Friday, May 25, 2012

Literature Q&A

I enjoyed reading Caitlin's version of this tag, so finally got around to jumping on the bandwagon (check out her post if you want to play by the rules).

What are you reading right now?
All Blacks Don't Cry by John Kirwan.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
Yes, Dad's leant me New Zealand aviator Jean Batten's autobiography Alone in the Sky (which is a revised edition of My Life).

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
From my goals list, I want to read Charles Lindbergh's biography by A. Scott Berg, but also Autobiography of Values when I find a copy of that. I also have George Orwell's 1984 and Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed to read - I've read about half of the latter but found it kind of dragged... I was recommended it though, so will get around to finishing it some day. I want to read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - I started it in high school after seeing the film for the first time but never finished it. That's five. There are screeds of titles I could list. Come to think of it, I should list them at some stage. Especially at work, I'm really bad about hearing excellent reviews or author interviews and then totally forgetting their names the next time I have some spare cash for books.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
Neither of us really spend money on magazines... I think the last one I bought was a Cosmo months ago for a train trip. I do have a stack of overpriced fashion/art magazines in the lounge which are all like five years old - my favourite is the issue of Another Magazine from 2007 with Christina Ricci on the cover.

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
This is tricky... I know I read many terrible books when I was a kid/teenager, but most of them I loved at the time. I read the first Harry Potter book and didn't like it... but it's not terrible at all, just totally not a genre I enjoy.

What book seems really popular but you actually hated?
Harry Potter. But 'hated' is harsh. Also, I've read probably five Jodi Picoult books and while I totally don't hate them, she's so unbelievably popular (here at least) and I kind of don't get why. I think the plots of several of the books I've read by her sound great, but then I read them and they just seem to drag on and on... a bit like this post, hey.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski (photo of my copy above). I mean, I don't go around urging everybody to read it, but that's what I'll always say if someone asks for a reading suggestion. It's just a total work of art, so creepy and intense and bizarre. And unbelievably full of information - so much so that you can read it multiple times like I have and still not absorb everything... just flick through a copy to see what I mean.

What are your 3 favourite poems?
My favourite poem is Rives' performance piece Compliment, it's so adorable. I don't really read poetry, apart from Sylvia Plath, I have heaps of her collections and books about her. Yeah, my picks are pretty hipster because I'm not really into it.

Where do you usually get your books?
I love browsing bookstores and mostly go to Arty Bees and Pegasus Books in Wellington, but I usually buy books online if I'm looking for a specific title because it's cheaper and more convenient. I always try Trade Me first because I've picked up some excellent bargains from there, and Fishpond is good too. But I just Google around to find the best price.

Where do you usually read your books?
On the couch or in bed.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
Oh my gosh, anyone who knew me as a kid would say I was freaking always reading. We would check out like 20 books from the library every week and I'd just devour them in every spare moment I could... I guess this was pre-internet haha. I think Mum used to give my sister and I a limit on how many books we could get, and I remember we had a plastic crate to carry them all in. But yeah, I used to take a book with me everywhere, even if we were visiting people, so if I got bored I could sit in the corner and read. And I would sneak a torch in my bed so I could finish a book after bed time.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.

Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
I'm not sure this is what the question means, but in high school there were couple of books I couldn't be bothered with so I watched the movies instead and Googled to check if there were any variations in the book etc. English remained my best subject, so it worked!

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Definitely, but only from second hand stores. I only buy books brand new if I've been recommended them, or already read a review.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
So many... I can't really think of my favourite picture books at the moment, though I will write about them at some stage in the future when I help Mum sort through all the stuff I have stored at my parents' house. During primary school I loved The Babysitters' Club and Sweet Valley the most. Early high school I loved the Replica series by Marilyn Kaye, the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, and the Noughts & Crosses trilogy by Malorie Blackman. Also Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence and Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

What book changed your life?
I don't know that a book has ever changed my life, but The Journals of Sylvia Plath has some fantastic entries and letters that totally make a teenage girl think zomg, this is so me.

What is your favourite passage from a book?
I have so many, but the one that springs to mind was the easiest to find and type out, from House of Leaves:

"Come play with me Daddy."
Navidson lifts his daughter onto his lap.
"Okay. What do you want to play?"
"I don't know," she shrugs. "Always."
"What's always?"
But before she can answer, he starts tickling her around the neck and Daisy dissolves into bursts of delight.

Despite the tremendous amount of material generated by Exploration A, no one has ever commented on the game Daisy wants to play with her father, perhaps because everyone assumes it is either a request "to play always" or just a childish neologism.
Then again, "always" slightly mispronounces "hallways".
It also echoes it.

I think this was the only excerpt I read before reading the book itself, and it intrigued me. When reading it in context? So, so creepy.

Who are your top five favourite authors?
I'll just list my top five books and their authors because I don't often read multiple books by a single author: House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski, The Journals of Sylvia PlathThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson, and the Noughts & Crosses trilogy by Malorie Blackman.

What book has no one heard about but should read?
I'm not sure that no one has heard about it now - I saw it in Whitcoulls recently - but I got sent After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell from this blog and it was pretty good. I'm not sure I've read any obscure titles. I guess lots of my peers haven't read Black Like Me, which I found pretty fascinating as a teenager.

What are your favourite books by a first-time author?
I have no idea if any of my favourite books are debuts.

What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?
HoL, you know this by now. The Noughts & Crosses trilogy. And Mother Tongue

What is your favourite classic book?
I don't know what counts as a classic... does Lolita count?


Tindling said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have House of Leaves by my bed, I started it but havent picked it up in ages. Need to get back into it.

Lauren said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I will order House of Leaves- you've sold it to me! I am definitely doing this right now. x

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

House of Leaves is amazing! I read my friends fragile/moldy copy so it made it extra crazy when reading it.

Megan Anderson said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

House of Leaves is epic! Most authors can't pull off an experimental form like that for a whole novel, but man is it good.

I also love 1984, a Clockwork Orange, American Psyco, and Wally Lamb. Other than you not loving Harry Potter, I'd say we're in the same literature boat.

I might have to play along with this quiz! It's super fun.

Laura said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I got a kindle, friggggen amaze. Books galore everywhere I go. It's like heaven.