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The Smartest Book Meme in Town January 28, 2008

Posted by sensawunda in Books, Memes.

As created by Eva, who will enter you in a drawing if you leave a comment on her post, and as tagged by superfastreader.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

The Bell Jar or anything else by Sylvia Plath. For one thing, I have a tendency to mistrust any author who committed suicide (yes, that includes Hemingway, and Freud most especially!), and everything I’ve read about Plath makes me think her works would just depress me.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Well, this isn’t very original, but I like it: Merry, Pippin, and Gandalf, to throw me a birthday party like Bilbo’s with tons of great Hobbit food and Gandalf’s fireworks.

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

I dunno, but I bet it would be a Harlequin romance. I started to read one once when I was a teen… you’d think with all the adolescent hormones, I would have gotten into it, but I couldn’t get past chapter 1.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

It’s not exactly “nowhere near,” but I wrote papers on both Don Quixote and Tristram Shandy without having read more than a chapter or three… I simply ran out of time.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?

I can’t recall any such occasion.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP)

Hoo boy. That’s a toughie. Easier to think of nonfiction titles for that, than fiction. Let’s say the VIP is a woman. Then how about The Secret Life of Bees. I dunno, I’m just throwing it out there. It’s deep without being difficult to read.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

Mandarin Chinese. I know just enough to have an inkling of what I might be missing.

A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread one a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. It’ll leave me plenty of time for my other reading! 😀 (gotcha, mischievous fairy!)

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

Even though I have been aware of Gabriel Garcia Marquez for a long time, it was a discussion on superfastreader that finally impelled me to buy One Hundred Years of Solitude and start reading it. (Haven’t finished it yet, though!)

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

When I lived in Wichita, there was an artist who always took out a booth at crafts fairs. He painted colorful scenes of cats and cat-sized dragons and books and wizards. I still remember one painting of a huge library that must have been three stories high, with balconies every dozen feet or so, ladders, the walls were nothing but bookcases. A little desk in the middle of the floor, and an easy chair, and a fireplace. And cats and little dragons sneaking about. I shoulda bought a print… wonder if I’ll ever see that artist’s work again? Of course I don’t remember his name!

Plus, I just love what superfastreader would ask for, I’ll just say “me too”:

I’m going to also add a touch of magic. Bookshelves that never run out of room. Books that never go missing. Books that are always available to lend out–even if they never come back, there’s always a copy available. And a magic clock, so I can stop the hands of time and steal an hour to read.


Indoctrination August 26, 2007

Posted by sensawunda in Books, Memes, Sensawunda 101.
1 comment so far

…from Booking Through Thursday (via superfastreader)

When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)

From as far back as I can remember, through at least the age of ten, I went to the town library every so often with Mom and my brother. She would check out a stack of books, and we were each allowed to get a certain number. We also had sets of children’s classics at home. I think she had bought them before we were born, for her future children. One set I loved in particular—it contained an eclectic mix of fables, fairy tales, mythology and excerpts from children’s novels, all accompanied by reproductions of the illustrations from the original editions. That set more than any other shaped my literary tastes. I’m still a sucker for anything illustrated by Arthur Rackham or his present-day heirs.

Mom read to us too… and even though I could already read to myself faster than an oral reading (having “forced” her to teach me to read when I was 3, she says), I still enjoyed following along, snuggled up to her right side on the sofa while my younger brother snuggled up to her left.

Dad’s influence came later. He introduced me to science fiction. He had a complete (up to that time) set of Larry Niven’s Tales of Known Space, and I read them all, including the short stories. I can still name the shorts that impressed me the most. “Bordered in Black”… “All the Myriad Ways”… “For a Foggy Night”… “Safe at Any Speed.” And, for good or ill, Dad took my brother and me to see Star Wars when it first came out.

In college, someone once asked me how my parents got me interested in classical music. I shrugged and said, “They enjoyed it themselves… and they had records that children could enjoy, like Peter and the Wolf and the 1812 Overture.” It’s the same with reading.

All Harry, All the Time July 19, 2007

Posted by sensawunda in Books, Memes.

Here’s a meme I’m crashing, from Booking Through Thursday.

1. Okay, love him or loathe him, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on Saturday… Are you going to read it?
2. If so, right away? Or just, you know, eventually, when you get around to it? Are you attending any of the midnight parties?
3. If you’re not going to read it, why not?
4. And, for the record… what do you think? Will Harry survive the series? What are you most looking forward to?

1. Yeah, duh! As a matter of fact, I’m rereading the whole series in preparation.

2. No midnight parties… I preordered from Amazon, so with 1.2 million other Amazon customers I’ll be waiting for the brown lorry. Will read as soon as possible, but that might not be the minute it arrives… see, I have to share it with my husband. Also, at the rate I’m going, I may not have quite finished Half-Blood Prince yet when UPS shows up on Saturday. If that’s the case, I’ll let hubby read the new one while I finish up… he’s gotta sleep sometime. 😉

3. Huh? Not read it? Non sequitur… your facts are uncoordinated.

4. I’m actually looking forward most to finding out which side Snape is really on! My husband and I disagree. We haven’t gone so far as to bet on it though.

Meme of 8 May 20, 2007

Posted by sensawunda in Memes.

My cousin has tagged me for my very first meme! I think it’s cool that it’s about 8s. A bit of Bible analysis that has stuck in my head for years is that seven is the number of completion… but sometimes scripture goes even beyond that to eight, for special significance. For example, Ecclesiastes 11:2—”Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” Ever since then I have thought of eight as the number of transcendence. And we like transcendence, here at Sense of Wonder!

Here are the rules of the meme:

1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Seven random facts about me, yea, eight as random as I can get them:

1. I play solitaire on my PDA obsessively.

2. A friend once called me a “closet exhibitionist.” Oxymoron???? It was at the time… but doesn’t it sound like a blogger?

3. I spent the summer of 1986 in China on a college exchange-program-type-thingie. I’m strongest in shopping vocabulary. Duoshao qian yi jin?

4. I LIKE airplane food. (Alas, they don’t serve it any more.)

5. My great-grandfather played 4 instruments, led a polka band, and held Saturday night dances in a dance hall in the corner of the pasture on his Nebraska farm. I inherited his fiddle. It has a hand-carved tailpiece that appears to be made of cow horn.

6. My brother and I used to rescue frog eggs from a pond we knew would dry up in the summer. We put them in a fishbowl and watched them hatch and grow from tadpoles to tree frogs. Then we released them at a shady stream.

7. In the rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula, when I was in the 6th grade, I saw a snake swallowing a frog. The frog was calling, “eep! eep!”

8. People often say to me, “You’re tall!” My reply: “I know.”

Now for the tagging. Thing is, I can’t think of eight bloggers I’d feel comfortable tagging. So much for transcendence. Here’s who I’ve got…

John at Dark Fluidity

annette at Fulcrum Freestyle