A Books Meme

Dot writes: I’m in a meme-y mood so I decided to invent one myself. There may well be something similar out there but if so it hasn’t come my way yet. My hope is that this will generate lots of good recommendations for books, and perhaps also some pleasurable discussion of same. For me it’s going to be rather like the equivalent of food-porn during rationing, as I don’t get much reading time at present (thanks, Hugh and Frank), but I am happy to drool. Answer the questions and then tag some fellow-bloggers:

1. What was the last book you read?

2. Recommend a book.

3. Recommend a children’s book.

4. My guilty pleasure is:

5. This one was rubbish:

6. If you wrote a book, what would it be? (Adapt as desired if you are writing or have written a book.)

Here are my answers:

1. What was the last book you read?

Moo-Cow, Kung-Fu Cow, to Hugh. He woke up wanting stories.

2. Recommend a book.

The Jewel in the Crown, by Paul Scott; in fact the whole Raj quartet though parts of the later books get a bit dense in places. It’s a wonderful portrayal of a dying colonial culture; it’s intellectually meaty with an absorbing human story.

3. Recommend a children’s book.

I’m going to cheat and recommend two: one for little children and one for older kids. For littlies, The Snake Hotel, by Brian Moses. It’s a lift-the-flaps book about a frog and a skunk going to stay in a hotel run by snakes. Hugh absolutely loves it and when we first got it made us read it four or five times in a row. For older children, Archer’s Goon, by Diana Wynne Jones. I love all her books; of her children’s books, this I think is the quirkiest and most satisfying.

4. My guilty pleasure is:

Detective stories. Though I am quite picky: I like ‘classic’ detective stories with the accent on the puzzle; I have little taste for anything too gritty. There are few things I enjoy more than soggily re-reading Agatha Christie.

5. This one was rubbish:

Twilight was complete pants. What ridiculous teenage posturing.

6. If you wrote a book, what would it be? (Adapt as desired if you are writing or have written a book.)

I still haven’t written a full-length academic book, though I do have an edited volume coming out soon (and you just wouldn’t believe how much work there is in one of those). I have an idea for a children’s fantasy novel that would be about children dealing with the consequences of magic pollution. Too much atmospheric magic would mean that all sorts of activities that weren’t meant to be spells would turn into them. Let’s-pretend games would get quite hazardous, for example.

OK, that’s my meme. And now for the tags, with apologies to Sarah who also got tagged yesterday (but this meme is perfect for her): Never Goes Without Saying; If By Yes; Insomniac Mummy; Vastbranch; Funny You Should Read That; The Odd Sock.

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9 thoughts on “A Books Meme

  1. What was the last book you read? Ah, the excellent ‘Deaf Sentence’ by David Lodge.

    2. Recommend a book. ‘Deaf Sentence’ by David Lodge (!!)

    3. Recommend a children’s book. Nick Sharratt’s ‘Mixed up Fairy Tales’ or ‘Foggy Foggy Forest’.

    4. My guilty pleasure is:
    Sophie Kinsella (but actually it counts as work!)

    5. This one was rubbish:
    I really struggled with Adele Parks. She’s a fantastic writer but I didn’t like reading about all the adultery. Obviously v much a prude at heart.

    6. If you wrote a book, what would it be? (Adapt as desired if you are writing or have written a book.) It’s a secret!!! Although my favourite book to write so far as been ‘Tug of Love’ – no deadline as it was my first novel. Happy days.

  2. Pingback: Book Meme « If By Yes

  3. Lily Roth

    1. Most recently read: The Victorians by A.N. Wilson
    (recommended…it’s highly partisan but very entertaining, as well as informative and hilariously observed in parts)
    Reread: Strong Poison (one of the Peter Wimsey detective stories by Dorothy L. Sayers…I’m currently re-reading them all…on the Five Red Herrings at the moment) I don’t have much time to read at present…but I do read whilst breast-feeding Owen.
    2. Recommended: Taste, The Story of Britain through its Cooking by Kate Colquhoun
    Really fascinating if you’re interested in English history and cooking. I loved it.
    3. Children’s books…so many good ones to recommend!
    to learn a bit about medieval life for older children: Catherine, called Birdy by Karen Cushman is good
    for little bitty kids, A Treeful of Pigs by Arnold Lobel (of Frog & Toad fame) and illustrated by his wife, Anita Lobel is hilarious and beautiful too!
    4. Guilty pleasure: Hmmmm…I tend to harbour no guilt about my reading habits…anything I read is okay by me! 😉 But, I suppose most people wouldn’t consider my fantasy and mystery reading habits to be very literary. I like the classic period mysteries (Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers) and both of them are actually very good writers.
    5. Rubbish: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I know, I know…it’s supposed to be meaningful and I acknowledge that I may have missed some of it’s finer points (I was forced to read it for class when I was 17), but I found it tedious in the extreme.
    6. I do write…though nothing long (yet). I’m not sure what genre it would be…but I suppose fantasy/science fiction/mystery. I guess that’s not helping is it? But any book I wrote would comprise of many small bits woven together…I don’t think I could write a traditional novel.

    1. Dot

      Interesting – I could almost have given these answers myself. Except it’s a while since I read The Victorians and I hadn’t encountered A Tree Full of Pigs. Zen and the Art of motorcycle Maintenance divides people fairly neatly into the “OMG this will change your life” camp and the “what an incredible waste of axle grease” camp.

      1. Lily Roth

        Ha! Yes. I’m afraid I felt that “Last Year at Marienbad” (which “worthy” film the Mr. insisted we watch recently) was also a steaming pile of (pretentious) poo. I often show a lamentable lack of taste. 😉 I’ll try to find “A Treeful of Pigs” for you…I bet Hugh (and later Frank) would like it!

  4. Chris

    Since golden-age detective fiction is on the table, let it be said that Margery Allingham is ever so good. Her best is better, I think, than Dorothy Sayers’, although she tends to be a bit underated because Albert Campion is bit too similar to Peter Whimsy. I don’t know which came first.

    1. Dot

      I *think* Wimsey is earlier, but I wouldn’t swear to it. I know Allingham’s work far less well, but I do remember very much enjoying some of them. Others seemed to veer too much towards thriller/adventure territory – I do like the meat to be in the detection. Must re-read…

      Ngaio Marsh is pretty good as well, though flatter: more Christie than Sayers in style, but some jolly good puzzles. I enjoy the theatrical and New Zealand elements when they pop up.

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