Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Book Survey!

I stole this from uko_chan and silverchan.

1. Which book are you currently reading?
I am currently actively reading - as in, I just put it down less than 5 minutes ago - Palimpsest by Gore Vidal. I am also currently partway but not yet all the way done reading - as in, I put them down and started reading different books instead, but am still planning to go back and finish them later - all of the following, which I shall list in order from the most recently put down to the longest neglected: A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (I was reading this earlier today; to be honest I'm kind of disappointed that it's not more deeply revolutionary than it is), Rayuela by Julio Cortazar, in the original Spanish (I was reading this a few days ago, but it is very slow going because I have to look up an average of 20 words per page in a Spanish-English dictionary), Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essays, Public Ideas by Esther Newton (I'm more than halfway done reading this, and it was very interesting too, yet despite that I put it down six months ago and haven't picked it up since), and The History of Sexuality, Volume 2: The Use of Pleasure by Michel Foucault (which I put down only a few days before I put down the Esther Newton one).

2. What book did you read last?
A Son of the Circus by John Irving; and before that, After the Quake by Haruki Murakami; and before that, Intimacy and Midnight All Day by Hanif Kureishi.

3. What book are you planning on reading next?
Most likely one of the following: Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, Falconer by John Cheever, Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, or Nocturnes for the King of Naples by Edmund White. All of those have already been moved from the "Books I haven't read yet" pile on my table by my front door to the "Books I'm planning to read soon" pile on the floor by my bed.

4. Do you own most of the books you read, or do you borrow them from a library?
Own, and there are so many of them at this point that I dread the thought of having to cart them all from place to place when I at some point presumably move out of this apartment.

5. Who was your favourite author when you were a child?
Um. How old a child? I'm told that my favorite book back when I was two years old was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain, which I memorized every sentence of so perfectly that I "read" it aloud to my mother and momentarily tricked her into believing that I'd spontaneously taught myself to read, until she noticed that I sometimes turned the pages at slightly the wrong moments. Later, in early elementary school I was obsessed with the "Ramona" books by Beverly Cleary, and then with the Nancy Drew books by "Carolyn Keene," and then with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Madeline L'Engle and Louisa May Alcott and L. Frank Baum and, most obscurely, the "Betsy" books by Maud Hart Lovelace. I don't think I've ever heard anyone else mention having read Maud Hart Lovelace. I found her books in the library just by walking down the shelves pulling out whatever remaining books I hadn't read yet in the "young adult" section. They were good. Betsy had a friend with long reddish-brown ringlets, whose hair Betsy would gaze longingly at all through class desperately wanting to pull on the ringlets in order to watch them spring back up when she let go. I can't even remember Betsy's friend's name anymore, but I always liked to imagine that I was Betsy's friend, because the description of Betsy's friend's hair that Betsy was so obsessed with admiring was roughly similar to my own hair, just idealized a bit.

6. What were some of your favourite books when you were a child?
See above.

7. Which literary character would you like to take out on a date and why?
Well, I have far more of a tendency to fantasize about dating authors than about dating fictional characters. But I would like to date Jeanette from Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (whereas I would definitely not like to date Jeanette Winterson the author upon whom the character is based, simply because I haven't really been all that crazy about much of any of the books she's written more recently than that one, and I'm sure that my lack of appreciation for her more recent books would end up annoying her considerably). And I would like to date the authors Sherman Alexie, James Baldwin, Emily Dickinson, Christopher Isherwood, Audre Lorde, Anchee Min, Adrienne Rich, and Gore Vidal, based upon how they portrayed themselves in all their books and not contradicted by anything I've yet discovered about any of them. But half of them are dead already, and I only want to date them if they can be miraculously restored to life and their brains will not be worm-eaten.

8. Which author would you most like to have a 'one-to-one' with?
Any of the four authors I just said I'd like to date.

9. Which fictional character would you most like to have a 'one-to-one' with?
Ida from Gertrude Stein's Ida: A Novel, because I can never quite figure out whether I'd love her or hate her, and maybe talking to her would help me sort that out.

10. Which literary character would you least like to be stranded on a desert island with and why?
This is an absurd question. There's no shortage of evil characters to choose from. Uh . . . offhand, Celie's father in Alice Walker's The Color Purple comes to mind.

11. Which character would you most like to be stranded with?
Harry Potter. Not because I feel any particular desire to converse with him, but rather because he would invariably solve all possible problems and help me to escape from the island in no time.

12. In which literary/fictional location would you most like to live?
Oz. And I want to marry Ozma.

13. Which is the best TV/film adaptation of a book you have seen? why?
Nothing comes to mind.

14. Which is the worst TV/film adaptation of a book you have seen? why?
Again, nothing comes to mind.

15. What film adaptation do you actually like more than the book?
I don't do film adaptations!

16. What book do you like better than the film adaptation?
Stop asking me questions about film adaptations!

17. What are your top 5 favourite books?
When I Was Five I Killed Myself by Howard Buten, Ida: A Novel by Gertrude Stein, Julian by Gore Vidal, Native Son by Richard Wright, and The Carnal Prayer-Mat by Li Yu. Or at least, those are the five that came to mind offhand at this particular moment for me to bestow the honor upon.

18. Who is your favourite author?
The ones I said I wanted to date, plus several dozen others. You could always check my LiveJournal interests list if you want to see the others listed.

19. What is the most memorable line delivered in a film?
This is supposed to be a book survey, damn it. So here's a memorable line from a book, Gertrude Stein's Ida: A Novel (it's probably not the most memorable line from any book ever, and besides it's longer than one line, but it's the first thing I came up with):
If I am an officer, said an officer to Ida, and I am an officer. I am an officer and I give orders. Would you, he said looking at Ida. Would you like to see me giving orders. Ida looked at him and did not answer. If I were to give orders and everybody obeyed me and they do, said the officer, would that impress you. Ida looked at him, she looked at him and the officer felt that she must like him, otherwise she would not look at him and so he said to her, you do like me or else you would not look at me. But Ida sighed. She said, yes and no. You see, said Ida, I do look at you but that is not enough. I look at you and you look at me but we neither of us say more than how do you do and very well I thank you, if we do then there is always the question. What is your name. And really, said Ida, if I knew your name I would not be interested in you, no, I would not, and If I do not know your name. I could not be interested, certainly I could not. Good-bye, said Ida, and she went away.

Ida not only said good-bye but she went away to live somewhere else.
20. What is your least favourite book and why?
Japanese by Spring by Ishmael Reed, because it's a truly vicious several hundred pages long diatribe against feminists with very few redeeming qualities of any kind.

21. If your life was a book, which author would you choose to write it?
Gore Vidal. I think he often tends toward a certain tone of snide superiority which is exceedingly similar to my own tone of snide superiority, and since we both have it he couldn't hold it against me any more than I hold it against him. Plus, our similarity there would give him a clear advantage in understanding how I think and writing my character accurately. The only disadvantage of being written by Gore Vidal is that he hardly ever writes female major characters, especially not of the non-MTF kind, so he would have to turn out to be capable of doing so. But I think he could do it if he put his mind to it.
Tags: books, surveys
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