Stef (firecat) wrote,

Literature survey

via serenejournal

1. Give a quote from literature that you return to over and over.
There are hundreds. Here is the first literature-related one that came up in my quote file random selector:
"Cheshire-Puss," she began, "would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't care much where --" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. -- Lewis Carroll

2. Talk about a character in literature that feels to you, in some way, like an example of how to live.
As dorky as it might sound, Jane Eyre is the first one who comes to mind. She does what she has to, braves dangers, doesn't hide her intelligence or love of learning, accepts love when it seems real, rejects love when it seems false, holds to her moral values.

3. Is there someone out there who has written more than one book that really touched your soul? Who is it, and what were the books?
Several writers qualify, including Tolkien (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings) Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes stories), Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre and Villette), Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End and Dolphin Island, both of which I loved as a kid), Frank Herbert (the original Dune, but moreso some of his non-Dune books; I don't recall the titles of the particular ones I liked any more), Ursula K. Le Guin (the usual novels, but also the short story collections The Wind's Twelve Quarters, especially "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," and The Compass Rose: Short Stories, especially "The Diary of the Rose" and "The White Donkey")

4. What is your trashy reading? (That is, something you read that you have a hard time thinking of as "literature", but it's a fun, easy read for you -- something you pick up when you don't wanna think too hard.)
At the moment, Anita Blake novels. Also sometimes mysteries (although I tend to prefer mysteries that do qualify as "literature" or at least "literary") and spy thrillers (especially in audio book form). If I'm allowed to branch out beyond novels in answering this question, though, most of my light reading is magazines and catalogs.

5. Is there a character in literature that feels a bit like you, at the core? Who is it, and what makes this character your mirror in some way?
I recognize myself in a lot of characters, which makes sense because a good writer will create a character a lot of people can identify with. Since I already used Jane Eyre, I'll go with Frodo this time. Frodo as he was at the Council who says "I will go, although I do not know the way." Superficially this isn't like me, I rarely go anywhere and especially not carrying dangerous weapons...but I think Frodo's history as an orphan and an adopted son, and his thoughtful intelligence, give him an "apartness" that makes him ideal to bear the burden of something very powerful while feeling less tempted than many people might to use it. I think of myself that way - I often feel somewhat "apart," and I don't get the way some people crave power. (This causes me problems in fiction writing sometimes.)

6. What's the last book you can remember reading and thinking "Wow, that was a really *good* book"?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, which I finished a few days ago. I read it based on jinian's recommendation. Any description at all of why I like it, other than "It's something I haven't seen done before and I thought it was done very well," would involve spoilers.

7. Do number 6 with a film.
If a mini-series counts, the OH and I just finished watching The Count of Monte Cristo with Gerard Depardieu, and I thought it was excellent. (Although I understand they took liberties with the plot and character of Dumas's book, so if I had read the book I probably wouldn't like it as much.) I also thought Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was really well done.

8. Do you have a desert-island novel/film? (Or a group of them?) (Translation: If you only had one (or three, or five) books/films you could take with you onto a desert island, what would they be?) No fair picking non-fiction reference books -- assume you'll have plenty of access to hut-building manuals and a field guide to edible bugs.
Let's see. Three films: Wings of Desire, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Princess Mononoke. One reason I like these films is that they all use silence very well. Books: Lord of the Rings and a good poetry anthology. I'm not sure what the third book would be.

9. Is there a genre you gravitate toward? One you tend to avoid? What are they?
I read a lot of science fiction / fantasy, tending to prefer modern crossovers that combine elements of both plus elements of the genre known as "horror," which doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with what a lot of people think of when they think of horror.

There's no genre I avoid on purpose. Well, I avoid stuff packaged as "romance," but that's not a genre per se - I like many classics that qualify as romance genre quite well - it's a package or brand. I also tend not to like a lot of the modern literary short fiction I come across (e.g., stories published in The New Yorker). But I'm enough of a reading addict that if this were the only reading material available I would certainly read it.
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