May 10, 2012

Books & Reading - MEME

This is a MEME I'm taking from my friend Patricia. ^_^ It took me some time to reply, so the people I'll tab will (which are really few, now that I think about it) also realize that though the questions seem easy, replying to them takes a LOT of time! So let's get the Game Begin!

The game is open for the taking, but I have my tagged ones! They'll be notified, since I don't know how to properly tag through here.

The Rules:

I. Post these rules
II. Post a photo of your favorite book cover
III. Answer the Questions bellow
IV. Tag a few people to answer them too
V. Let them know they have been tagged (through their blogs, twitter accounts, facebook, call them, send them a pigeon, just tell them, snail mail them, you know the drill)
VI. Make sure to tell the person who tagged you that you've taken part of the MEME.

First Task: Bookcovers. This is a hard one. Though I often choose books by the way they look, but I can't say which is my favorite book cover. So here are some I think are pretty... I think.

a. What are you reading right now?
A lot of things. I'm reading a book by Jo Nesbo, in Hungarian. The title is "Boszorkányszög", but I think is "Devil" something in English. I dunno. It had the word "witch" (boszorkány) so I go it. It's really good, but I'm not spoiling it for you!

I'm also reading "Gone With The Wind" by Margaret Mitchell, "Gnostic Spells" by Elaine Pagels, "Poems of Schiller" by Schiller (naturally) and "Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692" by Richard Godbeer.

b. Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I always pick new books at random. I've plenty new books. Probably something about Empress Sissi, since I've quite a heap of books about her I'm dying to read, but it all depends on what mood I'll be on when I finish. There's still a book of the series of Asa Larsson I have for reading, and a new batch on books about the history of witchcraft anf witch hunts that are waiting to be read... Perhaps it all depends on what I finish reading first, and then after depending on the mood I'm left, I'll pick the next reading or countinue with the rest until either all of them are done or one of them prompt me for more or another kind. Either way, be it as it may, I can't give you an answer to that for most likely I'll be getting more books from now till that moment comes, and maybe the selection falls to one of the new volumes.

c. What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
Oh boy... lemme see

1. La Tregua by Mario Benedetti
2. anything by Jane Austen
3. anything by Anne Radcliffe
4. anything by Emmanuel Kant
5. Crime and Punishment by Fjodor Dostojevsky

Then again, the list is longer. The Icelandic Sagas are also part of the list, as well as many books on mythology and philosophy.

d. What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
There's a couple of TV Guides, Times, The Economist, National Geographic, Elle, Marieclaire, Eva, HVG, and then some Hungarian magazines. My boyfriend likes mainly the history and nature magazines, though he's the first to read the economical/political magazines as well. I've a mixed taste for fashion-with-a-social-edge and financial, political topics on a more global scope.

e. What’s the worst book you've ever read?
Oh, I've read plenty of bad books. I must include there Oscar Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray", then also "Hoax" by Robert Tanenbaum, a book on Wicca I read in Hungarian, written by some Fraternitas, which writes Hungarian worse than I do, and have never met an Editor in their lives, "Egyetlenem" by Méhes György (this one was so particularly bad, I hope no one ever translates it, so that the shame of this crap remains only in Hungarian). This last one is truly unspeakable, a horrendous, worse than cliché book that has nothing to do with the first one I read from the same author, and which was sheer genius. However, by far the worse book I've ever read, the absolute worse, a veritable Tree-Murder, is "Chasing Harry Winston", by Lauren Weisberger. She's the author of "The Devil Wears Prada". Well, if you loved the movie, please don't read the book, and please, PLEASE don't read this one either!

You can't find a worse pile of horsecrap, not even looking for it. I've read bad fanfiction that's far better than this plotless, pointless, pretentious piece of insult to mankind. I'd say that if you are curious, don't buy it, I'd send you my copy, but I was more honest and threw that crap to the garbage, where it should be. I wouldn't even give that to the people I hate, and I would recommend them the worse books I've read in my life!

f. What book seems really popular but you actually hated?
... where should I start! I can't get past the first word of any of the Twilight books, I can't stand Paulo Coelho, dislike all self-help books, can't read "Reader's Digest", dislike all "Chicken Soups for the Soul", won't read the last two books of the Harry Potter Saga and am really sorry I read the fifth one, don't like the Horse of Troy, can't read any of Oscar Wilde's stories - after reading Dorian Gray -, can't read "The Little Prince" and though I ADORE Paris, I can't stand the picture of the little prince at all.

g. What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone? 
There are many, but there's one I'd love to recommend to everybody but I can't, for it seems I'm the only person in the world who has read it and it can't be found in any bookstore. It's a novel by Konstantyin Paustovsky that I love, which title I know only in Hungarian, and it's truly beautiful.

Aside from this, it depends on what I'm reading, or the person I'm recommending it to. I love, for instance, the diaries of Anais Nin, but wouldn't recommend her to anyone. So is with Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky, or any of the books of Jean Paul Sartre. I've recommended The Historian quite highly also, but only to people I think they could like it.

h. What are your 3 favourite poems?
I don't know if there are three of them, but my favorites are one from Mihail Lermontov, which appeared in the novel of Komstantyin Paustovsky I mentioned before, and Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe. I'll include here for you the one by Lermontov.

No, not with you I fell in love so fast,
And not for me your beauty is succeeding;
I love in you my suffering preceding,
And youth of mine, that perished in the past.

And when sometimes my look is long and hard,
And penetrates your eyes of high perfection;
I'm busy with a secret conversation,
But not to you I send my words of heart.

To my youth's girl, my word of soul flies,
In features yours, I seek for other dears,
In lips alive -- the lips, so mute for years,
In eyes -- the flame of the extinguished eyes.

It's sad, but I believe it's also beautiful. I'm not big on poetry, I actually like prose better, which explains why I read so little of it. However, as weird as it might seem, I often prefer the few verses I write from time to time, to much of what gets published currently.

i. Where do you usually get your books?
That would be, Librería Internacional if I'm in Costa Rica, and Libri if I'm in Hungary. I'd love to hit used book stores, but I'm not always at ease with them. Staring at bookspines ordered by a system that makes little sense to me, isn't something I enjoy. That's why I prefer these bookstores. If I feel like "crime", I go to that section and check there. If I want "classics", I go there.

There are some used book bookstores that are simply magical, like Massolit, at least the one I found in Cracow when we went there in 2009, however still, the same basic problem upsets me about the system: I don't get a better view of the selection. Certainly, books here are unique - you can't find two copies of the same book - but then I guess you have to become a regular to understand the "system" and find the books you are feeling like reading.

From time to time I scout up other places, other bookstores, but I'm normally a very loyal client, up to the point that the sales people soon get to know be and greet me by my first name. :-P Hey, I'm an addict and they are my dealers!

j. Where do you usually read your books?
Anywhere! That's why I carry my Kindle in my purse at all times! I read at home - normally my paper backs - and my Kindle gets flipped out on the metro, the tram, the bus, or at any place where I have to wait. I also love to go to coffeeshops or bar&restaurants, order something - drink and snack - and sit there reading and reading. To my surprise, Kindles are actually quite common here in Budapest, so people don't stare at it as they stare, for instance, at my smartpen when I take it out to jot notes for a post, if I'm not carrying my netbook with me.

Reading traps me so much that the place quickly flies out of my senses and only the reading matters. :-)

k. When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
My mom used to read to us. I didn't have any particular reading habits, except that I enjoyed reading in secret, so I would hide under a desk or find the most secluded space in the library of my school to read.

l. What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
That I can't remember. I know I have, but I can't remember which one it was. It happens often to me.

m. Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
Ha ha ha ha! No, but I have faked Not-to-be-reading-a-book! I've hidden books on my lap, under the keyboard tray, and also in drawers and under papers! Since the Kindle, the faking-not-to-be-reading-a-book has been more easy. I've also pretended to go to the bathroom only to get into it and sit on the toilet to read. I haven't managed to fake not-reading during meetings, mostly because I am responsible about that, but I have faked it on boring seminars.

What can I say? I'm a bookaholic! I indulge my addiction in secret too!

n. Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Of course! But I think I already replied to this priorly.

o. What was your favourite book when you were a child?
A fairy tale book, Hungarian of course. It had many wonderful tales and pretty pictures and the dresses of the princesses were all so beautiful! At least it seemed so to me. The title of the book is something like "Beautiful Straw Miss".

p. What book changed your life?
Then again, many have been of influence in my life. The last book that had a lasting impact on me was "On the Ends of Good and Bad Things" by Cicero. It's a book of philosophy and goes on around the topic of ethics and what's good, what's bad, what's desirable, what's rejectable. It gave me a good starting point for my research on religions.

q. What is your favourite passage from a book?
I won't copy it - specially because it's in Hungarian - but it's in that book of Paustovsky I love so much. In it, the guy is currently a soldier in the Russian army, and is in love with a nurse. Their relationship is very sweet and almost platonic, with very little chances for them to meet, as they are normally assigned to different places, so at one point, they are traveling and their trains stop for five minutes at the same station, at the same time. They both jump of their trains, meet and kiss for five minutes, before rushing back to their wagons and leave.

I'm not one to usually like romance things, but this scene is particularly touching.

r. What are your top five favourite authors?
Konstantyin Paustovsky
Mór Jókai (Maurice Jókai)
Anais Nin
Asa Larsson
Margaret Mitchell

s. What book has no one heard about but should read?
That one of Konstantyin Paustovsky. I'd love to tell you what's the title, but I don't. Hungarians translated it as "Restless Youth".

t. What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?
Odd question. I don't know. Aside from the Paustovsky one, I'd say it comes and goes. I've recommended The Historian and The Empire of Angels, as well as The Taqwacores among others, and those are really good, but I don't go converting people to books.

u. What is your favourite book by a first-time author?
I normally don't know that much of the authors I read, so I can't really reply to that question. I'm tempted to say "The Physics Book of Deliverance Dane", but I don't really know id Katherine Howe has published other books.

v. What's your favorite classic book?
I like "The Sons of the Man with a Heart of Stone" by Maurice Jókai ("A Kőszívű ember Fiai"). I've read several others, but not many of them have made an impression on me. I've come to the conclusion that classics are often overestimated books, that were popular in their time, but that doesn't mean that they were all that good. I've read some Henry Miller and some D.H. Lawrence that I've liked much more than Madame Bovary or Don Quijote, for instance.

w. 5 other notable mentions?
1. The Diaries of Anais Nin (Anais Nin)
2. All The President's Men (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein)
3. The City Kid (Paul Reidinger)
4. Huis Clos (Jean-Paul Sartre)
5. Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)


Sartassa said...

:D loved it, I already added the book by Katherine howe to my list, and will order it as soon as I finished reading my last order. it was really interesting to read about your book preferences.
I don't get the hang of these used book stores either. However, there are none in my hometown, there's only the library but it's sort of linked to the computer so you can find things easily.
it was a hard task, wasn't it?

Storm Bunny said...

That's a really good book! And yes, it was hard! It gets you thinking A LOT!! I was running back anf forth to my bookcase in order to reply to some of the questions, and hoping the books I was looking for weren't still in Costa Rica.