Tags: memes

books

Book Meme, Part 6

And the last questions from the book meme, for littlerhymes!

16. That book you don’t dare reread for fear it won’t be the same anymore.

I am actually pretty fearless on this score. I recently (well, within the last few years) reread a couple of books that had been important to me when I was twelve or thirteen: the Babysitter’s Club book Claudia and the New Girl and also the first book in Francine Pascal’s Fearless series, both of which seemed to me to have a pretty high likelihood of being visited by the Suck Fairy.

And I wouldn’t call either book flawless - the Fearless series in particular has a ton of flaws in pretty much every possible area, both social justice-related and on the basic plotting and characterization level. And yet at the same time I still enjoyed them, and could see why they had been so intensely important to my younger self.

However, I think I’m somewhat unusual on this score in that I started reading critically when I was twelve or thirteen, so oftentimes if books have issues it’s something that I was aware of at the time, at least to some extent. It would have to be a book I’d read earlier for me to be gobsmacked by the content - “Who knew there was that much racism in Caddie Woodlawn???” - but, even then, the racism isn’t the only thing in Caddie Woodlawn, and I can see the other elements that made me love it.


17. Preferred bookshelf organization scheme

Hahaha oh man. The one that gets all my books on my shelves? My books are totally higgledy-piggledy, and it’s worse than usual right now because I had to move things around for the move - I was taking one bookshelf with me, so I had to decide which books would go on that, and find new homes for the books that had been on that shelf but weren’t coming, and…

So they’re all kind of tucked in wherever they’ll fit.

I’ve seen people who organize their bookshelves by alphabetical order or even in color (which strikes me as rather beautiful) but I know that if I did it, the whole scheme would slowly but surely come undone. I tried to organize our picture book collection in alphabetical order, and I ought to be able to keep it that way because I’m the only one who uses these books, and yet there’s already a wodge of unalphabetized books at the end of the shelf.
books

Book Meme, Part 5

Two more question for the book meme, for egelantier. Who picked hard ones!

6. If you read in more than one language, is there a difference between the experience of reading in your native language and reading in other languages?

I could, once upon a time, read in Russian (very slowly and with the aid of a dictionary) and in Spanish - still with the aid of a dictionary, but actually rather decently; I read a few novels in Spanish. So I’m not sure I can answer this question meaningfully for Russian, because I never got fluent enough for reading to be anything but a struggle, but in Spanish, yes, it was a different experience, although I would be hard-pressed to put my finger on just how.

I think the closest I can get is the time that I read Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars in Spanish. I had read the book in English the summer after second grade, and it was very important to me - it kicked off a reading binge of every Holocaust-related children’s book in the library, culminating in an attempt to write a Holocaust novel of my very own after third grade, so it really shaped my identity as a writer and my interest in history, in a way. And I read it many times in English, so I remembered it very well.

But rereading it in Spanish made it feel different - even though I already remembered the plot in fairly fine-grained detail, the fact that the words themselves were different gave the book a sense of newness and tension that I don’t usually feel during a reread. But at the same time, I think because reading in another language forced me to slow down, I got an experience closer to what I had when I first read the book, when I read more slowly than I do now. There’s less sense of gulping down the story and more of a feeling that one is living in it, immersed in it, because of the difficulty of reading it forced me to keep my entire attention on it.


15. The book you reread over and over again and get new things from every time.

I’ve been trying to think of an answer for this that is slightly more, oh, literary, but honestly it’s probably Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Changeling. Although I try not to reread it to often so I don’t rub the magic off it.

When I first read it, as a child, I was completely enchanted by Martha and Ivy’s friendship and their imaginative adventures; rereading it when I’m older, I’ve been impressed also by the care Snyder took with the background characters (it’s clear that Martha’s parents love her and want what they think is best for her, and yet don’t and probably can’t understand her), and the subtlety with which she dealt with Ivy’s family, which is at best neglectful and at worst downright abusive - and yet that went over my head as a child; I only really noticed it rereading it as an adult.

It also adds a note of poignancy to Ivy and Martha’s friendship, because all Martha wants is for Ivy to live in Rosewood Hills always, and yet it’s really better for Ivy when she’s away living with her Aunt Evaline in Harley’s Crossing. (Great missed opportunities of literature: I would love to see Martha visit Ivy at Aunt Evaline’s house. Not that her parents would ever let her.)
books

Book Meme, part 4

For inspirethoughts: 21. A book you gave up on, and the reasons why.

I give up on books with a fair amount of regularity - or, at least, more regularity than I used to, when I grimly read just about everything to the end. Nowadays I’ll give something up because it’s boring, too technical, not what I’m in the mood for right then, due back at the library and someone else has a hold on it so I can’t renew it and I don’t care enough to sit down and steamroll through it before the due date...

I think the book I abandoned most recently is Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of Species. I’d heard it was charmingly written despite being a 150 year old science book, but the part I read was baffling rather than charming, and life is just too short for this sort of thing.

I also gave up on Naomi Novik's Uprooted, which at the time I meant to get back to, but the more I think about it the less I want to read the romance that, I have been informed, is going to unfold as the book continues. Whyyyy do authors have to lard their books up with unnecessary romances?
books

Book Meme, part 3

For lost_spook: 30. The book you read the blurb of, constructed a version of in your mind, and were promptly disappointed by once you finally got around to actually reading it

Okay, you know Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven? I’m not sure I even read the blurb before I had constructed a beautiful version of this book where the Lone Ranger and Tonto actually have a fistfight in the afterlife. It was epic and beautiful and probably kind of slashy.

Imagine my surprise when I read this book and discovered that not only is there no heavenly fistfight, but the Lone Ranger and Tonto don’t actually appear at all. It’s just a bunch of vaguely interconnected short stories, and I’m not usually interested in short stories and in any case don’t remember them well because I was so put out about the aforementioned lack of Lone Ranger and Tonto's slashy fistfight.

Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is super good, though, and neither the blurb nor the title are misleading. So if you want to read some of his work, I definitely recommend that one.
books

Book Meme, Part 2

More book meme! For evelyn_b again. I tried to be a bit more concise this time.

5. Which genre(s) don’t you read? Why not?

I hate to say that I don’t read in a genre, because there always seem to be exceptions: I barely ever read horror, for instance, but I did read Stephen King’s Misery, which is awesome and terrifying. Or I don’t read a lot of category romance, but I really enjoyed Courtney Milan’s Brother Sinister series. (I still haven’t read the final book. I should get on that at some point).

I don’t think I’ve ever read a business book. Probably at some point that’s something I should actually do.

8. The book you read when you’re stuck in bed sick.

Usually by the point I’m so sick that I’m stuck in bed, I’m too out of it for reading. I pop a movie I’ve already seen into the DVD player and gaze blearily at it until I fall asleep.

Often when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I’ll reread old favorites; that’s guaranteed to be soothing and also it doesn’t matter if I start to drift off partway through, because after all I already know what happens. (I once tried to read a Ngaio Marsh book to put me to sleep. I had theater murder themed dreams all night. It was not restful.)
books

A book meme!

I found this book meme on Tumblr and I liked it so much that I thought I would bring it on over to LJ. Give me numbers! I will answer your questions in a post of their own!

1. What’s the last book you read? What did you think of it?
2. What’s the worst book you’ve ever read, and why?
3. A book you found overhyped, and why
4. Ereaders versus physical books is such a false dichotomy. Instead, tell me what other formats (phone apps, tumblr fiction, twitter haikus) you read in
5. Which genre(s) don’t you read? Why not?
6. If you read in more than one language, is there a difference between the experience of reading in your native language(s) and reading in other languages?
7. If you’re not a native English speaker, how much do you read in your native language versus how much you read in English? How do you feel about that? // If you’re a native English speaker, go find a book in your second/third/etc language, or in translation, to add to your to-read list
8. The book you read when you’re stuck in bed sick
9. Fiction or non-fiction or both? In what ratio? Where do you draw the line between the two?
10. The book(s) you bought because the cover was pretty, and whether it was worth it
11. The worst book hangover you’ve ever had
12. Do you have to finish one book before you start the next one, or do you read multiple books at the same time?
13. The fictional character you want to believe you resemble and the fictional character you actually resemble
14. The book that, in hindsight, really should have clued you in to the fact that you’re _________ (queer/in love/doomed to be an academic/etc)
15. The book that you reread over and over again and get new things from every time
16. The book that you don’t dare reread for fear it won’t be the same any more
17. Preferred bookshelf organisation scheme
18. Do you theme your monthly/yearly/etc reading (eg Year of Reading Women)?
19. That book with a twist that felt like a blow to the chest. Tell me about it. (But warn for spoilers if necessary!)
20. The coolest bookshop you’ve ever been to
21. The book you gave up on, and the reasons why
22. The book you finished even though you hated it, and the reasons why
23. The book you expected to hate, didn’t, and then got angry about not hating
24. The book that you got into because of the movie/TV series/etc, and the relative merits of each version
25. The only book care question that actually means anything: do you write in your books? If so, in pen or in pencil?
26. Do you read reviews of books? Before or after you read the books themselves? Why? Why not?
27. The book you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve read
28. The one where the fanfic was better than the original (and the relevant AO3 links, pls)
29. Your vacation reading habits
30. The book you read the blurb of, constructed a version of in your mind, and were promptly disappointed by once you finally got around to actually reading it
Bonus question: rec me something!
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Memage

Via tamsinwillougby, a meme!

Fave fandom:

The only fandom I'm really in right now is Captain America (the wait for Civil War is crushing me), so that wins by default. I had some lovely times in the past in Sutcliff fandom and in my little Owen/Ianto corner of Torchwood, though.

Countries you’ve lived in:

I lived three months in England for study abroad - does that count? - but otherwise just the US.

Languages you speak:

English. I can still read Spanish fairly well, but my Russian skills have basically evaporated since I left college.

Fave film of 2015:

Inside Out. I looooooved Inside Out. The Martian was also excellent, but it did not make me cry the same way.

For "movies I saw in 2015 that didn't actually come out in 2015," I also really liked the Natalie Wood film Inside Daisy Clover (with bonus Robert Redford as a devilish love interest), Blackfish (the documentary about the killer whales at Sea World), and Fried Green Tomatoes. 2015 was a good year for movies.

Last article you read:

Probably something from The Toast.

Last thing you bought online:

A couple of coloring books as presents for friends: M.C.A. Hogarth's Not In Need of Quests: Men in Fantasy and Critters, Beasts, and Fluffies. I don't know if any of you are into coloring books, but if you are, I so recommend these: they aren't as frustratingly intricate as adult coloring books often are, and the critters in particular are soooo cute.

Last person you dreamed of:

I think my brother, although I don't remember what the dream was about.

Any reoccurring dreams:

Ever since grad school I have had a reoccurring nightmare where I have forgotten - something - signed up for a class and then never attended it, or never even started researching a final project, or sometimes in the dream I'm not even sure what I forgot, I just wake up gripped by the horrifying certainty that I have forgotten something important.

Any phobias/fears:

DEATH. And various death-related things. In first and second grade I was deathly terrified of thunderstorms, because thunderstorms might herald tornadoes which might blow my house down and KILL ME and the world would be forever bereft of the light of my genius without ever realizing what it had lost, and all memory of me would sink beneath the dark waves of time.

Around third grade this faded, or rather was effaced by a crippling terror of vomiting, to the extent that I basically didn't eat breakfast for a year because I woke up feeling hungry and feeling hungry is sort of like feeling nauseous and therefore breakfast might make me throw up and that would be THE END OF THE WORLD, possibly literally, if I choked to death on it and died, and also that would be the grossest way to die ever, ew.

Eventually I got the whole hunger/nausea thing straightened out, which helped with the breakfast issue, but not so much the fear of vomiting. In fifth grade I pulled a muscle in my leg so badly that I couldn't walk on it for about five days and I wouldn't take painkillers for it because I heard somewhere that ibuprofen can cause nausea and CLEARLY the agony was preferable.

I am also petrified of dentists, but honestly I think this is at least 75% rational, because dentists are minions of Satan.

Would you take a bullet for someone:

I hope I'm never in a situation where I have to find out.

If you had money to spare, what would you buy first:

A trip. Possibly a lot of trips! I'd like to visit Japan (however, I might want to wait until my Japanese college roommate is in Japan; right now she lives in Singapore) and France, and also I'd just like to go on a big road trip around the US and just visit my friends.
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One letter, six questions

One letter, six questions meme. evelyn_b gave me J, which is surprisingly hard! Or maybe any letter might have been difficult; I guess I’m just not used to grouping things alphabetically in my mind.

Something I hate: Man, this is hard. I thought the movie Judgment at Nuremberg was pretentious and not nearly as morally insightful as it thought, but I felt bored rather than filled with hatred.

Oh! Jelly beans. Jelly beans are the worst. They’re sticky and too sweet and they have a weird texture and just in general they are disgusting.

Something I love: Julius Caesar! The Shakespeare play! Have I told you about the tragic nobility of Brutus, who is only trying to do what is best for Rome, only it all goes horribly wrong because he allows himself to be led astray by that viper in the grass, Cassius? I think I’ve mentioned this before.

I also think that this is probably not the most nuanced understanding of this play, but I first read it when I was in ninth grade so, you know, nuanced was not the name of the game.

Somewhere I’ve been: Jacksonville, Florida.

Somewhere I’d like to go: Japan!

Someone I know:: One of my friends in elementary school was a Jessica. But she was a grade above me, so we grew apart when she went over to the junior high.

A film I like: I have some reservations on J. Edgar – I think they should have focused more on the politics of Hoover’s life and less on his mostly-sublimated love affair with his second in command, Clyde Tolson – but nonetheless I did quite enjoy that mostly-sublimated love affair.

I also retain a weird fondness for Josie and the Pussycats, even though I wouldn’t really call it a good movie.

Let me know if you'd like a letter!
Winter Soldier

End of the Year Fic Meme

Total Word Count: 160,668 words

Total Number of Fandoms: Two, I guess. Almost all Captain America, with one Pepper & Natasha fic set during Iron Man 2. (I’ve been thinking about writing a PepperNat sequel to that one. “I’ll miss you after leaving Stark Industries,” Natasha said.

“I bet you say that to all your marks,” Pepper said.

“Oh no,” said Natasha. “I’m only a spy. We’re not at good at lying as CEOs.”)

Total Fics: 31


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cheers

December Meme, Question #8

For poeticknowledge: Best birthday and Christmas gift ever received?

Confession time: I have a rather poor memory for when I got things. I remember such-and-such a thing was a gift, and generally I can pinpoint who gave it to me, but I usually can’t remember if it was for Christmas or birthday or just because or who knows what.

For instance, poeticknowledge sent me a wonderful teapot with pink flowers one year - wonderful both in that I like the teapot very much, and also because it fortuitously matches some china teacups and saucers that I inherited, which lacked only for a teapot to make a complete tea set - but I’m not actually sure when it was. Maybe early after I moved to Bloomington? We did have lots of delightful tea parties with it in Bloomington.

Another favorite gift is an olive wood lemon juicer my friend Micky bought for me while she was on an archaeological dig in Greece. It’s the perfect souvenir: suggestive of the area (the olive wood), beautiful (gorgeous wood grain), and useful.

I think that was the year she sent me hot chocolate cubes, so that must have been a Christmas present. The hot chocolate cubes were delicious, too.

Oh, and the mug I still use for my morning tea was a present from Caitlin (high school friend Caitlin, rather than current friend Caitlin; too many Caitlins…) - from not too long before our friendship imploded, ironically. It is too bad. I never was quite sure what went wrong, but I guess you can’t win them all. It’s a really good mug, anyway.