Literary nerdiness

Another cross-post from Facebook.

Note: It’s really annoying to have to choose just one work/writer, so I’ve cheated on some of these questions. So there.

1) What author do you own the most books by?

C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Henry James. (Note that I haven’t read all my Eliot or James books.)

2) What book do you own the most copies of?

A Separate Peace, various C.S. Lewis works (I have an anthology that includes a lot of my stand-alone books).

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

Not at all. I’m actually quite bothered at the question. The false belief that English sentences cannot end with prepositions is a (but not the) bane of my existence. English is a Germanic language and thus does NOT have to follow Latin rules!

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?


5) What book have you read the most times in your life?

A Room with a View, Mere Christianity, or The Screwtape Letters.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

The Clan of the Cave Bear.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

Who Moved My Cheese?

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Memoirs of a Geisha.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

My weblog (

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?

I honestly don’t know. I’m not very familiar with most contemporary authors.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

Reading Lolita in Tehran.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

The Devil Wears Prada or The Nanny Diaries – oh, wait…

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

When I was 9 I often fantasized about going back in time to hang out with the kids in John D. Fitzgerald’s Great Brain series, but I can’t remember any other dreams I’ve had about literature.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

The Da Vinci Code (shudder).

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

The Bonfire of the Vanities – I hated it so much I couldn’t finish it.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?

I’ve seen the London production of “The Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)” twice – does that count?

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

Depends on whether I feel like poisoning myself or throwing myself in front of a train.

18) Roth or Updike?

Haven’t read enough to form an opinion, unfortunately.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?


20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Do I have to decide? Chaucer, I suppose. But just barely.

21) Austen or Eliot?

If I were forced to choose I’d say Eliot just because I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s works already.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Contemporary authors.

23) What is your favorite novel?

A Room with a View changed my life; I also love The Remains of the Day and Villette.

24) Play?

Steel Magnolias.

25) Poem?

“To Have Without Holding” by Marge Piercy.

26) Essay?

“See You Again Yesterday” or any of the French language essays in Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

27) Short story?

My latest favorite is “The Toys of Peace” by Saki (I recently heard it on Selected Shorts).

28) Work of non-fiction?

Mere Christianity.

29) Who is your favorite writer?

Kristine Haglund.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Dan Brown.

31) What is your desert island book?

How to Get Off a Desert Island Before You Eat Your Own Arm (not yet written).

32) And … what are you reading right now?

I just finished Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar last night; I’m also currently reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Wings of the Dove by Henry James (this last is going rather excruciatingly slowly – some of his other books are so much easier!).

4 thoughts on “Literary nerdiness

  1. Very interesting. Sounds like we have some similar literature tastes. And, you’ve given me some new ideas for books I’d like to read. Too bad reading has slipped down on my priority list… will have to work on that. Your opinions about Memoirs of a Geisha are very much like mine. It was one of those books that took me to another world — always a real treat for me. And like you, I loved the book, was disappointed by the time lapse and the ending. So many endings disappoint me, though, so I was not surprised. Anyway, thanks for posting, and for checking in on our blog too.

  2. I don’t read much, especially fiction, but I have to say that Mere Christianity was an excellent book. I loved the logic in the first two chapters.

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