Friday, August 24, 2007

The Joy of Language Meme

LitLove put this fantastic book meme together, and I couldn't help but steal it. Spread it far and wide, my lovelies!

List some of your favourite words: kumquat, roustabout, hootenanny, evanescent, crispy, pucker, svelte

What’s your favourite maxim or proverb? "No one can be caught in places he doesn't visit." --Danish Proverb

What’s your favourite quotation? "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."--Gloria Steinem (one of many...I keep quote journals)

What’s your favourite first line of a novel? It's cruel to have to choose just one....

"In their thirteenth summer, beneath a sky thickening with summer thunderclouds, four friends rode their bikes to Lafayette Cemetery where the dead are buried above ground." --A Density of Souls, by Christopher Rice

Other favorite: The opening (long) line of A Tale of Two Cities

Give an example of a piece of description that’s really pleased you in your reading lately: "I sat at my desk to write my Sunday morning letter to Naoko, drinking coffee from a big cup and listening to old Miles Davis records. A fine rain was falling outside, while my room had the chill of an aquarium. The smell of mothballs lingered in the thick sweater I had just taken out of a storage box. High up on the windowpane clung a huge, fat fly, unmoving. With no wind to stir it, the Rising Sun hung limp against the flagpole like the toga of a Roman senator. A skinny, timid-looking brown dog that had wandered into the quadrangle seemed to be sniffing every blossom in the flower bed. I couldn't begin to imagine why any dog would have to go around sniffing flowers on a rainy day." --Norwegian Wood (217).

It was the dog sniffing flowers that really got me. :)

Which five writers do you particularly admire for their use of language? Siri Hustvedt, Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth, Paul Auster, Zora Neale Hurston

And are there writers whose style you really dislike? John Steinbeck's in general, although I was quite drawn to East of Eden.

What’s the key to really fine writing, in your opinion? Believability and the ability to express some emotion or bit of intellectual goodness that others haven't quite been able to express.


  1. You're such a good little book lover. I love books but obviously not as much as you and your love for all things writing/reading so reading your posts like this are very interesting to me.

  2. This meme is gonna be a head-scratch for me. Five authors I can only choose? And the one quote? I'll have to work on it. :)

  3. I like "pucker" - so kissy.

    "No one can be caught in places he doesn't visit." - ah. You chose a proverb on cautious behaviour. :)

    I always try to write down all those quotes that seem fun - but I really need to organise them better.

  4. Oooh, fun!

    Would you believe, I have looked at our local bookstore and I've looked at Border's - neither had Norwegian Wood!! I wanted to pull someone's hair. But, I picked up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (which I do own) and the first few pages were so spectacular that I read aloud to my husband. That happens very, very rarely. He'd lose his mind if I read every passage I loved, so I only read the truly special ones. He was equally blown away.

    And, then I set the book down because I want to savor it. I don't think I can properly savor till the heat passes.

  5. I'm so glad you loved Norwegian Wood, Andi. :)

  6. Oh how fun! Sadly almost all of my books are in storage, on a boat or at the thrift store, so I don't know if I can come up with opening quotes. I'll have to see what's in the school library.

  7. Just loved your answers, particularly the quotes from Christopher Rice and Norwegian Wood (which I hadn't considered reading until now). And that proverb was designed for me!

  8. Funky, I am indeed, somewhat obessed, yes? lol I'm glad you like my bookish musings.

    Matt, it's a toughie!

    Orpheus, I need to organize my quotes better, too. My quote journals are text files full of copied/pasted quotes in no order whatsoever.

    BF, come to think of it, I don't think I've seen Norwegian Wood in too many bookstores myself. I ordered my copy from Amazon, thus saving the hair pulling. Now you're giving me more incentive to pick up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle ASAP.

    Love just doesn't quite cover it, Cdn! :)

    Lu, that makes me sad. You definitely need your book to roll around in and fondle. And read, of course.

    LitLove, I hope you enjoy both the Rice and the Murakami if you decide to pick them up!

  9. Oh, I like that! That's a good one.

  10. Oh great answers! I loved that quote from Norwegian Wood. I really must read more Murakami.

  11. I like your favorite words. They're fun to read. Especially "svelte."

    Is Christopher Rice the son of Ann Rice? What kind of fiction does he write? The opening is very arresting.

    Ah...another vote for Zora Neale Hurston...another author I've got to re-read and explore a bit more.


Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

Images by Freepik