Commiserations and a Meme

Well the Book Blog Awareness Week shortlists are out and I didn’t make it, but many thanks to the kind person(s) who nominated me, the point being the nomination, naturally. I was delighted to see A Work In Progress and Shelf Love deservedly go through to voting, and disappointed that they were the only blogs I had even heard of on the voting panels. I simply don’t understand how the committee could have overlooked such quality sites as So Many Books, Of Books and Bicycles, A Bookgirl’s Nightstand, Stuck In A Book and Eve’s Alexandria. It’s a mystery to me. Anyway, no matter, I’ll still nick the meme that is intended to accompany BBAW because I need something quick to do tonight. In fact, I’m in such a hurry, that I’ll get a few author friends to provide the answers for me – I’ll have you know that Seneca and Schopenhauer and me are really tight.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’ C. S. Lewis

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

‘I scribble, underline, note, add, cross out, put in exclamation marks, turn down corners – even sometimes jot down phone numbers and PINs and reminders to buy cat food.’ Susan Hill

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?Laying the book flat open?

‘I confess to marking my place promiscuously, sometimes splaying, sometimes committing the even more grievous sin of dog-earing the page. (Here I manage to be simultaneously abusive and compulsive: I turn down the upper corner for page marking and the lower corner to identify passages I want to Xerox for my commonplace book.) Anne Fadiman

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

‘Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.’  P.J. O’Rourke

Hard copy or audiobooks?

‘It should be emphasized that learning to read a poem out loud is a way of coming to a full understanding of that poem, perhaps a better way than writing a paper on the subject.’ Poet Laureate, Billy Collins

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

‘I read every opportunity I can, and the pressure to grab those opportunities has grown more intense since the arrival of my daughter six years ago. I read and take notes on books I’m reviewing every day – as well as on vacations and all the major holidays. I read in the hours before dawn and while I proctor my students’ exams and while I wait for an oil change or a doctor’s appointment.’ Maureen Corrigan

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

‘It’s a damned poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.’
Andrew Jackson, 1767 – 1845

What are you currently reading?

‘I think we ought to read only the kinds of books that wound and stab us… A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.’  Franz Kafka

What is the last book you bought?

‘Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.’ Arthur Schopenhauer

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

‘It does not matter how many books you have, but how good the books are which you have.’  Seneca

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

‘Pope is doubtless at his best in the middle of a formal garden, Herrick in an orchard and Shelley in a boat at sea. Sir Thomas Browne demands, perhaps, a more exotic atmosphere.’ Lytton Strachey

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

‘If my books had been any worse, I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and … if they had been any better, I should not have come.’  Raymond Chandler

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

‘No two persons ever read the same book.’   Edmund Wilson

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

‘”I’ll tidy your books for you,’ a so-called friend said, coming to the house and declaring that she did not know how I stood it…. How can she not understand that if I let her do such a terrible thing as organize my books, I would never find what I was looking for again? Worse, there would never be any wonderful surprises’.  Susan Hill


29 thoughts on “Commiserations and a Meme

  1. Oh, it’s clever posts like this that keep your blog on my own personal shortlist of blogs I always look forward to reading. I think the Schopenhauer is my favorite.

  2. Very funny answers. I’m amazed you didn’t make that shortlist since your blog is one of the first I turn to for books (and thougts on life generally). But that’s life.

  3. Just wanted to add that this is the first I’ve heard of BBAW but your blog has easily the most subscribers (100 at last count) of the non-commercial book blogs that I follow.

  4. Well, you had my vote (but they didn’t ask me). Oh well. I love your responses. Only you could mix Edmund Wilson, Seneca, Raymond Chandler, and Kafka. Three cheers also for Anne Fadiman! Now to check your recommendations–thank you!

  5. I, like you, was very surprised not to see more of my favorite bloggers on the short list (you especially. When I think “book blogs,” I think “Litlove”). I was also very surprised that someone nominated me for the funniest/most amusing category (that wasn’t you, was it?), something I never expected to get, because, technically, my blog is not a book blog. Anyway, I plan to do this meme, too. I love the way you got help from authors for all your great answers.

  6. Um, I have to confess not knowing that this whole short-list voting was happening BUT I have to say it is a travesty you didn’t make it! I imagine your blog, quite frankly, is too smart for many of the people to understand ,which I feel comfortable saying since I sometimes feel out of my league reading your amazing prose and reviews.

  7. Many, many thanks for the kind mention of my blog! It’s such an honor to be on your list, that’s quite enough for me, and I can completely forget the BBAW people! And I really love how you answered the meme. I’m going to try to keep that Seneca quotation in mind.

  8. Oh, this was brilliant. I am now going to search my shelves for a book to wound and stab me. Hmmm. Actually I was planning to re-read Atonement , so that should do nicely on the axe-frozen-sea front.

  9. cjz – welcome and thank you! Delighted to give you a smile. 🙂

    Teresa – that’s so kind, thank you, and I have a soft spot for the Schopenhauer too!

    Simon – You’re welcome! I am deeply impressed that you are even lending Susan Hill books, and after reading her book I can quite see why she might have lost it….

    Doctordi – everyone needs a little help from their friends every now and then. 😉

    Pete – aw, hugs to you. That’s so nice of you to be so supportive, and its much appreciated.

    Stefanie – lol! It’s absolutely impossible to find a film to watch that we all agree on, though. 😉

    Verbivore – thank you! I liked that one, too.

    Grad – for you, your wish is my command. I’ll try and find you some proper answers in a bit.

    Iliana – you’re welcome! And I’m a fan of Billy Collins too!

    Bloglily – you see, you have SUCH a talent for making people feel better. I think that was all I needed to hear. 🙂

    Lilian – thank you and there are some great blogs there.

    ds – oh and you were nominated too! I should have added you to that list – you know I am very fond indeed of your blog. And I am delighted to have your vote – we don’t need to mention it to anyone else! 😉

    Emily – oh thank you! You are so kind, and had I known you’d been nominated, I’d have put you up there in my list, too! You are certainly most amusing. 🙂

    Courtney – now that is so sweet. I thought about it and decided my posts are way too long, and without the usual interest of pictures and links. Someone must have come over from 50 blogs with posts of 200 words and figuratively died of verbal asphyxiation about 700 words in! 🙂

    Dorothy – you are indeed at the top of any book blogging list I would make! Seneca is a wise old bird, no? Makes me think I really should read him…

    Gentle Reader – oh that one made me laugh too. He is such a funny, cheeky writer. And I’d love to know what you make of Susan Hill.

    David – Oo! Oo! I was going to read Atonement too at some point over the next few weeks. This is good news indeed if you like it. I’ll brace myself for some stabbing…

    Jodie – oh me too. Their reviews are absolutely professional, I think.

  10. Fabulous and funny, witty and wise…..very creative way to do a meme!

    and so many good blogs were left off again on the original nominations, never mind the follow-up….but, it’s a work in progress too, and it is fun to see who gets nominated. I didn’t make the shortlist either – I got my dates for entry wrong and went to submit my five posts too late! 😦 So I felt dreadful, not least for whomever took the time and care to nominate me in the first place!

  11. Becca – thank you! I had fun doing it. 😉

    Susan – you’re quite right – there were many who deserved a nomination. I guess what it boils down to is that I’m not comfortable with the system of awards, and I really do think that another year, judges and competitors ought to be kept rigorously separate. How anyone hopes to be just under those circumstances, I’m not sure. I’m so sorry you missed the date for submission – it’s so easy to do that kind of thing, isn’t it? Still, congratulations on your nomination, which is the point, I feel. If someone somewhere is enjoying your blog, then that’s all you need to know, isn’t it?

  12. Pingback: Victorian Geek » Blog Archive » Another book meme

  13. Pingback: Book Meme#38260 » Other Stories

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