I was trying to avoid the BOOK MEME. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I just know me. This is the kind of thing I obsess over. But Coturnix snuck up on me like a process server and stuck it in my hands, so now I've got to testify.
I thought of bolting. The Canadian border beckoned. But Coturnix is a good guy and Majikthise, another of his victims, has come through with her answers, so I guess I should suck it up and follow through. Here goes:
You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be [save by memorizing]?
I said in my post below that I was seriously thinking it would be Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow. But probably I'd go with David Copperfield.
Or The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse.
No, David Copperfield.
No, Code of the Woosters.
See, one question in and I'm already turning into Adrian Monk.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
I have an ongoing crush on Kate Croy from Henry James' Wings of the Dove. But I think it's because Helena Bonham Carter played her in the movie and got naked. Very naked. Very, very naked. Nakeder than I think any serious actress has ever gotten in a movie.
But I've never had a crush on Charlotte Stant, the anti-heroine of James' The Golden Bowl, even though Uma Thurman played Charlotte in the movie. Thurman, though, was absolutely perfect casting.
"...the face was too
narrow and too long, the eyes not large, and the mouth, on the
other hand, by no means small, with substance in its lips and a
slight, the very slightest, tendency to protrusion in the solid
teeth, otherwise indeed well arrayed and flashingly white...He saw again that her thick hair [had] a shade of tawny autumn leaf in it, for
"appreciation"--a colour indescribable and of which he had known
no other case, something that gave her at moments the sylvan
head of a huntress. He saw the sleeves of her jacket drawn to her
wrists, but he again made out the free arms within them to be of
the completely rounded, the polished slimness that Florentine
sculptors, in the great time, had loved, and of which the
apparent firmness is expressed in their old silver and old
bronze. He knew her narrow hands, he knew her long fingers and
the shape and colour of her finger-nails, he knew her special
beauty of movement and line when she turned her back, and the
perfect working of all her main attachments, that of some
wonderful finished instrument, something intently made for
exhibition, for a prize. He knew above all the extraordinary
fineness of her flexible waist, the stem of an expanded flower... If when she moved off she looked like a huntress, she looked when she came nearer
like his notion, perhaps not wholly correct, of a muse."
I never saw the movie, it didn't get good reviews, so I don't know if Thurman got naked in it. She had reason to. Apropos my post a little while back, in The Golden Bowl James comes the closest I know of in all his writing to putting a sex scene right on stage.
"'It's sacred,' she breathed back to him. They vowed it, gave it
out and took it in, drawn, by their intensity, more closely
together. Then of a sudden, through this tightened circle, as at
the issue of a narrow strait into the sea beyond, everything
broke up, broke down, gave way, melted and mingled. Their lips
sought their lips, their pressure their response and their
response their pressure; with a violence that had sighed itself
the next moment to the longest and deepest of stillnesses they
passionately sealed their pledge."
What was the question again? Oh, right.
My first literary crushes were on Callie Shaw and Iola Morton, the Hardy Boys' girlfriends.
The last book you bought is?
The Crysanthemum Palace by Bruce Wagner.
What are you currently reading?
"Come on, Lance, you can tell us. No need to be shy."
"How embarrassing can it be to tell us what you're reading?"
"Wow. Must be something really kinky."
I told you, Don't Ask.
"Fine. Be that way. Spoil everybody's fun."
Listen, Lou Costello, that's the title of the book. Don't Ask by Donald Westlake. I'm also in the middles of The Outcry by Henry James and A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. (Check out my sidebar.)
(The 9 year old wants to answer this question too.
What book are you currently reading, 9 year old?
The 11 year old says this is kind of a nosy question, so let's pick another topic.)
Five books you would take to a deserted island?
David Copperfield, if I didn't memorize it. The Pickwick Papers if I did.
The World of Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse.
The Aztec Treasure House by Evan S. Connell. A collection of beautiful essays, all about exploration, discovery, and feats of courage that will inspire to get to work figuring a way to get off this island.
The Collected Works of William Shakespeare. I actually sort of did this one. When I went off to grad school I took only two books with me, a dictionary and Shakespeare. Of course by the end of my first week in Iowa City I had a library card and the names of all the clerks at Prairie Lights bookstore memorized, so the experiment was never really conducted and I don't know how long I could have been happy reading nothing but Shakespeare.
The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Coturnix's personal copy, because it's his fault I'm stuck on this island.
Who are you going to pass this on to and why? (Name three.)
(My first pick would have been Nance, but this is the kind of thing she can go either way on, either getting into it or brushing it off as really annoying, and it's too late to call her to find out which way she'd jump. These other people don't scare me the way she does.)
Neddie Jingo, because I want him to prove that he can read and he's not some sort of idiot savant producing that wonderful, hilarious blog of his through the kind of automatic writing William Butler Yeats and his wife claimed produced their mystic writings. (Also done!)
Your turn. Put your answers in the comments or on your blogs and send me the links. Once everybody in the world has done this we can put this meme to bed.