Friday, 22 November 2013

Wilder World of Books: A Q & A

Posting regularly here has become a thing of the past. I have all these ideas and big plans for this blog, but then life seems to get in the way. I've been debating taking a break from blogging until I have the focus and time to get this blog to where I want it to be. I'm not sure that that's the answer though. Less blogging will probably just lead to...less blogging. 

I know I'm not the only one in this situation. Over at Sarah-Rose's blog, she mentioned a break in her regular posting due to An Abundance of Life, and used this book survey to fill a posting void. So I'm going to do the same. Because literature is a topic I want to focus on more here. Enjoy. And answer the questions for yourself, because I really want to read your answers.

Author you’ve read the most books from:
Alice Walker & Noel Streatfeild.
Best Sequel Ever:
As if Maurice Gee's The Halfmen of O wasn't brilliant enough already, he hit the jackpot again with The Priests of Ferris
Currently Reading:
Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women & Scribble Scribble: Notes on the Media by Nora Ephron. This is brilliant, but I have put it aside for now to try and get through Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries in time for my book club meeting. This is also brilliant.
Drink of Choice While Reading:
I like the ritual of preparing a good cup of tea before settling in for a reading session.
E-reader or Physical Book:
Physical Book. Though, having said that, I have nothing against e-readers. I just can't afford one at this time.
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Ugh, I have no idea. The first person that comes to mind is The Hunger Games' Peeta. Tough question.
Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:
Another tough question, because I tend to give most books a chance. Perhaps David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I'm not sure that this is a book I would have sought out had it not been required reading for a course I took. I loved it so much.
Hidden Gem Book:
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. I won this in my book club's annual Christmas book swap a few years back. It is such a wonderful wee novella. I have recommended it to others who have also thoroughly enjoyed it.
Important Moment in your Reading Life:
The realisation and acceptance that I should never be ashamed of something I'm reading. That everything has value, whether it's a Babysitters' Club book or a Salman Rushdie novel. The important thing is to read.
Just Finished:
Enough by Louise Wallace. I am so lucky to have such talented friends. I read this on the plane to Auckland recently and was again blown away by Louise's skill.
Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
Nothing. I will give anything a go. Although, having said that, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to read Lee Childs or books of that ilk, nor have I had any desire to read 50 Shades of Grey.
Longest Book You’ve Read:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I'll be adding The Luminaries to this list when I'm done.
Major book hangover because of:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. I did not want this book to end. I cried, and then I spent some time continuing the story in my head.
Number of Bookcases You Own:
Three. I have two huge bookcases that Apa built for me, though these house more than just books. And I have one bookcase that is solely for books I am yet to read.
One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Songs for Alex by Tessa Duder, Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume.
Preferred Place To Read:
I don't really have one. I do like to sit in a cafe with my book on the table in front of me and a drink and snack nearby. And I like to read in the sun.
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
I re-read The Outsiders last night so as to find this specific sentence that has always stuck with me ~ 
His face was white, and when he looked at me his eyes were wide with a pained expression. I suddenly remembered Curly Shepherd's face when he slipped off a telephone pole and broke his arm.
And this, from Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun

He could tell them mister there's nothing worth dying for I know because I'm dead. There's no word worth your life. I would rather work in a coal mine deep under the earth and never see sunlight and eat crusts and water and work twenty hours a day. I would rather do that than be dead. I would trade democracy for life. I would trade independence and honor and freedom and decency for life. I will give you all these things and you give me the power to walk and see and hear and breathe the air and taste my food. You take the words. Give me back my life. I'm not asking for a decent life or an honorable life or a free life. I'm beyond that. I'm dead so I'm simply asking for life. To live. To feel. To be something that moves over the ground and isn't dead. I know what death is and all you people who talk about dying for words don't even know what life is.
There's nothing noble about dying. Not even if you die for honor. Not even if you die the greatest hero the world ever saw. Not even if you're so great your name will never be forgotten and who's that great? The most important thing is your life little guys. You're worth nothing dead except for speeches. Don't let them kid you anymore. Pay no attention when they tap you on the shoulder and say come along we've got to fight for liberty or whatever their word is there's always a word. 
Just say mister I'm sorry I got no time to die I'm too busy and then turn and run like hell. If they say coward why don't pay any attention because it's your job to live not to die. If they talk about dying for principles that are bigger than life you say mister you're a liar. Nothing is bigger than life. There's nothing noble in death. What's noble about lying in the ground and rotting? What's noble about never seeing the sunshine again? What's noble about having your legs and arms blown off? What's noble about being an idiot? What's noble about being blind and deaf and dumb? What's noble about being dead? Because when you're dead mister it's all over. It's the end. You're less than a dog less than a rat less than a bee or an ant less than a white maggot crawling around on a dungheap. You're dead mister and you died for nothing.
You're dead mister.
Reading Regret:
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. Just awful. And Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach. I read this as a teenager and spent most of the book gobsmacked by the fact that it was actually about a seagull.
Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Such brilliant wordplay. I laugh out loud reading these books.
Three of your All-Time Favourite Books:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Baby No-Eyes by Patricia Grace, The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox.
Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Noel Streatfeild and Judy Blume.
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Eep, I can't think of anything! I'm looking forward to reading Grace Taylor's first collection, Afakasi Speaks.
Worst Bookish Habit:
Folding down the corners of pages instead of using bookmarks, and being generally casual in my care of books. They always look much worse off after I'm done with them, but I figure books are for reading, not for sitting on shelves looking pretty.
Your latest book purchase:
Party Frock, to add to my Noel Streatfeild collection.
ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones.


  1. I don't have gmail so this is Miri. Keep blogging Gem, and I'll keep reading!

    Author you’ve read the most books from:
    Witi Ihimaera

    Best Sequel Ever:
    Not a ‘sequel’ as such, but the Alex series has a special place in my reading history.

    Currently Reading:
    I dipped into The Luminaries and was immediately engrossed- but it’s too hefty to cart around, so may take me some time…

    Drink of Choice While Reading:
    Chai Tea (“tea is soothing; I wish to be tense!”).

    E-reader or Physical Book:
    Physical Book. Even the chunky Luminaries hasn’t tempted me to an e-reader (I already spend large portions of my days staring at a screen of some sort).

    Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
    Andy (Alex Archer’s boyf).

    Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:
    Midnight’s Children- Salman Rushdie. A bit of a slog, but rather magical as it slowly drew me in.

    Hidden Gem Book:
    A City Possessed by Lynley Hood. Ok, it’s not really ‘hidden’, but this meticulously researched and shocking account of what was, in essence, a witch hunt should be required reading!

    Just Finished:
    1,000 Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini- captivating.

    Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
    Scifi. I was forced to read an Ursula le Guin novel in Eng 101- PAINFUL.

    Longest Book You’ve Read:
    White Teeth- Zadie Smith.

    One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
    Catcher in the Rye- Salinger.

    Preferred Place To Read:
    Lying on a rug on my lawn in the sunshine.

    Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
    Has to be one from my beloved Maya Angelou (who is also my FB ‘friend’ and posts little drops of sunshine most days):

    "The world had taken a deep breath and was having doubts about continuing to revolve.”

    Or this “Ritie, don't worry 'cause you ain't pretty. Plenty pretty women I seen digging ditches or worse. You smart. I swear to God, I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind.”

    Thanks for this reflective spell, Gem! Miri

    1. Yay! Thanks Miri! I'm pretty sure you can comment as a guest, but this works fine too. How good in the Alex quartet? I reread the this year. You've just added a few to my reading list here. Awesome!