Thursday, July 10, 2008

Book Meme Bonanza!

I've been tagged for a lot of memes this week. I feel popular! I feel like Carrie at the prom! Trusting that there's no bucket suspended over my head, I'll begin:

Bibliolatrist tagged me for a six-word story. This was more difficult than I thought.

While packing, she fantasized about agoraphobia.

Ella at Box Of Books wants to know about readers' comfort zones.

What kind of a book are you most comfortable reading? Biographies. Especially ones about authors. Serve 'em up with a snack of jalapenos and popcorn and a large Coca-Cola with lots of ice and I'm a happy bookworm.

What kind of book do you love to hate? Something that is kind of touchy-feely and has a "deep" message and if I don't "get it", I'm either stupid, shallow or heartless.

What was the last book you surprised yourself by liking? The Oxford Murders. I don't like math or mysteries, but I found this novel enjoyable.

What was the last book you surprised yourself by disliking? The Book Of Proper Names. I thought that since it was a modern French novel, it would be cool, edgy and entertaining. Zero-for-three on that one!

What would be the worst book to be marooned on a desert island with? Maybe a biography of Dakota Fanning or Miley Cyrus?

What would you take if you suspected you might be marooned in the near future? I need to take Middlemarch since I'm due to read it again in 2009. I also might take a blank book.

What forces you to read outside your comfort zone? Guilt. Shame. Peer pressure. My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm. The usual.

Just A Reading Fool has tagged me for a Best/Worst Classics Meme.

What is the best classic you were forced to read in school, and why? To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it during the 1975-1976 school year. This was during the time that we were celebrating (and celebrating and celebrating!) the bicentennial, and the nation was continuously congratulating itself for being so wonderful. TKAM made me realize how far we'd come in such a short time and also recognize how far we still had to go.

What is the worst classic you were forced to endure in school, and why? I'm not sure that I can answer this question fairly. I really hated Julius Caesar in 10th grade. This was my introduction to Shakespeare, and it almost put me off of him for good. Actually, I hated almost everything we read in 10th grade, but that could have been the teacher. Never before or since have I had an English teacher that could make books so unappetizing, even to me.

Which classic should every student be required to read, and why? Fahrenheit 451, Of Mice And Men and To Kill A Mockingbird. They're good stories, the language is easily accessible and have the potential for great class discussions.

Which classic should be put to rest immediately, and why? I'm hoping that teachers are no longer ga-ga over Portrait Of Jennie. A ghost story that's muddled nonsense that was probably written for a quick buck.

Why do you think certain books become classics? They become classics because they have characters, themes and ideas that readers of all ages can identify with, often on a visceral level.


Eva said...

I love the forces pushing you outside your comfort zone! :)

SFP said...

It was your teacher! My son still loves Julius Caesar above and beyond all other Shakespeares. Mentally murder your teacher in some gruesome fashion and then give it another chance. ;)

Jeane said...

Oh! I happen to really like A Portrait of Jennie. Although I never heard of it before I found it in a dusty thrift store, and it certainly wasn't approached in school. I liked it because it featured an artist, and because it was quoted in another book I had just read! But I haven't read it in years; I might find it just silly now.

Anonymous said...

I had Julius Caesar in 10th grade, but I don't think I hated it. Oddly after that, I didn't read many of Shakespeare's plays in high school (for example, Romeo and Juliet -- gasp!) or really college either. It was more his poetry to which I was exposed then.

Anonymous said...

I never did like a classic I was assigned to read in school. Luckily I'd already read a lot of them.

What? You don't like touchy feely books you don't "get"? You are clearly heartless, shallow and (checking original post), stupid but in good company, since that would include me.

I'm going to have to steal some of these memes.

Glad to see that someone else will be voting for Robertson Davies on John's blog. Isn't he fabulous?(RD, but John too.)

Literary Feline said...

Your six word story is great, Bybee! It says so much in few words. I can see how it would be difficult to do.

I got a good chuckle out of your response to reasons for reading outside of your comfort zone. :-)

I have never heard of Portrait of Jennie. I guess that's a good thing. :-)

Unknown said...

I think To Kill A Mockingbird has popped up on every ones Over-rated Classics meme.

I haven't read it in decades and I put it on mine. I need to give it another read....I was planning on going to the library today....

Susan said...

Hey! I tagged you too! For Fluffy Five Meme!!! *sniff* I know it's a long one, but it's fun!!! (It has to be, it comes from Emily (Queen of the Memes).....

Susan said...

PS good answers, I like the classics answers a lot, and agree with many of them except Shakespeare answer; and - Is Portrait of Jennie a classic???? How did that happen??

Bybee said...

I'm definitely a bookworm with issues.

I knew it was that damn teacher! She even spoiled my introduction to Steinbeck via her unappetizing presentation of The Pearl. Luckily, I was already interested in him.

A Portrait of Jennie was also the 10th grade English teacher.

At our school, Caesar was 10th, Romeo and Juliet was 11th and Macbeth was 12th.

Yep, John's a wonderful force out there in the blogiverse.

I'm probably not being fair to poor Jennie.

I read Mockingbird twice during that 9th grade year, but haven't read it since. I'd like to go back and see how I encounter it as an adult.

I have every intention of doing my fluffy five meme.
The whole text of Portrait of Jennie was in my 10th grade lit book. I suppose it was a way of teaching the concept of tone or's all there for a no-nonsense reason...certainly not enjoyment. The Scarlet Ibis = Imagery = Bleah!