Favorite book when you were a child:
The Maida series by Inez Haynes Gillmore. I read my mother's copy of Maida's Little Shop when I was sick one winter, and fell madly in love with the series. First published in the 1920's, these books were hard to find even when I was a kid, and I slowly collected most of the set. I still read them occasionally, and am still enchanted by the sickly little rich girl with her own candy shop.
Your top five authors:
Only five? How mean. Any author whose books I read and reread is a favourite. Five? All right. David Lodge, for his dialogue, his incredibly sense of humor, his understanding of the University from the inside, and his hilarious characters. Robertson Davies, for his ability to teach the most obscure subjects with humor and great understanding. Naguib Mahfouz, for his ability to take me away to another place in time and paint it so realistically. Rohinton Mistry, for evocative stories of a time tainted by politics and class. And Ian McEwan, for his stark prose, bizarre humour and for the ability to make me gasp, sob, and giggle all in the same book.
Book you've faked reading:
Rememberence of Things Past by Marcel Proust. I own all of the books. I've attenpted to read them. I've taken many fine naps with the books on my chest. But I've never gotten more than 20 pages into any of them. Dull dull dull.
Book you're an evangelist for:
East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Woods. Masterly storytelling, fantastic evocation of Victorian England with all it's rules on sexuality, love and class. The first of the sensation novels, East Lynne was one of the most popular books of it's time, but alas fell out of favor by everyone but English majors. I can't say enough about how wonderful it is.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Tuxedo Park : A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II by Jennet Cronnin. The subtitle grabbed me, the photo of the house sucked me in completely. I couldn't wait to read it, and devoured it in a day or two. It's not easy reading by any means (the science, oy, the science) but it was so interesting. Good photos, too.
Book that changed your life:
The Child in Time by Ian Mcewan. When I was working in the Netherlands I bought this book at an English bookshop and read it all in one night. I have never been so affected by a book. It completely changed my outlook on marriage, redemption, corrupt government dealing with schools, and the love of a parent for a child. It is the hardest book to read I've ever encountered, but one I read it, my feelings on becoming a parent radically changed.
Favorite line from a book:
"What the hell kind of a name is Yossarian?" Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his fingertips. "It's Yossarian's name, sir," he explained.--Joseph Heller, Catch 22
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Descent by Jeff Long. A beautifully written doomsday account of the world's end. Even if I didn't know the author (and I do) I would have loved this book. But re-reading it just isn't the same as when I read it the first time. Can you say Creepy Good? As a friend of mine said about this book, "He's one sick fuck." Ayup.
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