I liked this quiz that I found on Facebook and would love to see other answers to it. I’m not into tagging people, but if you decide to post your answers, please leave me a comment so that I can read them!
1. What was the last book you bought?
I pick up most of my books for free these days, but I think that the last book I bought was Artist Journals and Sketchbooks by Lynne Perella, used at Ed McKay’s, which I have thoroughly enjoyed EXCEPT for the fact that the previous owner was a smoker so I can only take a little at a time. If I’d noticed I would have put it back on the shelf and waited for a clean copy. But I got excited and grabbed it.
2. Name a book you have read MORE than once.
1. The Bible (With my parents, I was very close to being a preacher’s kid)
2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (When I was a child I finished the last page and flipped back to the beginning to start it again, but I’m not obsessive. Oh no.)
3. Catch 22 (I didn’t quite get it in Governor’s School and appreciated it much more as an adult)
4. The Sound and the Fury (see number #3)
5. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
6. Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
3. Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life?
I think that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was the first book that woke me out of my lethargy and convinced me that whatever I did was worth doing well. (I’m not sure that I believe that about EVERYthing I do now, but I still appreciate the philosophy.) Another was Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin, which introduced me to the simple living movement and guided me to change my priorities in life. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn taught me about mindfulness. And Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire changed the way I look at the relationships of plants and humans.
4. How do you choose a book? e.g. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews?
I have a love affair with Amazon. I wish that I didn’t! I look at the reviews and flip through the online page samples. I follow up on recommendations obsessively, if it is a recommender that I respect and admire. I buy too many books and that’s why I drive a 92 Tercel.
5. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I read a lot of art and craft books these days, but I prefer to go to bed with a novel or book of short stories.
6. What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
I love Annie Dillard and Anne Lamott and Wendell Berry because even when the plot is thin, I eat up their words like candy. But I do like a good plot too.
7. Most loved/memorable character (character/book).
Gus McRae from Lonesome Dove. Bilbo Baggins from the Hobbit. Burley Coulter from the Port William Membership stories and novels by Wendell Berry.
8. Which book or books can be found on your nightstand/coffee table at the moment?
*Bedside table: The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. A pseudo-Victorian murder story.
*Coffee Table: Andy Goldsworthy and Time by Andy Goldsworthy. My favorite artist.
8. What was the last book you read, and when was it?
Andy Catlett: Early Travels by Wendell Berry. Finished it Tuesday night.
9. Have you ever given up on a book halfway in?
Yes. The last one was The Lady in the Palazzo by Marlena di Blasi. Quite frankly, I think that her photo put me off, because I enjoyed the first two books. Suddenly the whole story seemed overblown and pretentious when I looked at her lipstick.
10. Can you recommend a good book to me? If so, what is it?
Nonfiction: The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan are both entertaining and non-preachy books on food. In the same food vein, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. For writers or dreamers of being a writer: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Fiction: Jayber Crow and The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry. In between: anything by David Sedaris. Howlingly funny, and not for sensitive sorts or homophobes.
11. Is there a book you haven’t read, and should have?
I’m determined to read Moby Dick soon, after reading Ahab’s Wife this summer. Also, I picked up a hard copy of War and Peace for free, and one day I’ll tackle it. I got behind on my contemporary fiction reading when I was in grad school, and have a lot of catching up to do there.