into Non-fiction and quite enjoyed “Julie and Julia.”  

 
Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy is my bread and butter, but I do love a great audio book.  During my winter-time commutes (when I leave in the dark and come home in the dark), a rivoting audio book makes me actually wish for the traffic to be worse, so that I can listen to the end of the chapter.

 

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I tend to read to the end of the chapter– wait, let’s be truthful here… I promise myself I will just read to the end of the chapter, and then I end up reading 3 more chapters before I absolutely MUST put it down and go and do real work. 

 

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

I’m a bit of a word collector, so I try to look them up and then, if I find it interesting, jot it down in my little book.
What are you currently reading?

I nearly always have multiple books going at once.  Currently, I’m reading “Watch Your Back!” by Donald E. Westlake, “The Code of the Woosters” by P. G. Wodehouse, and “A Beautiful Blue Death” by Charles Finch.  All of them are very good in distinctly unique ways.
What is the last book you bought?

“Lust, Loathing, and a Little Lip Gloss” by Kyra Davis– It’s going to be my new bath book when I finish with Wodehouse.
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

As you can tell from my currently-reading list above, I’m a multi-book reader.  I have no trouble juggling plots and characters in my head– especially since I tend to have a bunch of very different books going, and pick them up according to the way I’m feeling at the moment.  I like to have a fluffy & fun “bath book,” a serious mystery, and a clever book going at any one time.

 

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? 

I really like reading a great mystery novel on a late afternoon during a rollicking thunderstorm.
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

I tend to really fall in love with characters and stories, so series novels are usually how I roll.     
Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

I love recommending Laurie R. King’s work– every single one of them are delicious– to people who like mysteries and strong writing.  Then, of course, I have my sci-fi favorite of Douglas Adams.
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

I organize my shelves superficially by author and genre, but most of the books are actually gathered into emotional groups– so that I can easily pick a book by what I Feel like reading at the time.  My dvds and cds are actually organized this way as well.

a beginner’s guide to Douglas Adams

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 Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, Bill Cosby, Mel Brooks, Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who …

You know that favorite thing you have– the one that you are zealously delighted to introduce to everyone around you?  That one that you can’t remember not loving?  That one that you quote from pretty constantly and crack in-jokes about with the two other people you know who are as nutty about it as you are?

For me, that thing is Douglas Adams, and I know I’m not alone. 

In fact, at this very moment, you may be sitting next to an Adams-addict.  One might be your teacher [Hi, kids.  See you all on the 24th]. One might live upstairs.   One might be your boss.  You are surrounded by Adams-addicts everyday.  How can you tell, you ask?  Do you need a magic decoder ring?  Is there a litmus test?  Do we all wear tee-shirts?

I want this.  I want this shirt.

 Here’s the test; are you ready?  Turn to any person you happen to meet, and simply ask him or her, “What is the meaning of life?”  If the answer comes back, “Forty-two,” then you, my friend, have found yourself an Adams-addict.

So he’s got a lot of fans.  Big deal– so does professional wrestling , and that’s just dumb [sorry, Jerry 😉 ] 

Well, do you remember when you first read Shakespeare and Greek mythology in high school, and then you started to see quotations and references to them everywhere?  Then you figured out that they had been there all along, but you’d never noticed, because you just didn’t know?  Adams is like that.   In fact, in science-fiction writing, there is such a thing as the “obligatory Hitchhiker’s reference.”  It appears in nearly every work of sci-fi written post-1980.  Go ahead– Google the phrase– you’ll see.

Why do we all love Douglas Adams so much?  Because the man looked at the world in an incredibly unique, intelligent, positive, and humorous way.  Then, he wrote it down. 

I could go on at length about his technique, perspective, and utterly original spirit, but I think that would spoil it for you.  Part of what draws Adams-addicts in is discovering for ourselves something new and precious every time we read his books, listen to his radio shows, watch his films, play his video games, use his towels [yes, you read that correctly– towels].

I’ll tell you how I got into Adams, but we have to go back a bit:  My father was in the Air Force in the mid-seventies, and he was stationed in England.  My mom, after their wedding, went to live with him.  Now, she didn’t have a car, didn’t know anyone, and had a husband who worked 24 hour shifts– so she spent a good deal of time listening to the radio and watching television.  She saw and enjoyed Doctor Who and Hitchhiker’s on tv.  Flash forward to about 1992 or so.  We were all living in South Florida.  My sister and I were hooked on Sci-Fi Saturday Nights on our local PBS station [WXEL].  Hitchhiker’s came on.  My mom said, “Oh, I remember this.  It was funny.  Let’s watch it.” 

I distinctly remember sitting on the cool tile floor and leaning against the couch, as the three of us watched the mini-series.  Yes, it was super cheesy in many places, but gosh, it was brilliant!  Then, my sister and I discovered the books, then his other novels… and in college, I began reading his non-fiction.  “Last Chance to See” is a wonderfully powerful book.  I found copies of his radio play scripts, watched his Doctor Who episodes, read his obituary with a deep sense of loss, and now I love “The Salmon of Doubt,” a collection of all sorts of writing that his friends rescued from his hard drive.  I have a particular fondness for the audiobook, to which many of his closest friends contributed.Ask any Adams-addict, and he or she will have a similarly personal story about discovering the brilliance that is Douglas Adams.

So, I will leave you with just a few examples of why I love Adams:

“The ships hung in the air in much the same way that bricks don’t.” 

“Scarcely pausing for breath, Vroomfondel shouted, ‘We don’t demand solid facts!  What we demand is a total absence of solid facts.  I demand that I may or may not be Vroomfondel!'”

 

“‘And I am Dr. Desiato’s bodyguard,’ it went, ‘and I am responsible for his body, and I am not responsible for yours, so take it away before it gets damaged.'”

“One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of acidentally becoming your own father or mother.  There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can’t cope with.  There is no problem about changing the course of history– the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw.  All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.  The major problem is quite simply one of grammar…”

 

“In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn’t cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you’ve taken all the baths you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.”

“‘My name,’ said the mattress, ‘is Zem.  We could discuss the weather a little.’  Marvin paused again in his weary circular plod.  ‘The dew,’ he observed, ‘has clearly fallen with a particularly sickening thud this morning.'”

 

Are you intrigued?  Good.  Go down to your library and pick up your copy today.  Then come back and leave your favorite quotation in the comments!  Till then, my hoopy froods, Don’t Panic!

the last saturday of summer

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It’s Saturday again, and you all know what that means… it’s Library Day!

Best snags today– newest Dorothy Cannell mystery; “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”; and “The Hound of the Baskervilles” with Jeremy Brett as Holmes.  (What is that I smell?  A comparison post?  Yummo!)

Check out my sidebar for the rest of my lovely swag.

And yes, coming this evening to a blog near you– Douglas Adams appreciation.  Watch this space.

tea with Douglas

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 A nice cozy chat about Douglas Adams is long overdue, my dears.  It is coming tomorrow, but until then, brew yourself a nice cup of tea (if you don’t know how to do it properly, see Douglas’s words on the matter.) and then nibble on these tasty treats from “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.”

“Professor Urban Chronotis, the Regius Professor of Chronology, or ‘Reg’ as he insisted on being called, had a memory that he himself had once been compared to the Queen Alexandria Butterfly, in that it was colorful, flitted prettily hither and thither, and was now, alas, almost completely extinct.” (11)

“Sunlight played along the River Cam.  People in punts happily shouted at each other to fuck off.  Thin natural scientists who had spent months locked away in their rooms growing white and fishlike, emerged blinking into the light.  Couples walking along the bank got so excited about the general wonderfulness of it all that they had to pop inside for an hour.” (13)

 “Michael ususally referred to his mother as an old battle-ax, but if she was fairly to be compared to a battle-ax it could only be to an exquisitely crafted, beautifully balanced battle-ax, with an elegant minimum of fine engraving which stopped just short of its gleaming razored edge.  One swipe from such an instrument and you wouldn’t even know you’d been hit until you tried to look at your watch a bit later and discovered that your arm wasn’t on.” (98)

  

Lovely, were they not?  But we don’t want to over-indulge.  More tomorrow.

 

Plum wonderful

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Plum Wodehouse at his typewriter

All right, folks, it is time we had a serious chat about the stunning and wonderful brilliance that is P. G. Wodehouse.  If you have never read his books (why not?!), you have deprived yourself of some of the most magnificent work in the English language.  Not only that, but he also had both a truely astonishing output and staying power.  Wodehouse wrote and was published continuously from 1903 to his death in 1975.  What other author can say such a thing?  In addition, Wodehouse was an absolute favorite of another brilliant (and deeply-missed) writer, Douglas Adams.  Adams once called him “a genius of the English language” and then proceeded to compare his writing to a Bach fugue [introduction to Sunset at Blandings].  Well, I mean, what higher praise is there?

“Yes, yes,” I can hear you cry, “But how can this be true? If this P. G. fellow is so brilliant, then why is he not taught in schools along with Shakespeare and Milton?” 

Ah– I have an answer for you, but you’re not going to like it.  Unlike Shakespeare and Milton, P. G. has never written a boring word in his life– thus he has been disqualified from the canon.  In all seriousness, Wodehouse wrote comedy, which is tragically undervalued in so-called “educational” literature.  {please note– I am a teacher and an English major.  I have read my share of truly mind-numbing “literature.”}  Plum, as he was called by his friends, was not interested one wit in changing society, or giving a grand message, or exposing the dark-underbelly of our tragic lives, or mourning the stark futility of our existential existences. 

He, instead, simply wrote the most fun, intelligent, and clever prose to make people laugh.  Yes– all of this just for the sheer joy of it.

I dare you to finish an entire Wodehouse novel and feel not happy with the world.

Now, being the perpetually stubborn optimist that I am (my college classmates may remember that I prefer the term “anti-utopia” to “dystopia” because I adamantly maintain that utopias are possible and that most people are inherently good-hearted), I find nearly all Literature (note the capital letter there), especially those that win the prizes, appallingly dark, grim, and horrible.  There is enough of that hideousness in real life!  I, like Plum, have no interest in glum navel-gazing when I’m reading.  Give me young Bertie Wooster and his bumbling escapades any day! 

this is the hardback version

And so, to that end, I submit for your reading entertainment, what I consider one of P. G. Wodehouse’s masterpieces of prose and plot: The Code of the Woosters (1938). 

You need this book.  Everyone who can read English needs this book.  Don’t worry; it’s definitely still in print.  Your copy is awaiting you at the bookstore as we speak.

“But, why oh why do I need to own this?  I already have bookshelves teetering to dangerous levels with my to-be-read pile.  My cats are huddling for cover under the bed.  What makes this book, which you have already clearly said does not have a deep and dark message, worth space in my house?”

Thank you for asking this, dear readers.  You need this book because every sentence in it is perfect.  To take just the teeniest of samples from pages 1 & 2 {it helps if you read it aloud.  All of Wodehouse is better when read aloud.}:

“He [Jeeves] shimmered out, and I sat up in bed with that rather unpleasant feeling you get sometimes that you’re going to die in about five minutes.  On the previous night, I had given a little dinner at the Drones to Gussie Fink-Nottle as a friendly send-off before his approaching nuptials with Madeline, only daughter of Sir Watkin Bassett, CBE, and these things take their toll.  Indeed, just before Jeeves came in, I had been dreaming that some bounder was driving spikes through my head– not just ordinary spikes, as used by Jael the wife of Heber, but red-hot ones.

He returned with the tissue-restorer.  I loosed it down the hatch, and after undergoing the passing discomfort, unavoidable when you drink Jeeves’s patent morning revivers, of having the top of the skull fly up to the ceiling and the eyes shoot out of their sockets and rebound from the opposite wall like racquet balls, felt better.  It would have been overstating it to say that even now Bertram was back again in mid-season form, but I had at least slid into the convalescent class and was equal to a spot of conversation.”

Enjoyed that, did you?  Good.  Now, close your eyes and imagine that there was an entire book written in exactly this way. Next, imagine that its plot revolved around a silver cow creamer, a bit of friendly blackmail,a good many engagements (intentional and otherwise), and the most perfect butler in all of literature, all with plot so hopelessly muddled by the end that only a cove of Jeeves’s marvelous intellect is able to unravel it and to conduct us all to the happy ending.  You would need to own such a book, would you not?   You may now open your eyes.  Thus,  The Code of the Woosters needs to come and live at your house.   

I should probably warn you at this point that once you have read one of Wodehouse’s novels, you will fall deeply in love with his prose.  Not to worry, though.  Unlike those irritating modern authors who only write one or two books and then bow out of the field, our Plum published over ninety books and musical plays.  All are frothing over with his wonderful words. 

There is no other way to end this but with Plum’s words from the end of this novel:

“Jeeves was right, I felt.  The snail was on the wing and the lark was on the thorn– or, rather, the other way round– and God was in His heaven and all was right with the world” (285-86).

With a Wodehouse book in your hand, all IS right with the world. 

 

p.s.  the only way to magnify the perfection of Wodehouse would be to combine him with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.  Such a thing was done between 1990 and 1993:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098833/

robots gone wild!

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V5, that is not the Doctor

"V4, that is not the Doctor"

We have finally reached the fourth and final part of the classic Tom Baker story Robots of DeathCheers and hurrahs resound.  For those of you lovely readers who have some catching up to do, click here for part 3 of these commentaries.

 

When we left our heroes, the ever-witty Doctor was being strangled by a homicidal robot, as a horrified Commander (sans extravagant hat)  stood by, being as useless as we have come to expect from him.

 

  1. Finally!  The Commander has made a command decision.
  2. I’d be a bit cranky if someone had just stuck a giant syringe in my skull, too.
  3. Good grief!  Toose is just useless.  And Mr. Boucher—rubbish dialogue.
  4. Is the Doc carrying ol’ Commander over the threshold?
  5. Ok, silly way to dispose of two murderous robots, but cute.
  6. I love SV7’s straight tone when he says, “Do not, V4, that is not the Doctor.”
  7. Um.. is she dead?  Because she is breathing quite visibly.
  8. Right, so the Commander could barely walk before, but now he can scuttle?  And way to reduce him to just a hanger-on peppering the Doctor (who is clearly now completely in command) with stupid questions.
  9. Ah—my favorite line from the entire story (which I used as the title of my episode 3 post b/c I couldn’t resist): “Please do not throw hands at me.”—I sooo want to use this in my classroom when everyone’s hands go up at once.
  10. Oh, good, useless girl will recover.  Oh joy.  Oh rapture.
  11. Yes, thank you Captain of Obvious Exposition.
  12. Her pj’s are still pretty snazzy.
  13. The image of the robot with the giant needle in his head is pretty disturbing, particularly given his body language.
  14. Oh—the two of these ladies crouching in corners together is some slash fiction writer’s dream come true.
  15. I notice and appreciate the continuity here—the robot who lost his hand in the door is still missing it.
  16. Clever, clever Leela—having intuition and all.  Good point that SV7 should have recognized her voice.
  17. Must have sucked to be one of the actors who had to play these *frozen* bots.
  18. Now that he’s out of immediate danger and back on his command deck, the Commander has reverted to his vacation home in Denial.  I’m enjoying that the Doc compares him to Marie Antoinette.
  19. Awfully convenient that they had a medical bed set up in the middle of the command deck.
  20. “I don’t understand!” whines Commander—let’s add that to your lengthy list, shall we.
  21. Ah—it was Pool who was controlling D84—clever.
  22. Another point in continuity’s favor are the makeup jobs on the Commander and Toose’s wounds—her neck is still red from being strangled.
  23. Now we get to the bottom of the not-cared about sub-plot.
  24. “And if we do come out, we will be destroyed anyway”—now that’s the first intelligent sentence you’ve uttered all day!
  25. Ummm… is anyone else creeped out by SV7’s resemblance to computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey?
  26. Ah—another bit of dramatic eye acting on Tom’s part
  27. Are they Zed Zed 9 Plural Zed Alpha bombs?
  28. Ha!  “Well, that’s your problem.  I can’t be every where at once.”
  29. Again with the door sound.
  30. Ah—something at which the Commander and Toose can be competent—what a nice change.
  31. Cue hordes of silly tinfoil robot boots.
  32. Once again, this episode’s heroes must have engaged their Somebody Else’s Problem Field as they hide in plain sight.  (yes, I know that was 2 Hitchhiker’s references in the space of 2 scenes, but they were just waiting to be made!)
  33. Commander—must you fall into EVERY sci-fi cliché?  When the Doctor says not to open the door—then don’t open the door.
  34. Ah, while other people were carrying the story, Dask has popped off and had a make-over.  I do think Trinny and Susanna have gotten this one a bit wrong, though.  I think he’s wearing the costume equivalent of a foil-wrap that we used at scout camp to bake chicken and rice over a campfire.
  35. I like the nice long draw back to wide-shot to reveal what we already suspected.
  36. Ummm… Dask, just a point here, but if they could hear you begging for entrance, can’t they also here you giving commands to your robot horde? 
  37. Aww, poor busted robot.
  38. Look, even in whatever century this is, they still use duct tape!
  39. Thanks for the needless definition of “robo-phobia.”  It’s moments like these that remind me that the BBC is under the mistaken impression (though, God only knows why) that Doctor Who is a kid’s show.
  40. “Right now he must be a happy little maniac.”  Ha!
  41. Once again, I am reminded that D84 is an early version of a K-9 character.
  42. Tom just said the key theme of Doctor Who: “I think you’re very important.”
  43. Robot against screen quite creepy.
  44. Every time he says, “My brothers,” I get a flashback to Mr. Mash from “Are You Being Served.”  I want to say, “Mr. Dask, get off the floor!  You know that you and the robots can’t be on the floor after 8 o’clock.”
  45. Meanwhile, back on the uselessly chaotic command deck.
  46. “We may not be so lucky a second time.”—it was awfully considerate of V5 to stand compressed against the door and blow up so nicely.
  47. Dude, you do realize that sooner or later they will realize that you’re human, too.
  48. Ah… a clever, clever trick, using a child’s party game against a maniac.
  49. How awful!  Poor D87!  He is a hero until the end!
  50. Um, when that robot sucker punches the Doctor and then shoves him against a wall, is he going to kill him or kiss him?  I think it could go either way from his body language.
  51. Ah, Dask, as with all meglo-maniacs, your need to torture your enemy will be your undoing.  Have you never watched this show?
  52. Even the music can’t take these two robot-hunting clowns seriously.  They’ve suddenly become Litefoot and Jago, minus the clever dialogue.
  53. Hello, Dask.  Just to let you know, I’ve been tortured by much crazier men than you, and Eddie Izzard wanted me to tell you that silver eye shadow is a death color.
  54. How does no one hear the incredibly loud helium canister?
  55. “Ah, I see.  You’re one of those boring maniacs who’s going to gloat.  Are you going to tell me your plan for running the universe?”  HA!  He is, too.
  56. Well, that at least makes a change.
  57. Finally, the Doctor has told him that he looks ridiculous in that outfit.
  58. I like how the voice change comes upon him so gradually that he doesn’t notice it—though in point of fact, that must be some mightily concentrated helium in order to displace an entire roomful of air.
  59. Ouch—poor Tom does look like his brain is being burned out.
  60. No, not losing his nerve, just overcome with the need to gloat.
  61. Oh—Go D84!!!!!  One final act of bravery!
  62. Those pyrotechnics are quite impressive and a bit gruesome, as we have come to recognize these robots as humanoid creatures.
  63. Ah—nick of time programming still apparently working quite well in this robot.
  64. Dude—there can be only one Master—and you don’t even make the short list.
  65. Gosh, Toose!  You’re racking up a strangle-count to rival young Kirk in the recent movie.  Just be grateful that you haven’t had to hang off any ledges lately.
  66. a useful tool- that giant needle.  I still feel sorry for it’s victims, though.
  67. “What squeak mouse?” 
  68. That control room looks like the throne room at the end of Hamlet.  Where’s Fortinbras when you need him?
  69. Oh—apparently he’s on the rescue ship.  Isn’t it a bit callous to leave the last two crew members trapped on a ship stuffed to the gills with dead people and robots? 
  70. Listen, just because Leela asked the question we were all wondering is no reason to get snippy there, Tom-boy.
  71. Oh, dear—I have discovered that I’ve been spelling Toos’s name wrong this whole time… well, I maintain that my spelling is better.  Otherwise, she’s “twos,” right?
  72. For that matter, they claim that my Pool is actually Poul.  Huh.  Well, this just goes to prove that I’m doing these as I’m watching.  We’ll claim spontaneity and move on, shall we.
  73. Speaking of random credits—they have periods in the names of the robots (I can see some copy-editor now: “Well, since they are, in fact, abbreviations, they should contain periods.”  “But there weren’t any on the costumes.”  “Not my fault.  I’m right, and I’m putting them in the credits properly.  So there.” Yes, indeed, methinks I smell a fellow English Major at work.)

 

And we are done!  Whoo—that was a long one. 

 

What did you think, folks?  Shall we have more of these?

are you a literary geek? umm, yes.

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A Literary Geek Meme

Thanks kindly to House of Duck, who let me borrow it.

1) What author do you own the most books by?

Lillian Jackson Braun– well, she did write over 30!  I think I own 8?  A close runner up would be Elizabeth Peters.  I think I have 6 or 7 of hers.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?

William Shakespeare’s plays– I’ve got 2 “complete” copies, and several versions of individual plays in paperback

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

Yes.  Yes, it does.  I do teach grammar, after all.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Sherlock Holmes– have been since I saw Jeremy Brett playing him; Laurie R. King has just encouraged me

4a) What fictional character would you most like to be?

Anne of Green Gables– who wouldn’t want to live on P.E.I and love Gilbert?

4b) What fictional character do you think most resembles you?

Polly from “The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew”– go on.  read it and see.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?

“The Outlaws of Sherwood” by Robin McKinley– I used to read it every six months when I was in school

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

Ohh.. that’s hard.  I started on adult novels pretty early.  I think by ten I was into Agatha Christies’ s “Tuesday Club Murders”

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

Wow, hmmm… this is difficult b/c I don’t tend to start books that I’m not already pretty sure I’m going to like.  Maybe “Miracle Myx”? (see my review here)

8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

 I think “At Home in Mitford”by Jan Karon– it’s a soft, pastor-in-a-small-town novel.  I laughed, I cried, and I immediately went and read the rest of the series straight through.  Then my dad did as well.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

“Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  It is fabulous, gothic, and about the love of books.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?

JK Rowling. Screw proper “literature” and the snobs.  Anyone who can get my 7th graders to read multiple 400+ page novels deserves this prize in my book!

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

I want to see “The Hobbit” done by the same crew who did such a great job with LotR.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie R. King– one of my favorite books, so I don’t want it spoilt

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

Sometimes when my brothers were little and I had to read “Green Eggs and Ham” to them all of the time, I’d find myself reciting it in my sleep.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

The Ranma 1/2 mangas

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

“The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Crime and Punishment” are tied here– I had to make charts half-way through just to keep all of the name changes straight;

however, I think “Ulysses” is going to take the cake, once I have finished it.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?

A Winter’s Tale

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

The French: “they don’t care what they do, actually– as long as they pronounce it properly” 🙂 [hint- quotation from the same source as my blog’s name]

18) Roth or Updike?

Updike– I like his rewrite of the Hamlet story: “Gertrude and Claudius”

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

Dave Eggers– who else would have the guts to call his novel/ memoir: “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”?!

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Shakespeare, any day.

21) Austen or Eliot?

Austen– but I actually prefer the film adaptations on these.  I had a bad experience with “Middlemarch” and haven’t yet forgiven Eliot.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Eliot, Austen, Bronte– that sort of thing.

23) What is your favorite novel?

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

24) Play?

“The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan– I like musical theatre.

25) Poem?

“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll

26) Essay?

Mark Twain on the inadequacies of James Fenimore Cooper

27) Short story?

oh, really, any of the Jeeves stories by P. G. Wodehouse

28) Work of non-fiction?

Harold Bloom on Hamlet

29) Who is your favorite writer?

Laurie R. King.  I’ve read, I think, everything she’s written, and they are all exceptional.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Toni Morrison.  I’m sorry, but all of her books are really the same basic characters and themes.

31) What is your desert island book?

“The Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: a five-book trilogy

32) And … what are you reading right now?

I am reading the following. I jump around based on my mood, where the book is in the house, and how much time I’ve got:

“Ulysses” by James Joyce

“Baby, Would I Lie?” by Donald E. Westlake

“A Beautiful Blue Death” by Charles Finch

How did you do?  Are you a literary geek too?  Drop me a comment below.