The wonderfully talented Ella has tagged me for a meme, for which I am grateful, as I would like to post this evening, but am also feeling a little tired from the 46-mile ride I went on today, as well as the three-mile walk I took later, so my previous plan to post on The Math Gene seems like a bit too much work. A meme is perfect.
What kind of book are you most comfortable reading? I love reading nonfiction, but I’m most comfortable with novels. If I have the chance to read more than one book in a day, I’ll pick up the nonfiction first, and then turn to the novel as a treat. I’ll usually read in a novel before I head to bed as a way to unwind from the day. As for what kind of novel, I read more contemporary ones than ones from earlier centuries, although I love those too and am devoted to them. In fact, I’d like to think of myself as someone who reads primarily in earlier centuries, but that’s just not true, especially these days. I generally turn to literary fiction, although I can get bored by it — contemporary literary fiction at least. When I’m bored by it, it’s time to turn to an earlier century.
What kind of book do you love to hate? I love to hate self-help books because I pretend to be superior to them, but the truth is that I’m not superior to them at all. I have benefited from some of them and I’m sure I could benefit from others. I just pretend otherwise. I don’t like being this kind of snob … I genuinely love to hate religious self-help, though, at least of the conservative Christian kind, The Purpose Driven Life kind. I hate Christian apocalyptic fiction too. And I love to hate those personalized Bibles — the women’s Bible, the men’s Bible, the couple’s Bible, children’s Bibles, the Complete Personalized Promise Bible on Financial Increase.
What was the last book you surprised yourself by liking? I’m going to copy Ella on this one and say Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness. I haven’t read much science fiction, but this book convinced me I’m missing out on some good stuff. I’ve recently taken up reading lots of mysteries, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
What was the last book you surprised yourself by disliking? Elizabeth Bowen’s Death of the Heart. Bowen seemed like just my kind of author — psychological, character-driven, domestic. I thought I’d like her as I like Henry James or Edith Wharton. Instead I found the book dull and confusing.
What book would you take with you if you suspected you might be marooned in the near future? If we’re talking about the really near future, and the marooning wasn’t going to be long, something along the lines of being stuck in an airport for a few hours, I’d take along Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith, as I’m deep into it and don’t want to quit. What a great read! If we’re talking something more long term give me all of Austen’s novels in one volume, please.
What forces you to read outside your comfort zone? Other bloggers! Well, they don’t force me, but they encourage me by making some books sound so appealing I think I might like them even if they aren’t “my thing.” Book groups do this too. I never would have read H.G. Wells if it weren’t for a book group or Margery Allingham or Bruno Schulz or Charlotte Jay ….
If this meme looks fun to you, consider yourself tagged!