The Literary Meme

I’ve seen this meme on too many blogs to count, and I’ve wanted to do it for quite some time.  A holiday Friday seems like a great time to tackle it because I’ve been sitting here for several minutes trying to decide what to blog about but my mind keeps wandering around to whether or not I’m going to get my hair cut short tomorrow, the planting I hope to do this weekend and the mojito recipe challenge my neighbors threw down last night. So, a meme it is! A lovely Memorial Day weekend to all who honor it – take the time to hug a serviceman or woman this weekend, if you can.

What author do you own the most books by?

Before I unpacked all of my books I would have sworn the answer to this question would be Pat Conroy but the actual answer is a tie between Shakespeare and Dickens. English major in college, you know.

What book do you own the most copies of?

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde. I have six copies. NO idea why.

Did it bother you that those questions ended with prepositions?

No – it would only bother me if it was in a formal piece of writing. Otherwise, glass houses and stones, you know –

Which fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Patrick Kenzie from Dennis LeHane’s mystery series. And how many women did Mr. Darcy seduce years throughout the years? I don’t mind shamelessly waving my hand in response to that question.

Which books have you read the most times in your life?

Pride and Prejudice, Beach Music and Jane Eyre

What was your favourite book when you were ten years old?

I have no idea. Is that the age I would have read Bridge To Terabithea, A Wrinkle in Time or Where the Red Fern Grows? Those are three of my favorite books from my youth.

What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Firefly Lane – had to stop reading it, it was so awful. I also feel Janet Evanovich has really lost her touch in the last few years, too.

What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? The Given Day, by Dennis LeHane. An ASTOUNDING book. As my brother, my dad and I all noted, we didn’t want it to end.

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

Lonesome Dove – it’s the book I gave my young sister-in-law who NEVER read for pleasure before – now she’s a reading fiend. I take personal responsibility for this achievement, although she did call me up to holler about the ending. Another one would be Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Dennis LeHane

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

The Dawn Patrol, by Don Winslow – I am also really, really excited to see Julie and Julia this August…who’s coming with me???

Which book would you least like to see made into a movie? Um,  Susan Sontag’s journals would make really a really crappy adaptation, I think.

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

Until a few nights ago I would have said the time my friend Will took on the role of Mr. Darcy in one of my dreams and we had like eight kids and lived on a boat, but since I’m reading Power of the Dog I have to say the dream I had earlier in the week where I was lost in Mexico City and kept snorting cocaine, which I have never, ever done in real life. It was a HORRIBLE dream. HORRIBLE.

What is the most low-brow book you’ve read as an adult?  I recently tried a Jodi Picoult book – something with Mother and Sister in the title.  Just – no. No.

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

Is Paradise Lost considered a book? If so, that.

What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen? Dudes, I don’t go see the obscure ones if I can help it. But I did see one of the Richard plays once – don’t remember which one – but it was annoying. I LOVED King Lear in peformance.

Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

French. S. and I once spent a summer reading Camus. It was great.

Roth or Updike?

Updike. And have you heard, The Witches of Eastwick is going to be a television show this year? I am sure it’s going to be awful but you all know I’m going to watch it anyway.

David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

Sedaris before all his stuff started getting published in the New Yorker.

Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?


Austen or Eliot?


What is the biggest or most embarassing gap in your reading?

I am not embarrassed in any way about my reading. That said, this summer I’m launching a reading project called Haunted by Hemingway – more details to come on that – and I hope anyone who wants to slowly read through Hemingway’s work and then a lot of the writers he influenced will join me.

What is your favourite novel? As everyone knows it used to be Beach Music but that has been replaced by either The Given Day or A Winter’s Tale – I am having a GREAT reading year.


Blythe Spirit, Noel Coward.


The Lake Isle of Innisfree – (and I will have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow…)


Jesus Shaves, by Sedaris. I mean, that last line? Never laughed so hard in my life. Never. I taught Me Talk Pretty One Day one semester (all the books I chose that semester centered around the different ways people communicate with one another) and as a class, when we got to the end, well, all conversation was just shot. Hilarity ensued.

I would be remiss in not mentioning the entirety of Didion’s The White Album, as well.

Short story?

Where are You Going, Where Have you Been – Joyce Carol Oates

Work of non-fiction?

The Year of Magical Thinking,  Didion

Who is your favourite writer?

This is an impossible question. Way too many to name – Pat Conroy, Dennis Lehane, Austen, Shakespeare, Yeats, Eliot – impossible question.

Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Stephanie Meyer.

What is your desert island book?

The Stand, by Stephen King.

And… what are you reading right now?

Power of The Dog, by Don Winslow. It’s a novel about how Mexico ended up as a narco country. I am learning a tremendous about and the characters are compelling but it’s also incredibly depressing and violent.

Happy weekend, all!

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9 Responses to The Literary Meme

  1. Amanda says:

    I loved reading this! I’ve been meaning to read The Given Day for a while now and I just requested it from the library because of you. And your dream just cracked me up…I mean I would have been traumatized had I had it, but reading it on here just made me laugh. Hmmm…Lonesome Dove. My sister’s a newbie reader too and she does love the old West…I’ll have to recommend she read that. Thanks!

  2. auntjone says:

    Ugh. I can only aspire to be as well read as you. But since I wasn’t an English major I hope you’ll cut me some slack? Thanks.

    I haven’t tackled any Hemingway but would like to, and I have a reading buddy maybe I’ll make it through! Let me know about your project. I need to make a list of books to read.

    Stephanie Meyer…did she write the Twilight series? I haven’t read it or seen any of the movies and I don’t plan to just out of principle. JK Rowling sucked me in with wizardy but I am SO not into vampires.

  3. Emily Barton says:

    I will go see Julia and Julie with you. I am convinced you could have written that book (which made me laugh out loud till I cried during a period when I really need that) better. And, oh, I wish I could take a class where we read and discuss Me Talk Pretty One Day.

  4. litlove says:

    Very interesting answers – and a whole host of books and authors for me to check out. You are going to be horrified, but I hadn’t even heard of Denis LeHane. Oh well, remedied now! And I must read Pat Conroy.

    Also – congratulations on finishing your first draft! I read your last post but didn’t have time to comment then. So very pleased for you!

  5. Dorothy W. says:

    Lots of authors I need to read here, including Conroy and LeHane. I like your Hemingway project! I’m not in the mood for a Hemingway fest myself, or I’d join you, but I like projects that involve looking into one author deeply.

  6. Courtney says:

    Amanda – Lonesome Dove is a great book for sucking readers in – I honestly don’t know anyone who has read it who hasn’t loved it!
    Aunt Jone – LOL – most of my “well-readness” definitely stems from my time in college and graduate school. And yes, Stephanie Meyer wrote the twilight series which I just can’t believe has had the success it has…
    Emily – it’s a date for Julie and Julia. Now, where is a good meeting point to catch up?
    Litlove – Denis LeHane is a great mystery writer – his Patrick and Angie series is great for vacations but Mystic River, Shutter Island and The Given Day are true works of literature.
    Dorothy – it will probably be a few months until my Hemingway project is up and running but no worries about not joining! This is to help fill in my reading gaps.

  7. Cam says:

    I’ll join you virtually in seeing Julie & Julia. I didn’t make it all the way through Julie’s book – thought it got a bit repetitive, so I wasn’t eager at first to see this. But, I say the trailer and fell i love with Meryl Strep as Julia Child. Ok, I admit it: I fall in love with Meryl Strep in film she makes.

    Hemingway project sounds interesting. Only the novels? I’d join in for discussion of In Our Time, one of my favorite short story collections.

  8. Steph says:

    Ugh, I recently tried a Jodi Picoult book, too. Skimmed it. “Read” it in about an hour. Ugh. Yuck.

  9. Kim says:

    Totally agree with you on Stephanie Meyer. Looks like I need to read me some Dennis LeHane. I believe I have a couple of his books on one of my many bookshelves.

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