Monday, August 21, 2006

Another bookish meme....

Lifted from Amanda A.....

First book to leave a lasting impression? Hmmm, I used the Great Expectations story in the last book post I did, so I'll go with something low-brow that really made me love to read as a kiddo. As a child, I was WAY into horror. I started reading L.J. Smith and R.L. Stine books in my pre-preteen days. As a teen I moved on to Stephen King. L.J. Smith was undoubtedly my favorite author as a very young person...The Vampire Diaries in particular. They appealed to my now-repressed hopeless romantic side and I always felt a bit naughty reading them (no sex or anything, but they were sucking each other's blood for heaven's sake). They were the first books to really enrapture me and transport me out of my living room into some truly exciting adventure. I'm always astounded when people tell me they were reading "literature" at a young age. I was just soooo not into that! Not until high school, actually.

Which author would you most like to be? Siri Hustvedt. She's absolutely brilliant, she leads an interesting life, and her writing is impeccable. She's concerned with big, sometimes risque ideas (especially in the realm of gender roles and identity), and I just adore everything of hers I've ever read.

Name the book that has most made you want to visit a place? Hmm. That's a really tough question, actually. I tend to be very aloof when it comes to place in books. I'm much more concerned with characters, and you could pretty much plunk them down anywhere and it wouldn't matter much to me.

Which contemporary author will still be read in 100 years? Updike, Morrison, Atwood, yadda yadda yadda. I'm rooting for: Siri Hustvedt, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Pullman.

Which book would you recommend to a teenager reluctant to try 'literature'? I always told my high school students that there was a book for everyone. It was just a matter of figuring out what that book might be. One of my biggest accomplishments as a teacher was handing Huckleberry Finn to one of my students who HATED to read, and he gulped it down in a matter of days. And I never got my book back. But that's OK...he needed it more than I did. So, to make a convoluted story make sense--it's all about the teenager and their likes/dislikes, and it's important for them to have someone to talk to about a book in order to process it and get excited about it. Incidentally, one of my football players read the entire Inferno after we discussed bits in class. Again, the right book for the right kid.

Name your best recent literary discovery. I haven't read anything in a month. No discoveries as of late. Damnit.

Which author's fictional world would you most like to live in? I wanna go to Hogwarts!!!! Thank you, J.K. Rowling.

Name your favorite poet? T.S. doubt about it. I still read "The Waste Land" a few times a year, and it just gets better.

What's the best non-fiction title you've read this year? In Cold Blood. I never imagined true crime could be so stirring, atmospheric, and make me empathize with a killer.

Which author do you think is much better than his/her reputation? Jennifer Weiner. Yes, she writes chick lit, but as an academic I'm incredibly interested in the issues of media and self-image that she writes about. I have a whole theory about chick lit as a result of American media culture as opposed to the general idea that its a "British invasion" sort of deal. Blah blah blah.


  1. I am with you on the Hogwarts! I would LOVE to go to digon alley (spelling/)

  2. I don't buy the people who say they were reading serious literature as kids. They may have been able to read the words on the page, but I doubt that they understood much.

    There is such great YA stuff out there, it seems a shame to jump right into the big boys.

  3. I have a feeling they will be studying Joyce Carol Oates - if anything just to find out how the woman can write so many books! ha,ha.

    Okay now I'm totally intrigued by Siri Hustvedt. Must look for one of her books.

  4. Fem, me too! The Diagon Alley part is my favorite bit of the first book and the first film.

    Lulu, I think a lot of people do read the good stuff as young'uns, but I'm sure they can't grasp a lot of the nuance and whatnot. I just wasn't even motivated enough to try Great Expectations or the like as a kiddo.

    BookGirl, they probably will be, although I often wonder if she's looked down upon for her prolificness (good word). I haven't done any scholarly work on her (although I would love to), but I'm sure somebody snooty bags on her for writing so much (always something to bitch about).

    YOU MUST check out Siri. She's amazing. I recommend starting with The Blindfold if you want something short or What I Loved for something longer.

  5. I'm going to have to snitch this meme, after I do my latest review, Andi (but my connection is sluggish, so . . . later). Hogwarts - yeah! I'm still waiting for What I Loved; it's been on my PBS wish list for a while, now.

    Lulu, I think it depends on the kid - some have huge comprehension levels (my William is like that) and others really just skim (my eldest, Daniel). Daniel didn't get a thing out of the lit he had to read until he went off to college and decided to become analytical; Will comes home and can list the major plot points (he could do that by the age of about 10), explains the meaning behind various bits that *I* still don't get, etc. White Fang has been his favorite book for 5 years (he's 14). There is some great YA stuff, I agree, but I wouldn't stop my kiddos from reading great novels at a young age, if they're up to it.

  6. Looking forward to your meme'ness, Nancy!!! And I hope you get What I Loved soon! It's amazing!


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