Saturday, February 9, 2008

tagged, I'm it.

Being a librarian is so often a bibliophile's version of "water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink". I cannot tell you how many times someone has said to me, "Oh! you're a librarian! That must be so much fun, being able to read all day!" Librarians do not read all day, contrary to popular belief. The library can certainly be a magical place, but I have yet to see little pixies running around the stacks weeding uncirculated books from the collection.

Like any book lovers, librarians feel the same excitement at the prospect of a new novel by a favorite author, the discovery of an old book filled with beautiful illustrations long forgotten in the non-fiction section, or the chance to browse the shelves uninterrupted. So when
Phlegmfatale of Fatale Abstraction tagged me to complete a book meme, I could hardly say no.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

I don't know if this makes me snobbish, but I just cannot make myself read books that are popular, whether it be fiction or non. Patrons will come in monthly and order every single novel on the bestseller's list, not even caring what the novels are about...this is the literary version of television, a mindless busying of the brain. I see the people that read James Patterson (who, by the way, does not really write his own books anymore!) and the newest self-improvement schlock from Oprah and I am not that type of person.

Okay, fine. I am a snob.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Since I don't read much fiction beyond fantasy novels, this question is a difficult one to answer. It'd be fun to hang out with Eowyn, Polgara and Nanny Ogg. Maybe I'd take them all to the range and then for beers after - just a few, though. Too many and we'd risk having Nanny Ogg dancing on the tables and Eowyn blubbering about Aragorn, all under Polgara's disapproving gaze.

You are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it's past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Probably anything by Wanda E. Brunstetter. She writes romantic Christian women's fiction with an Amish/quilting theme. (and please - could I get the abridged version, to hurry things along?)

Come on, we've all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?

Perhaps a few works by philosophers. I adore philosophy but tend to hate philosophers - lazy navel-gazing egomaniacs, the lot of them.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realize when you read a review about it/go to 'reread' it that you haven't? Which book?

I usually have the opposite happen: I read something and am so unimpressed that I forget all about it until I pick it up again. A few pages in, I get book déjà vu.

You've been appointed Book Advisor to a VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why? (if you feel like you'd have to know the person, go ahead of personalize the VIP.)

I've recommended books I like to people who "aren't big readers." It's a futile effort, most times. I've learned my lesson and now direct them to the DVDs instead.

But if I had to suggest something, I might tell them to take a look at any of the books by artist Andy Goldsworthy. His work makes people gasp aloud and the images stay with you for a long time. It's not reading, exactly - but it will make your brain happy.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

I'd love to read Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus in the original ancient Greek. I was the geek that not only read Oedipus for literature class, but went on to voluntarily read Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus, too. I also drew out family trees for the Greek pantheon, based on Edith Hamilton's Mythology.

Looking back, I'm surprised that I had friends at all in high school.

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

The Norton Anthology of Poetry

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What's one bookish thing you 'discovered' from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

I like the new trend in history writing that focuses on the history and impact of single items such as salt, the toothpick, glass, cod, even the color mauve. I really enjoyed Finlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette. Fascinating stuff!

I'm also very excited about reading more of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. His language is rich in imagery, his ideas very often profound, and...

"Magrat had used a lot of powder to make her face pale and interesting. It combined with the lavishly applied mascara to give the guard the impression that he was looking at two flies that had crashed into a sugar bowl. He found his fingers wanted to make a sign to ward off the evil eyeshadow."

I don't think I've laughed so hard while reading in a long time!

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

My dream library would be quiet, comfortable, and well-lit. There would be a buffet of teas available, any flavor you desire, hot or iced and cozy chairs around a fireplace, warm blankets to snuggle under, and cats to warm your lap on blustery winter afternoons. When the weather is mild and the sun is shining, you could sit under a tree in an outdoor atrium. The atrium would have a koi pond to amuse the cats and a fragrant herb garden to delight your senses.

The library's collection would be heavy on the classics (both fiction and non-fiction) with as many hardcover copies as possible. Fiction would be organized by author only - no separating out special collections such as mystery fiction, African-American fiction, women's fiction or the like. Non-fiction, naturally, will be strictly organized using the Dewey Decimal system. There would be no children's department, although some nostalgic, well-written, and/or beautifully illustrated children's books would be included in the collection.

So. There you have it. A few of my thoughts on reading and books. If you like this meme, and want to give it a try, consider yourself tagged. Please leave a link to your answers in the comments to this post!

7 comments:

Bernadette said...

Oh, I love books, but I can imagin, your comparison with the water-drop is just perfect!

Greetings from Austria!
Bernadette

Christina LMT said...

Excellent, Breda!
I love that you'd invite Polgara...I'm rereading the Malloreon right now, while my daughter is reading the Belgariad for the first time...and LOVING it!

*squeeeeee*

Lydia said...

You had friends in high school because we were all dorks. I took a popular game show from my youth and made a mythology version of it for Mrs. Theodore's 6th grade language arts class.

As for Oedipus, I theorized how the events would have happened if their genders had been reversed (how I though I was straight I have no clue)

phlegmfatale said...

Thanks so much! I love your answers. I, too, shy away from the best-sellerish stuff - cringe-inducing, that.

Nanny Ogg thrills the little cockroaches of my heart.

Your liberry sounds inviting, too.

Ace said...

Out of curiousity...do you see Angelica Huston playing Polgara?

I always picture her whenever I re-read the Belgariad.

Jeffrey Quick said...

OK, I played.

Earl said...

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

I will not admit to irrationally cringing – I am a man and I don’t irrationally anything and cringing isn’t possible for the brave. Now I do avoid books that tell me how I should see the world, and I devour books that tell me how the author sees the world. I don’t open books that want me to believe in God and goodness that don’t match mine, and being unique that hasn’t happened.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Adele Mundy, Honor Harrington, and Paksenarrion would join me for an afternoon of shooting and war gaming and discussions about the combat abilities of females in a culture’s survival.

You are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it's past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Trees in a Winter Landscape.

Come on, we've all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?

I work in a library, I don’t pretend for they are hard on fools and liars in good libraries – is this part of ‘we have all sinned?’ and fallen short.


As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realize when you read a review about it/go to 'reread' it that you haven't? Which book?

No, but I don’t read a book because of reviews normally, cover art has fooled me into reading something I had read with a different cover, or read something that wasn’t written as well as painted on the cover…

You've been appointed Book Advisor to a VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why? (if you feel like you'd have to know the person, go ahead of personalize the VIP.)

I recommend a light read, such as a Robert B. Parker ‘Spencer’ book, Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer would probably work also – yes, for a man or a woman, what do I know…

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

Russian: for sci-fi, fantasy, poetry and literature

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

The Bible

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What's one bookish thing you 'discovered' from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

Nothing, is there book blogging?

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

Woods, cherry, maple and some burl oak, shiny brass circular stairways to upper levels, rolling ladders to get to the highest shelves, books bound in leather, or with mylar jackets protecting the cover art. Lots of windows overlooking rambling rivers, green grounds and lovely old trees that surround the almost castle-like library. Great lighting inside to read and write by, a fire when the cold comes with nightfall and Winters, leather chairs and couches, bronze statues of beauty and thought. Highest speed internet and no commercial interruptions. Every book I would ever want to read is present, every book I should have read is in its place and there is coffee and tea competing with the tobacco smell and the lemon oil.

I had no idea where to find the questions nor place the answers, but I did this.