Friday, September 17, 2010
If I could always read, I should never feel the want of company.
Sunrise at Elizabeth Street Pier. May 2010.
So, the intention is for Friday to become Book Club Day. I am thinking that it will usually mean just talking about whatever it is I’ve just finished, but I thought that I’d open up by answering this questionnaire. If you are so inclined, try it yourself. It should give you an idea of what kind of reader I am, and whether or not our tastes may concur. If you’ve any specific queries about books or recommendations, as ever I am open to suggestion!
What have you just read?
In the past fortnight, I have read George Orwell’s mediation on the theme of poverty in the two cities Down and Out in Paris and London, Muriel Spark’s wicked little Loitering With Intent, Evelyn Waugh’s short history of Mussolini's imperial adventure Waugh in Abyssinia, and the darkly comic Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently re-reading Graham Greene’s magnum opus, The Power and the Glory. My current ‘go to book’ – the book that I dip in to between other books – is Big Questions in History, a collection of essays that does what it says on the cover. Thus, you get a prominent thinker explore ideas like “What is history?” “What makes a great leader?” “Why do revolutions happen?” et cetera, and another thinker responds to it. All very interesting!
Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that?
In the pile next up I have Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), which was published in 1889 by Jerome K. Jerome; and The Liar, Stephen Fry's first novel from 1991. I have another nine in my queue at the library, so should see a few more come in over the next few days.
What's the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
That’s a very big call. I shall offend a large segment if I say Canterbury Tales, written in Middle English won’t I?
What's one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
This is always trouble. I’ve a number of books I hold close to my heart and have had trashed by others who’ve taken on my recommendation (the worst cases being Slaughterhouse-Five and Lolita, which were both considered “trash” by a former acquaintance. The few people who’ve taken me up on reading A Woman in Berlin have come back contented, so why not pick that?
Admit it, sadly the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don't they?
I rarely see a librarian. I do my ordering online and check out books through the self-checking system. I am sure that they shudder when they see the approach of my two children, however.
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?
A few people that I’ve recommended The Book of Laughter and Forgetting to in the past have turned their noses up at.
Do you read books while you eat?
If I can.
While you bathe?
I used to. I ruined the spine of many a paperback that way. I remember reading Ice Station Zebra straight through while in the bath when I had my second bout of Chicken Pox. It had pages falling out by the end.
While you watch movies or tv?
I shouldn’t think it possible to read while watching TV. However could one concentrate?
While you listen to music?
I used to listen to the odd bit of classical music while reading (pre-children). Nothing too ‘busy’ though. Some quiet Chopin or Liszt on the piano, nothing involving cannons.
While you're on the computer?
Not a novel. I read plenty of articles online though. I have read while playing Championship Manager though.
When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?
If they did, I didn’t notice. People at work think it odd that I can (and choose to) read while walking to and from the bus stop though. Got to make the most of your free time, I say!
What's the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn't put it down?
There are things that I’d like to do that with, but children/work necessitate the prevail of duty. I did ensure that I completed Magnus Mill’s The Restraint of Beasts because I couldn’t wait to finish it the next day a few months back. It was only 11 pm though…
Have any books made you cry?
Many of them. Too many to count. Not “boo hoo” out loud though, more an ‘internal suppression of the urge’. I’ve noted Fredric Manning’s The Middle Part of Fortune on the Glenorchy via New Town not that long ago. A real tear jerker was Sophie’s Choice, which really was a great kick in the guts as I read it just after Henry was born and was already in a state!