Says Box of Books. (Though I think I’m only very occasionally funny.) But I still like filling up questiony things. Oo, except for when you have to bubble in bubbles like on standardized tests. Once I knew what the pattern of my name was – up-spike at the E, drastic down-spike for the Y – which was around first grade – it got boring.
What kind of a book are you comfortable reading?
To be honest, the ones I’ve read before. And every now and again, I come across a new book that feels comfortable, but there doesn’t seem to be any pattern about what kind of book it is. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell felt very comfortable, and so did Greensleeves the first time I read it; and His Majesty’s Dragon, as I’ve said, was like taking a nice hot bath (if you like hot baths…I don’t. But I hear some people do. So I guess it’s more like someone else taking a nice hot bath). But I guess with new books, maybe memoirs? I tend to like good memoirs.
What kind of a book do you love to hate?
Those inspirationaly books like A Purpose-Driven Life. Kind of unfair since I’ve no idea what the guy has to say, but every time I see books that look like that, I want to hide them behind other, better books. (Sometimes I do.)
What was the last book you surprised yourself by liking?
The Satanic Verses. I was completely expecting to hate it. I was reading it to get it over with so I could move on to reading Salman Rushdie’s other, better books, because I thought I was going to really, really dislike The Satanic Verses. I started it once and didn’t care for it, that’s why. But now, of course, having liked it a lot, I’m loath to read his other books (The Moor’s Last Sigh and Shalimar the Clown, that would be), in case they don’t measure up like how Fury and Shame didn’t measure up, and I’ll go off Salman Rushdie again. Yes, I think a lot of thoughts.
What was the last book you surprised yourself by disliking?
I would say Waiting for Daisy, but the review I read of it before I read it kind of prepared me for the possibility of not liking it. Before that, I guess Affinity by Sarah Waters. I like Sarah Waters and I like spiritualism, so I don’t know where the bad was, but I couldn’t be bothered finishing it.
What would be the worst book to be marooned on a desert island with?
See, my first thought was Moby Dick. But really, that wouldn’t be so bad. It’s long, it’s got layers – I hate it now, but I can see growing to love it. So now I don’t know. I’m thinking – Barbara Cartland, The Sun Also Rises, a book of Wallace Stevens’ poems… I’m going to have to go with The Sun Also Rises. I know it doesn’t say anything good about me that I’d rather have Barbara Cartland than Ernest Hemingway, but there it is. The Sun Also Rises is short, it’s sexist, it’s dull, and I can’t stand Ernest Hemingway.
(Ernest Hemingway anecdote: One time I was walking past the civics classroom at my high school, which was taught by this insane woman who told us that when her daughter got kissed at the altar “it was very, very special because it was her very first kiss” (doubtful), and the woman was in there talking about expatriates. She said, “I know a lot of you like Johnny Depp, but you should all know he’s an expatriate. Anyone know any others?” and someone said Ernest Hemingway, and she said, “And look what happened to him! (Pause) Suicide!”)
What book would you take with you if you suspected you might be marooned in the near future?
While this would depend on what size bag I had with me, I have to be unoriginal here and say the Bible. It’s very long and written by a lot of different authors, giving it an edge over 1001 Nights or a complete works of Shakespeare. But I might also consider taking the complete Sandman if I could get such a thing.
What forces you to read outside your comfort zone?
I don’t know. I guess having read all my comforting books really, really recently, and desperately wanting something new to read, and being aware that a new book could become a comforting book very quickly like that time we went camping over Easter my junior year of high school and I spent the entire time in the cabin reading the Amelia Peabody series (wow, that was fun). That’s pretty much the driving force behind reading other people’s book blogs.