04 February 2008

Eva's Book Meme

Eva at A Striped Armchair has devised the following bookish meme, and after being tagged by Aarti I have finally posted my answers:

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
I would have said Atonement, if I hadn’t seen it panned recently! (Annoyingly, I can’t recall where.) So I’ll have to say ... Matthew Reilly. I know his books are hugely popular and successful, but I can’t shake the notion that they’re just the paperback versions of brainless action movies.

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?
Eva mentioned Henry Tilney, which gave me the following idea: Conjure up Henry, Mr Darcy, and Captain Wentworth and whisk them off to a Regency ball. I would wear out my slippers and doubtless cause a fine scandal by dancing with each of the aforementioned gentlemen far more times than is proper. I’d just have to hope that Mr Darcy was in an obliging mood - or perhaps take along Colonel Brandon or Mr Knightley instead.

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): 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 realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
Probably a really tedious textbook on political science or economics or something equally dull. If you’re talking fiction, The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. I’m not one for quitting on a book but I only lasted a handful of pages.

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?
This is one book-related thing I haven’t done.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘re-read’ it that you haven’t? Which book?
While checking off those of Angus & Robertson’s Top 100 I’d read, I ticked The Other Boleyn Girl, only to realise later that it was the one book of the series I hadn’t read.

You’ve been appointed Book Adviser 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 personalise the VIP)
Probably a book of short stories, so there’s not too much to read in one go.

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?
In the hope that reading comprehension would lead to everything else, Italian. I am deplorably monolingual but would love to know another language, and Italian would be a much easier accent to manage than French or German.

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?
Can I have all Jane Austen’s novels in a single volume and count that as one?

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)?
Ahh, cover art. That on even recently-published books that I read rarely match those on Amazon, and I eventually realised why: Most of the books we get down here are British editions. You’d think the number of textbooks I have with THIS EDITION NOT FOR SALE IN THE US emblazoned on them would have tipped me off sooner, but no.

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 is a single room that spans two floors, like you see in English country houses (I wouldn’t mind having the rest of the country house too :-). On each level three of the walls are lined with wooden shelves, which go up only as high as I can reach (I wouldn’t want to be forever up and down ladders, especially if I was wearing a long skirt) and are recessed into the walls, so the tops don’t get dusty and they can go all the way to the corners. Above the shelves the walls are done in light green wallpaper. The ground floor has a fireplace, comfy chairs and ottomans, and a chaise longue so I can put my feet up. There’s tables dotted about, lamps with stained glass shades, and Oriental carpets on the polished wooden floor. One section of shelf stops short of the floor to make room for a custom-made writing desk (drawers on the left); the shelf immediately above is divided into pigeonholes and the higher ones used for reference works and books relevant to whatever I’m writing. Up a spiral staircase is the first floor, ringed by a gallery with a wrought iron balustrade, and with suitably spaced chairs and lamps. Non-fiction is stored on the ground floor, along with my TBR books which are no longer packed into a box, but stacked haphazardly on specially-reserved shelves. Classic and general fiction are arranged alphabetically by author on the first- and then the remaining ground-floor shelves, with plenty of spaces for new additions. The books are much the same as what I have now: A mix of paperback and hardcover, old and new. The fourth wall of each floor has floor-to-ceiling windows with French doors; the lower pair leading out onto a rose-lined terrace and the upper to a private balcony - both with chairs to relax and read in. At night the green velvet curtains are drawn to create a cozy hideaway for me and two cats. And the finishing touch: One of those bookcases conceals a secret doorway!

(And now it’s back to reality and the need to rearrange the shelves in the spare room to make way for the overflow from the shelves in the family room, and the certain knowledge that before too much longer I will be forced to ... cull.)

And the final portion of this assignment is to tag four others:

In Spring it is the Dawn
My life in Books....
Nose in a Book
Slipping in the Rain

*And, for extra credit, if you leave a comment letting Eva know you’ve done the meme with a link to the post, she will give you some link love via a big list of who’s participated. Additionally, if you link back to her original post, she will enter you in a drawing to win The House at Riverton. If you’re an American, this is especially exciting since it isn’t going to published until April. ;) To be in the drawing, you must have posted the meme (and commented) by February 5th, which is when she is holding the drawing.


Eva said...

Oh, can I come to your ball? I'll bring Mr. Knightley, since he's a great dancer. :)

I love Jane Austen so much! I think I'm going to reread Sense and Sensibility this month-it's been a long-ish time.

Oh, and your library sounds great. :D

Amat Libris said...

The more the merrier! I must re-read Pride and Prejudice soon - I haven't picked it up in years!

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776