Book Challenge: Traitors, Inferno, Favoritism

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Day 22: Book you plan to read next

I’m going to reread Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre! I don’t think I’ll get the biography on Gertrude Bell read before I leave. Tinker, Tailor is going to be my plane read. I’m hoping to reread most of it before I see the movie.

I really like my copy of the book. It’s a beat up, well loved tie in edition from the Alec Guinness mini-series (which I haven’t seen). I picked it up for 50 cents, even better for me!
Day 23: Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t actually finished)

Dante’s Divine Comedy. I don’t think I’ve explicitly said that I’ve read it, but I allude to it, quote it, etc. But I haven’t finished. I haven’t even finished Inferno. That’s a constant work in progress. I have trouble reading poetry. More accurately, I have trouble concentrating when I read poetry. I once read one of Tolkien’s epic poems. Wow.
Day 24: Book that contains your favorite scene

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love the scene where Fred and George decide to leave Hogwarts. Its funny. There’s much mayhem. Fred and George. Love it.

Book Challenge: Rule Britannia, Numerous, Illustrations

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Day 19: Book that turned you on

I like books that force me to read other things, be it to get a better understanding of the setting, or just because I’m interested. I have a small library of books about Nelson’s navy, purchased and acquired because of my interest in that time period, spurred on by Patrick O’Brian and CS Forester.
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times

To be honest, I have no idea. I’ve read the Harry Potter books scores of times. Lord of the Rings, same thing. Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander…all of these books I’ve read at least seven times.

Probably the first Harry Potter book, though. I think I’ve read that one twenty times at least. I’m not sure. I’ve lost count.
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood

I loved Jan Brett’s books, like The Trouble with Trolls. Her illustrations are beautiful. Lively, energetic and funny, what more does a children’s book need?

That, of course, is a secondary storyline often featuring a hedgehog. This storyline is illustration only, and takes place in the margins of the book. So adorable. I still love looking at the books, reading them, and admiring the paintings.

Book Challenge: Bricks, Melville, Shamelessness

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Day 16: Longest book you’ve read

I’m actually not sure what the longest book I’ve read is. Its either one of the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time books (I’ve only read the first three or four) or Victor Hugo’s epic Les Miserables.

I read an unabridged translation of Les Miserables back in December/January. It took me six days (that’s a LOT of reading). I started a reread (different unabridged translation) back in May. I’m still reading it on and off, but as you can see, I’ve read a lot this year.

Let me just say, this book weighs a ton. When I bought my paperback copy, the cashier asked if I wanted a truck to bring it home in. I replied that mortar would be all I needed–I was going to use it as the cornerstone to my house.
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read

A children’s book, probably. I’m sure I read some 24 pagers in my childhood, but I can’t recall any of them. So, shortest adult book that I’ve read? Herman Melville’s Billy Budd. I hated every minute of it, and was extremely happy it was only 90 pages long.
Day 18: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like

I have no shame whatsoever in books I read. Roald Dahl’s children’s books? Love them. Harry Potter? My generation, baby. Tolkien? Lewis? Lloyd Alexander? No shame.

I take great pride in making the librarians look shiftily at the books I check out. The more atypical, the better. Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Les Miserables, Band of Brothers? I relish in the shocked expressions. Clearly I look like the sort of girl who would be reading scores of chick lit and other, more typical young woman sorts.

Book Challenge: Recitation, Frightenings, Nausea

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Day Three of the Book Challenge. You sick of this yet? I’m not. But I think I will be, quite soon.

Seven: Book You Can Quote/Recite

Recitation. Quotation. I actually have great difficulty remembering exact words if they aren’t sung, so rarely do I quote books perfectly. There’s usually some mess ups here and there.

I’m most proud of the fact that I can quote part of Inferno (in Italian) and I know what it means. Continuing on the Dante kick, I would love to be able to quote one of the poems out of La Vita Nuova.

Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare

la donna mia, quand’ella altrui saluta,

ch’ogne lingua deven tremando muta,

e li occhi no l’ardiscon di guardare.

Ella si va, sentendosi laudare,

benignamente d’umiltà vestuta;

e par che sia una cosa venuta

da cielo in terra a miracol mostrare.

Mostrasi sì piacente a chi la mira,

che dà per li occhi una dolcezza al core,

che ‘ntender no la può chi non la prova:

e par che de la sua labbia si mova

un spirito soave pien d’amore,

che va dicendo a l’anima: ‘Sospira!’

I love that poem. I really, truly do.

Eight: Book that Scares You

By and large, I don’t read books that are scary. I’m more likely to watch scary movies than read horror books.

But you know what does scare me? Diseases. Real world stuff. So, book that scared me? My textbook for my Emerging Infectious Diseases class.

My friends and I would read the book, and end up diagnosing ourselves. Never wise. Also, in Boston you are highly unlikely to get any of the exotic diseases found in Africa.

Nine: Book that Makes You Sick

No book has made me physically ill, I’m proud to say. But there are some where the descriptions have moved me to grimace (I’d love to watch my face as I read. I’ve noticed that I make some really funny feeling expressions if I get really into a book).

Sick with dread, perhaps.

I recently finished Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence. I read it following a biography on the man, which made following it easier. But there was also a sense of dread. I knew about some of the more terrible instances in the book because the bio addressed them, in some cases I had even read these sections, as Korda felt Lawrence’s words were better than his for certain situations, particularly Lawrence’s abuse at the hands of the Turks in Deraa.

Reading the Deraa section, indeed, knowing it was coming, put my stomach in knots. It didn’t make things any better when I got to that part.

On a more humorous note, reading about sheep-pyramid feasts didn’t help the hunger level. Ugh…

Book Challenge: Crying, Residing, and Young Adult

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Day Two of the 30 Day Book Challenge! Which will probably only take 10 days, if I keep answering three questions a go.

Four: Book that Made You Cry

As I said yesterday, I rarely cry when reading books. But Band of Brothers nearly brought me to tears when I read it two years ago. If I hadn’t had to run out immediately after finishing, I would have cried. The ending was perfect, hit me right in the gut.

And you know, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Five: Book You Wish You Could Live In

I would live in the 44 Scotland Street series. The books are funny, warm and make me happy. I’d visit Big Lou’s cafe for my cappuccinos everyday and talk with Angus about painting, and Big Lou about whatever it is she happens to be reading at the time. And sneeze a lot because I’m allergic to dogs (sorry Cyril).

But what’s this? Not Harry Potter? Not the world of Patrick O’Brian’s masterful historical fiction novels?

Well, Harry Potter would be fun, but to be frank, I think I’d be a rubbish witch. That, and there are enough threats in the Muggle world, I really don’t want to have to worry about Lord Voldemort as well!

And for O’Brian’s? I like indoor plumbing. I like being able to attend University. I like being a modern girl. While I’d love to go to recitals with Jack and Stephen, I wouldn’t like to live there.

Six: Favorite Young Adult Book

Easily Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I love the characters, the humor, the setting. As I’ve grown up, I’ve gotten more out of the story, including more enjoyment. When I have children (a long time from now), I look forward to sharing this book with them.

Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those books that I consider a ‘comfort book.’ Reading the book, revisiting the characters, laughing, smiling–I love it. If I’m in a bad mood, or feeling stressed, I just pick up this book, read it, and I feel better immediately. You can’t beat that.

Book Challenge: Love, Loathe and Laughter

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Day one of the 30 Book Challenge. I’m not particularly tied to doing 30 individual posts, so I thought I’d do three at a time, or however many I feel like.

One: Favorite Book

Confession time. I don’t have a favorite book. There isn’t One Book to Rule Them All. It really depends on the genre, the day, and what I’ve been reading lately.

So, favorite book I’ve read this summer? Probably Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda.

Other favorite books: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Over to You by Roald Dahl, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith.

Two: Least Favorite Book

Surprisingly, this is an easy one for me to answer. It’s easily The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenger. You can read my reasons. To summarize: The romance struck me as creepy, the blind acceptance of determinism, and lack of morality and logistics.

Three: Book that Makes You Laugh Out Loud

It takes a really special book to make me laugh out loud. It takes an even more special book to make me cry. That rarely happens when reading.

But back to the laughter. There are a couple of books that have reduced me to stitches. Closing Time by Joseph Heller (the sequel to Catch-22) had me giggling at the Kafka jokes most of all.

The most out-loud guffaws I’ve had while reading has been in my rereading of the 44 Scotland Street books. This reading has been closer. My favorite has been a comment on the length of modern sentences versus Proustian ones.