Thursday, December 06, 2007

Post-Holiday Blogging: Book Meme

I'm back in Brisbane after my two week holiday in Melbourne. I thought I'd get a chance to do a bit more blogging during the second week and so make 'Holiday Blogging' a two-part post, but things didn't conspire that way--there were too many cakes to be eaten and too many art galleries to visit--so I've had to resort to 'Post-Holiday Blogging' for the remainder of the book meme.

A point of interest you might like to note is that between this post and the previous one, I've had the pleasure of meeting Oanh, who tagged me with this meme, IRL . There was a small window of opportunity for us to get together after I returned from Melbourne and before Oanh left Brisbane, went to the Gold Coast and returned to the UK. We arranged our meeting via the chat function on Scrabulous--as all the cool kids are doing these days--and miraculously we managed to find one another, in spite of my suggestion to meet at a cafe that was closed on Mondays. Luckily Oanh knows West End a lot better than I do, so we easily found another place to sit and acquaint ourselves.

We talked of many things, and of course, one of those was our respective reading groups. I think book clubs all around the world are a front for various other activities--not quite in the subversive tradition of the quilting circle--but still it functions as a reminder to get together with friends and talk outside of the rush of everyday activities.

In a roundabout way that brings me back to the remainder of the book meme:

4.The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

Oh, so difficult. Jeanette Winterson would be good to have lunch with because the food would be good and organic, and while I haven't read much of her in recent years, I would swat up before we met purely on the basis of her first 4 or 5 novels.

If the food at the lunch was the primary purpose for meeting at that time of day--and clearly for me it is--I rather think I'd like to sit down with Maggie Beer to drink champagne and eat quinces, artichokes and kangaroo, all the while talking about cooking and eating.

I'd rather like to meet the television writer Tom Fontana. He's responsible for Homicide, Life on the Streets and Oz. Homicide is one of my all time favourite television programmes.

5.If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be…

This might be the only way I'll ever finish Don Quixote so I'd take that.

6.I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

I think I'd just like a ribbon in every book. A built in book mark so bent pages are a thing of the past.

On that note, one thing that always annoys me when I borrow books from University libraries is the way people feel no compunction about desecrating communal books with tawdry fluorescent highlighter pens. So arrogant to assume that your notation of the important passages of a book will be the definitive interpretation of the book in question. Or perhaps just completely self-centred. So, for me a welcome bookish gadget would be something that rendered highlighting with fluorescent pens either impermanent, removable or impossible. On the last, the delivery of a short, sharp shock to any wielder of a fluorescent highlighter would be a welcome first step.


7.The smell of an old book reminds me of…

I don't like the smell of old books. It's the thing that puts me off Lifeline book sales. Yellowing, curling, lice-infested Penguins, endlessly recycled by unappreciative school students, who nevertheless insist on inscribing their names and form classes in misshapen Texta letters on the title pages of The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Harp in the South...

8.If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…

I always wanted to be Pippi Longstocking, she seemed to have a rather excellent life wearing crazy outfits and looking through a telescope out to the ocean.

9.The most overestimated book of all time is…

I want to say On the Road, but I didn't get past the first few pages of it, reading it as I did with a feminist sensibility well after the use-by date of its Beat movement-libertarian moment. I think if I'm really going to condemn a book then I should have read it, so from the same cultural moment as On the Road, I'll nominate One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for its romantic view of America's indigenous people in the figure of the Chief, its alignment of women with civilization and oppression in the figure of Nurse Ratchett, and its glorification of same old, same old, white male individualism.

10. I hate it when a book…

Hmm, what could a book do that would evoke a feeling of hatred within me? I'm stuck. Perhaps I'll poach from above: ...has fluorescent highlighter all over it!

I can't quite remember how many people I'm supposed to tag with this meme. I might just tag Ariel, since she expressed an interest in the meme via the comments on the first installment. The usual open invitation applies to anyone who's similarly interested.

3 comments:

Ariel said...

woo-hoo!

I shall do it in the next few days, after thinking it over thoroughly.

I enjoyed reading this meme (as you know). I've tried and failed with 'On the Road', too.

The Blakkat said...

That's a cool meme. Good answers, too - especially your rant on fluorescent highlighters!

I love Westend. If I ever move back to Brisneyland that's where I'd like to live. My best friend lives in Westend, which is even more incentive to visit her.

Kirsty said...

Thanks Blakkat. Of course, now you've shown the slightest bit of interest in this meme that means you're tagged too! Is that too forward of me? I've just discovered your blog through the link to your Blogger ID, but I figure since we seem to already have mutual internet acquaintances then I will be bold. You're it!