On a Books & Reading Meme

Because I can, a meme about books!

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Either Philip K. Dick or Larry Niven, with Ernest Hemingway close behind.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
More than likely, it’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Other contenders? The Lord of the Rings. Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar series. The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. The I Ching.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
When I was twelve, that would have been Arkady Darrell from Isaac Asimov’s Second Foundation, though I truly think I loved her more for Michael Whelan’s painting of her (red hair and legs) than for her actual character, which was quite bland.

I’m not sure that I have an answer to this question now.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
Among the possibilities… Asimov’s The Caves of Steel, David’s Imzadi, Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, Leiber’s Swords in the Mist, Niven & Pournelle’s Footfall, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
I have no idea, honestly. When I was ten? That was a quarter-century ago…

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
J.M.C. Blair’s The Lancelot Murders. More anon. (Yes, I read a Glenn Beck in the last year. And Blair’s novel somehow managed to be worse.)

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Honestly, nothing’s standing out. (This isn’t a bad thing; I read a lot of words, I work with a lot of words, and words all kinda flow together.)

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Snoopy’s It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
Michael Chabon. Or Jonathan Lethem.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Any of Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar books. Preferably directed by Guillermo del Toro. Barring that, a full-length animated film adapting Don Rosa’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck would be pretty fantastic.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Heinlein’s A Stranger in a Strange Land.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I dreamt of a literary sci-fi convention that was held in a Sam’s Club. (It’s a giant warehouse store. So imagine metal racks that reach to a warehouse ceiling, a dusty concrete floor, and people giving samples of pork and beans.)

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
I have no idea. I have read some absolute junk over the years.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Difficult can be defined any number of ways. In the sense of challenging, I could point to some medieval texts. In the sense of frustrating, I could point to some tie-in fiction. Generally, though, if the book isn’t gripping me, isn’t working, I ditch between pages fifty and one hundred.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
I’ve only ever seen Macbeth live. I do have Titus on DVD, though, and I liked that.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I find my battles with Napoleon to be more challenging than my battles with Ivan the Terrible. The former at least makes the pretense of putting up a fight. The latter will inflict horrific casualties, but he eventually rolls over.

Oh, wait. This isn’t asking about Age of Empires III

I’ve read Tolstoi and I’ve read Sartre. I prefer Tolstoi. I’ve also ready Chekhov and Teilhard. I prefer Teilhard. So, it’s really a wash, isn’t it?

Tiebreaker! Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. Russian composers have done more for me than French.

18) Roth or Updike?
Updike, but only because I’m slightly more familiar with Updike’s work.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Umm… neither? I don’t find Sedaris interesting, and Eggers’ work just… annoys me with its self-consciousness.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Oh, I can’t choose!

Okay, Milton, for Paradise Lost, for making Lucifer a tragic hero, for the viewpoint that there is nothing noble or worthy about serving or worshipping the Judeo-Christian god. Yes, I realize that is not Milton’s intent — the man was a stauch Puritan and Parliamentarian during the English Civil War — but, truly, Milton was of the Devil’s Party. 😉

21) Austen or Eliot?
Pride & Prejudice versus The Waste Land? What kind of comparison is that? T.S. Eliot, definitely.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I’ve read pathetically little Faulkner or Steinbeck.

23) What is your favourite novel?
The Hound of the Baskervilles

24) Play?
Richard III

25) Poem?
“Jabberwocky”

26) Essay?
Nothing suggests itself… :-/

27) Short story?
Lean Times in Lankhmar

28) Work of non-fiction?
Again, nothing suggests itself… :-/

29) Who is your favourite writer?
I’d be hard-pressed to choose, because I can be so moody when it comes to reading. There’s no writer at present that I’m absolutely obsessive about.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I can’t decide between Joss Whedon, Mark Millar, and J. Michael Straczynski.

31) What is your desert island book?
The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh

32) And … what are you reading right now?
I’m in-between at the moment, having just abandoned P.D. James’ The Children of Men and just finished H. Paul Jeffers’ The Stalwart Companions. I have just bought Margaret Wander Bonanno’s Star Trek novel, Unspoken Truth, which I’m sure will be wonderful in spite of the underwhelmingly craptacular cover, but what I’m actually itching to read at the moment is Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series.

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