Monday, April 27, 2009

books, books, books

I received this meme from my friend Amber, who wrote, "I don't usually do these things, but as this is about books, I couldn't resist." I echo Amber's thoughts...

1) Which book has been on your shelves the longest? Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I bought it in 4th Grade with the bookstore gift certificate I received as my prize for winning the book writing contest at Silbernagel Elementary.

2) What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?
Last read: Object Relations Therapy, by Sheldon Cashton.
Current read: The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.
Next read: Probably Twilight, since I borrowed it from John and Juli and need to return it.

3) What book did everyone like and you hated?
I have known several people who have LOVED Ayn Rand. I have tried reading several of her books - Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead, and We the Living - and I found them all incredibly boring. Her characters had no depth or believability, merely mouthpieces for her objectivist philosophy. I found her dialogue stilted. I could not finish a one of her books.

4) Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
The Idiot's Guide to Organizing Your Life. I actually have the book on my shelf. Seriously.

5) Which book are you saving for “retirement?”
Why would I put off reading a good book? If it's worth reading, it's worth reading now. Or at least when I finish the one I reading now.

6) Last page: read it first or wait til the end?
Once, when I was about seven, I happened upon the birthday present my sister had gotten for me (okay, I was snooping in her room - but I was not snooping for my present) and it was so disappointing, not because it wasn't a rad gift (it was - a multicolored notepad with each piece of paper on the last at just a slight angle so it made a funky swirling spiral) but because I didn't have the surprise to look forward to anymore (and I had to fake being surprised later on). So I would NEVER read the last page first. If it's a really good book, I will sometimes actually slow my reading down so I can savor the remaining time the book and I have together.

7) Acknowledgments: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
Depends. Some authors can make these almost as much fun as the book itself.

8) Which book character would you switch places with?
Probably Ista in Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold.

9) Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?
I read Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver when I was living in Nicaragua. Part of the book takes place in Nica. It was fun to read about places and think, "I was just there...". I have read that book a couple of times since returning, mostly because it has the capacity to take me back.

10) Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
I have inherited the theological libraries of two ministers when they retired. I was pretty pleased to acquire Tillich's volumes of Systematic Theology from my pastor who had taken Systematic Theology from Paul Tillich. It has his notes from the class in the margins.

11) Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
I "loaned" a copy of Deep River by Shusaku Endo to my friend Jason when he went to India. the book takes place in Varanasi, India, and Jason read it in Varanasi. So he didn't want to give it back. In fact, he refused. He was a dear friend, and I could see that the book (which is amazing) was obviously quite meaningful to him (see #9). Finally, I convinced him to let me "borrow" the book back for a while, so I could transfer my notes in the margins to a new copy of the book. He sheepinshly agreed. When I had it back, I saw that he had even scratched out my name and written his own.

12) Which book has been with you to the most places?
I guess that would be the Bible, since I have carried at least one copy of it back and forth to camp, college, seminary, and all of the myriad places I have lived.

13) Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?
I actually enjoyed all of our assigned readings. Some are still among my favorite books of all time (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, etc.). I am looking forward to rereading Canterbury Tales this summer in preparation to my upcoming trip to Canterbury.

14) What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?
I like finding receipts from used bookstores from across the country from the used bookstore where I purchased the book. It's fun to imagine the stories the book could tell if it weren't so busy telling the story the author wrote in it.

15) Used or brand new?
Used. Or borrowed. Every time I move to a new place, I have a library card within a week.

16) Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?
I honestly haven't read too much, and I have no strong feelings about him either way.

17) Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
Some. But they were usually not great books to begin with. Forest Gump, The Horse Whisperer, to name a few.

18) Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?
Oh, there are lots, too many to name. A couple I am worried about a few coming out this year are The Time Traveler's Wife and American Pastoral, both books I loved.

19) Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
I would have to say Craig. Because he is in the unique position of being able to stack the books he recommends on my night stand. Eventually, I'll get to them.


  1. Oh, what a fun post! I have been meaning to e-mail you for weeks about several different books, so I'll just do it here instead.
    1) I still have your copy of Jeniffer Government I need to give back to you. Remind me.
    2) I just finished reading "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson and now I'm on to the sequel, "Home," both of which you should go out and read right now, if you have not already (which I suspect you have).
    3) Funny you should mention reading a Barbara Kingsolver book. Her "Poisonwood Bible" was the first book I managed to finish after having Colin, and I think you might really enjoy it, if you have not read it already. Also, loving food, in particular organic food, the way you do, you really must read her "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." I'll loan you my copy. Although, writing this kinda makes me want to read it again. Oh, and we should meet up for homemade donuts at the Strathcona Farmers Market sometime soon.
    4)Oh, and Stephen King is a literary genius. The only book of his I've actually read is his essay collection, "On Writing," but I've read it four or five times and it's the single best book on writing out there (aside from Strunk and White). But as for his fiction, although a lot of the supernatural stuff is pretty forgetable, "Misery," "Dolores Claiborne," "Carrie," and "The Shining" are just d**n good stories.

  2. Sarah, I just sent you an email. First, Did you like "Jennifer Government"? I forgot we had loaned it to you. I found it to be such a fun book (and quite frighteningly prescient). second, I loved "Gilead". Robinson's depiction of life in ministry and the alienation/separation that can accompany such a life is quite accurate. Third, I adore Barbara Kingsolver. And while I think her Arizona novels are fantastic fiction, I believe "The Poisonwood Bible" is one great piece of literature. Such an amazing work. I read it just upon finishing seminary. Funny you should mention "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". At one point in writing this post, I had both my fiction and non-fiction, past, current, and future reads. "A,V,M" is my current non-fiction read. And finally, you are the third person to recommend King's "On Writing". I'll have to check it out...