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Booking Through Thursday: Book Meme

btt button

What was the last book you bought?
The Birds Fall Down, by Rebecca West. I’ve been looking for it since last year. Found it at the used bookstore for $6.50

Name a book you have read MORE than once
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It’s a social satire set in the 1930s Moscow, with an interesting skein of characters (a writer who is beheaded, his friend got sent to asylum, the devil disguised as a magician, a cat who can talk and drink vodka). The work itself in unique in a sense that it doesn’t belong to a particular genre–this uncertainty of its genre, along with the mystery, ambiguity, irony and humor–render readers clueless of what to expect from the book, which makes the reading all the more intriguing. The underlying theme of good and evil, of compassion and loyalty are simply breath-taking.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
No. Reading as a whole has consistently molded me so it’s difficult, almost impossible, to nail down to one book. I feel it won’t be fair to the other books if I just pick one.

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews
I usually stick with my favorite authors to begin with. To name a few: Jose Saramago, John Banville, Graham Greene, W. Somerset Maugham, and Gore Vidal. The it branches out to my favorite genres, historical fiction, literary fiction, and world literature (particularly Russian, Eastern European, and Asian). Since I started book blogging, I’ll read what book bloggers with similar taste are reading. Friends from the coffee shop will also make suitable recommendations. The rest is pure joy and luck pulling titles from the many warrens and canyons of bookstore shelves.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
I want to say both but the amount of fiction and literature I read far outnumber non-fiction.

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
This is a past BTT question.
I read for the story but not for always because someone authors, who are very good prose stylists, are just known for the craft of writing and I known I’m not in for much of a story, for example, Henry James. For sheer purpose of entertainment and comfort, I seek out the literary world and the characters that inhabit in it. I do have to concede that the story, despite the dreadful writing full of cliches and empty adverbs, is what drives people to read The Da Vinci Code, of which every chapter leaves you off with a cliffhanger. The Pillar of the Earth is another book that springs to mind as far as keeping me engrossed. It’s a more laudable literary fare of course. The Name of the Rose is another intriguing read. Story is the soul to the work of fiction. To hear stories is to be familiar with distant and unfamiliar affairs over geographical barrier and time. Regardless of how they are told, in plain words or metaphors, they can breathe new meaning to our understanding and perception.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)
From this year’s reading, Morris of Letter from Point Clear by Dennis McFarland. He is a 41-years-old gay literature professor, gay, whose imminent visit to his hometown in the south unnerves his sister, who is married to a pastor. He is very comfortable in his own skin and always resorts to silly barb at the hint of any emotion discussion.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
Books that are on my fall reading list: Asylum by Paul McGrath, Trauma by Paul McGrath, Dear American AirlinesThe Painter from Shanghai by Mark Miles, by Jennifer Cody Epstein, Middlemarch by George Eliot, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Flirting by Tim’m West, and The Debut by Anita Brookner.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
The Birds Fall Down, by Rebecca West. I finished it on the morning of October 7.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in
Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Nuff said.

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14 Responses

  1. It’s a pleasure to come across someone with a profound love of GOOD books, as opposed to media tie-ins and movie novelizations (God help us). Corporate publishing has destroyed fine literature, which is why I sincerely hope that the rumors of media giants dumping their publishing arms are, in fact, true.

    Good post, as always…

  2. I used to read cover to cover; I was driven! But now I’ve recently decided that life is too short to waste my valuable reading time.

    Come see my answer.
    http://bookcritiques.blogspot.com

    …and check out my giveaways

  3. You got a lot on your nightstand! I read Middlemarch but it took me quite awhile to do it. It’s a big one.

  4. I find a lot of the classics hard to read, along with a few that made it to the NYT best seller’s list. I suppose that’s just how my taste goes. 🙂

    Good point on The Da Vinci Code. I was first confused by the short chapters but since I wanted to finish it, I just kept reading.

  5. Our favorite genre is science fiction.
    I don’t think I would have even tried Moby Dick.

  6. I gave up on Moby Dick, too. I would like to say it was because I was still in high school, so my tastes weren’t as refined as they are now, but I think I’d still find it a complete bore.

  7. I think I find books more or less the same way you do. You just put it better. 🙂 And SF certainly has wonderful warrens in which to wander.

  8. I am thinking of re-reading The Name of the Rose. It has got all the good ingredients.

    A lot to add to my already 100 miles long TBR pile. Your post has made me drool.

    *grin*

  9. I agree about Da Vinci Code, but I didn’t see the issues when I read it. It wasn’t until I read that other book Angles and Demons. It’s soooo long for a book that takes place in, what, eight hours. It made me critical on both books.

  10. I like the way you describe finding books, so well-written and elegant. Letter from Point Clear would be a book I’ll like to read. Morris sounds like an interesting person.

  11. I enjoyed Middlemarch very much, even though I’ve never really cared for anything else by Eliot. But it did seem like it took forever to get through it. These days, I generally look for books that aren’t such chunksters!

  12. I’ve made it halfway through a few novels before tossing them aside, never to be heard from again.

    As for how I choose books, usually recommendations from family and friends, authors with whom I am familiar, or sometimes just by the title.

  13. Letter from Clear Point has me intrigued.

  14. I think those who like Moby Dick must have read the abridged edition.

    As to choosing books, I have now relied on your recommendations! I have just finished Blindness, of which you spoke very highly, and am ready to see the film.

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