I have returned to Houston after a week-long trip to Charlotte to celebrate the union of big and lil’ bee, also known as Beth and Brian. The bride was gorgeous and the reception was full of dancing half-drunk people I hadn’t seen in quite some time. I will post longer about bee’s wedding soon! But for now…
I was tagged by Heather (hi Heather!) to complete this book survey. And I’d like to preface my answers by saying that this “one book” business is a load of donkey poo. I therefore will ignore this phrase every time it appears and name as many books as I please, thankyouverymuch.
1. One book that changed your life?
There are quite a few, actually. One big one is Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s not one of my favorites, but while writing a paper on it for a 19th Century Literature and Culture class at American I realized that I should think about going to graduate school for an English PhD.
2. One book you have read more than once?
Against my will, I have read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness many, many times. And this makes me very angry.
Of my own volition, I’ve read a lot of Ray Bradbury more than once, in particular The October Country and Something Wicked This Way Comes, as well as portions of The Martian Chronicles. I’m planning on reading Thackeray’s Vanity Fair again very soon. Some of my audio books I’ve listened to at least five or six times, since I had to drive to Killeen so much over the past year (never again! never again!). I can practically recite portions of Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons and David Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Oh, and I’ve read Oliver Twist twice for class. But I don’t mind. Because unlike reading Conrad, reading Dickens doesn’t suck away my will to live.
In general, though, I have so much reading to do that reading anything more than once is usually out of the question.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Anything that would instruct me on how to escape said island. That is, if my circumstances were dire. If I was happily established on this desert island, I’d probably want something islandy and adventurey. Maybe some Defoe, despite my distaste for most eighteenth-century literature.
4. One book that made you laugh?
Anything by Sedaris and selections by Dave Eggers, in particular the preface to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. (Although I have to say, I wasn’t horribly impressed with You Shall Know Our Velocity.) The short essay on fireflies in Robert Fulgham’s It Was On Fire When I Laid Down On It. I’m seriously considering using that somewhere in my wedding, because the ending is actually really insightful. Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. And some of the scatalogical poetry of Rochester is great. And reading it makes watching The Libertine not suck so much.
5. One book that made you cry?
Cry? Books never make me cry. I am a hard-hearted automaton.
6. One book you wish had been written?
This is a weird question. I suppose I wished Emily Bronte had hung in there a little longer… I think the follow-up to Wuthering Heights would have been great.
7. One book you wish had never been written?
Heart of Darkness damn it! And maybe some Hemingway. I really don’t like Hemingway. But then again, I wouldn’t begrudge some of my Americanists their classics, so I suppose I will allow him to exist.
8. One book you are currently reading?
Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. I love Hardy like a fat kid loves pie. When I don’t feel up to paying a lot of attention or taking notes on mini-stickies, I’ve been picking up Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I have to admit is, so far, a disappointment. But I just finished Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love, and I recommend that one.
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Oh, the list could go one forever, and I’m sure my advisors would agree. Everything Dickens I haven’t gotten around to, which is a lot. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and most other Victorian children’s heavy-hitters. Adam Bede by George Eliot. White Teeth by Zadie Smith.
10. Now tag five people.
I don’t tag. But feel free to gank the survey.