Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ten Questions for Book Bloggers

I've seen this posted on a friend’s bookblog, so herewith is my farthings worth.

What are you reading right now?
Don Delillo’s Falling Man; Herodotus [I am always dipping in and out of this), John Updike’s best [IMHO] novel, The Centaur and Homer’s Odyssey both of which I read at least annually, and whatever Al Franken book I happen to have handy; oh yes, I almost forgot: an amazing non-fiction book.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
No, I wander through my shelves and find something that looks like the next book I am supposed to read.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
None in the bathroom – it is too damp, makes the pages curl. But, on my coffee table, I have The New Yorker, Newsweek, Atlantic, Times (London) Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and a National Geographic issue on Zebras.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
American Literature from 1492 to 1840 or so. This was the only lit class I ever took that I really hated. It has permanently damaged my tastes for American Literature.

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
No. My wife is a librarian, so on the extremely rare occasions when I borrow books, she does it for me. Buying books, saving books, being able to write in the margins, underline, annotate is delicious.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
The Centaur, Stones of Summer by Dow Mossman, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners, Ulysses, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, and Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story. How could any serious, committed reader have only one?

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?
Anything by Joyce, Stones of Summer, and The Aunt's Story by Patrick White.

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?
This is a huge question with lots of depends. When I am alone (not often anymore), I always read when I eat. Shower, no baths, so out of the question (see bathroom/magazine question above). Sometimes I read magazines and/or newspapers when I watch TV. Computer too important to my work, so I take reading breaks when I am working. NEVER when I am having sex – my focus is laser-like then! Not when I am driving, but when I am riding on long trips.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Yes. Every summer I joined the “Vacation Reading Club” at my local branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. From 5th grade on, the librarian came to school every September to give me a certificate for reading ten books over the summer (as if that was some trick for me. I usually finished the ten books by the fourth of July). As years passed, there were fewer and fewer certificate winners. Finally, in 8th grade, I was the only one. They teased me all those years, but thankfully, I ignored them. I still am suspicious of anything that even begins to smell like peer pressure.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Dow Mossman’s The Stones of Summer. The book is over 700 pages, and as I got deeper and deeper it sucked me in like quicksand. I think I read the last 150 pages in one night.

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