Nico (vilakins) wrote,
Nico
vilakins

Book meme


Gacked from mistraltoes.

1. I'm currently reading:
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It's fun and rather unusual in structure; Goldman creates a fictional country, and even fictional wife and children (about whom he is disconcertingly rude until you realise they're not real) for himself, then gives us the 'best bits' of his favourite boyhood book, a Florinese classic. I'm finding though that I want to hear less about him and more of the story.
 
I've just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It's written from the POV of a boy with Asperger's Syndrome; he has an eidetic memory but no understanding of emotional cues or others' feelings. It was fascinating (and he even mentions Blake's 7 during a digression about aliens and spaceships) but oddly disappointing, perhaps due to the boy Christopher's bleak view of life. Definitely worth reading though, especially if, like me, you enjoy the non-fiction of neurologist Oliver Sacks.

2. Next I'll read: Ah, that depends on what I find in the library.

3. The best book I read in the past year was: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, a rollicking yarn of baroque nerds, vagabonds, alchemists, and proto-scientists.

4. The book I'm most looking forward to reading is: The sequel to Quicksilver, The Confusion, due out later this year.

5. My favourite author is: I don't have one. I enjoy so many authors I can't pick one. I really enjoy Neal Stephenson, David Brin, Isaac Asimov, Tad Williams, Iain Banks, early Larry Niven (he's totally lost it now though) and a lot of others I'll remember later, but I'll read anything that looks interesting. I love the old SF authors from the 50s, even if it was an all-male universe then.

6. My favourite book from childhood is: I loved the Biggles, Just William and Jennings books, and the Jane series Jane was a sort of female William, and it was nice to see a girl being as naughty and adventurous as boys in books. My sister loved the Famous Five books, but with the exception of George I couldn't stand the characters and the sexism. Actually, I used to call myself Stephen as a kid. I got to join in all the war-games that way. Just an aside.

7. My favourite book from when I was a teenager is: It's hard to pick one as I read 2-6 books a week. Ah, yes--Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, read when I was 18 and at university.

8. The first western I read was: I don't think I've read any as such.

9. The first romance I read was: Emma by Jane Austen, given to me for my 13th birthday, Apart from Austen, I don't read romances.

10. The first mystery I read was: I can't remember. I read Agatha Christie as my mother likes her, but I preferred Dorothy Sayers and Marjorie Allingham (sp?). They were all set in another era, but I particularly loved the humour of Allingham. I haven't been able to find her since; she must no longer be popular. I also love H R F Keating's stories about Indian detective Ganesh Ghote, and the Navajo detective books of Tony Hillerman.

11. The first coming-of-age story I read was: I'm not sure, maybe To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye, both of which I was lucky enough to read for enjoyment; we didn't study them at school.

12. The first "ethnic" writer I read was: I haven't a clue. What counts as ethnic? (Hey, I'm ethnic.) And does the writer have to be non-WASP, or just from another culture, or does the story have to be set in their culture too, discounting Asimov say. Is H R F Keating an ethnic writer? His stories are set in India, but he's not Indian himself. OK, if you want an answer, I'll say Aesop. I encountered him early.

13. The first science-fiction/fantasy book I read was: I can't remember what it was called. It was a series of books about people living on space-stations and I think now that it was absolutely appalling. On space station K, all the kids born there had names beginning with K (the main character was called Krillie, I think) and as they were born in space, they were mutants who didn't need oxygen; at least they could play outside with spacesuits or life-support while their parents couldn't. As I said, rubbish, but a lovely thing for an 8-year-old to imagine: freedom, excitement, an exotic location, and adults trapped indoors.
 
The book that really turned me on to SF was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle,  which I read when I was about 12 or 13, and still loved when I read it again a few years ago. It's a wonderful book and I'd recommend it to any older child or teenager.

14. I wish I spent more time reading: I'm supposed to put a genre in here I think, but no I don't. It's hard enough as it is to find enough books to feed my fiction habit. I really want to spend more time writing.

15. The book I think was the greatest waste of my time to read was: I don't waste my time on books I don't like. If I'm not enjoying it, I stop reading and move on. I know people who feel they have to finish what they started, but life is too short and there are too many good books out there waiting.

16. The person who most encouraged me to read was: I'm not sure anyone did. My mother read to me and I learned to read at age three by following the words she read on the page, but my parents spent most of my childhood after that telling me to put the damned book down and go outside and play like a normal child.

17. The book I'm embarrassed to admit I liked is: I don't think I've ever been embarrassed to admit I liked a book.

18. I think people could be encouraged to read through: Being read to in class at primary school. We used to be read to for an hour a week and it was my favourite lesson. I still remember how much I looked forward to Ian Seraillier's The Silver Sword each week. The whole class enjoyed it, not just the readers like me, but my sister and I made our parents buy it for us. I still have it somewhere.

19. My current favourite genre is: Science-Fiction -- but good stuff. I have to pick and choose.

20. The one book that I'd recommend to almost anyone is: None. Everyone's so different. I can say though that I've had some success recommending Ursula K Le Guin's The Dispossessed to people who say they hate SF.
Tags: meme - me
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