RSS

The Mole, The Astronaut and the Award(robe)

15 Jun

Liebster-award-ribbonAnna of the wonderfully written Ink Stains on a Reader’s blog nominated me for an award, which is the sort of thing that I don’t usually go in for these days but nonetheless thought it would be fun to answer the questions and pretend I am some sort of celebrity, which I am not…even in my own mind:

Name a piece of literature you consider the best you’ve read so far?  What an unfair first question!  I think Catch 22 is the perfect novel in terms of pacing but as to best…I don’t know Márquez, Eco, Calvino, Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky…the field of authors is tough so I will go a bit left field and plump for A Pound of Paper by John Baxter, in which he talks of his love for books, his past and obsessions.  I need to review that one sometime…it just reaffirms why so many people have a love for books.

What are the characteristics of your dream home library?   Each room except the bathroom and kitchen will be crammed full of books, haphazard books everywhere.  There will also be comic books and magazines, old papers and pamphlets and whatever else I can hoard.  There won’t be much in the way of anything else, a few tables and desk, comfy chairs and a couple of beds as well as the other necessities.  It will be a place that amazes people with its sheer number of books but will also feel comfortable and eccentric, a place you don’t want to leave regardless of whether you love books or not.  And it will have one of those ladders that you can roll around the shelves because that’s a must.

What are your favorite places for buying books?  Any second-hand book shops really, with their musty smell and hidden treasures…the more obscure the better.  If it has to be full price books, I want a place that has a diverse choice, not the usual best sellers but unexpected stuff that catches the eye and heart.

Should philosophy be taught from elementary school? Yes, I think that education needs to get back to letting children think for themselves and question…critical thinking should be standard on every curriculum, especially in this culture of dumbing down.

What does it mean to be wise? / What is wisdom?  To be wise would be to be logical but to understand that life is about more, about emotion, it is a balance, experience, perception…wisdom is an educated guess as nobody on Earth really has a clue what’s going on.

Which literary character feels like a real person to you (as a long known friend, an acquaintance maybe)?  Any character created by Gabriel Garcia Márquez feels more real than knowing people in real life does.  The way he lives his characters is just astounding.  Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment was somebody vulnerable and lacking in judgement but so human that it is easy to identify with his thoughts and fears.  I would have to plump for Mole, Ratty, Mr Toad and Badger as well…I loved those guys in Wind in the Willows and their world was wonderful and even the appearance of a deity called Pan adds to the fun with his slightly jarring and mysterious appearance.  I personally think it was quite sinister.

Quote one of the passages (from any book of your choice, of course) you had to stop by to reread, to note down or ponder upon?  I don’t tend to reread very much, one would hope that there is plenty of time for that in the future, I tend to remember the ideas and images that passages give off rather than the words.  The passage I have reread the most would be from in 2010: The Second Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (it was mentioned in the two sequels as well).  It features a stranded astronaut, aware that with no hope of rescue, he will die when his oxygen runs out.  He chooses, like a true scientist to describe all he can about Jupiter’s moon Europa to be recorded for posterity.  I read that passage verbatim twice as it felt so epic at the time.

Best movie based on a book?  Tough one…I think The Fellowship of the Ring has to be in there, 2001: A Space Odyssey was majestic and a great foil for the book.  The princess Bride was a better film than book, which I don’t say lightly…    Hugo was surprisingly good as well, the old 1950’s Alice in Wonderland cartoon was brilliant as was Return to Oz based on books two and three of the series.  Having said that though , my favourite is Stand By Me, the Stephen King story, which is called The Body in the book Different Seasons is pretty much a perfect film, the book only beats it because it explains more about the characters at the end.

What is the thing that fascinates you the most? I think everything is fascinating,  finding the links, no matter how obscure or (possibly) untrue allows someone like moi to be able to go on flights of fancy and make such connections.  Perhaps life is my answer, I will go with that.

Suppose you live in several houses. Is there a book you would want to have in every one of them?  No, I would hate to deprive myself of room for other great books, I’d like the change of scenery as I walked between the houses as well as the exercise.

Would you accept the invitation to the Mad Hatter Tea Party?  I certainly would, I can talk nonsense fluently, so I would fit right in…also I do love my tea and celebrating my unbirthday which coincidentally it just happens to be.

Advertisements
 
54 Comments

Posted by on 15/06/2014 in Blogging

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

54 responses to “The Mole, The Astronaut and the Award(robe)

  1. Al

    15/06/2014 at 15:23

    I agree about Marquez. You know what they look like and how their emotions are through every step of their lives. Each new part gives a new feeling, a new thought, a new look.

    Our second hand book store has moved to a different town now, so I tend to buy my physical books from charity shops now

    My God. It’s full of stars!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      15/06/2014 at 16:19

      Márquez is such a thorough writer, when you get to his other epic 100 Years of Solitude, each character has their own emotion attributed to them, it’s a clever idea from a genius writer. His books will stand up to numerous rereads and always show me new angles on what I think I know.

      It is always a loss when a book shop moves or goes bust…charity shops tend to put me off as they only stock bestsellers…I always see The Godfather…I swear every charity shop has at least one copy.

      That is a classic line, I love that the film went all ‘Twin Peaks’ after that, haha.

      Like

       
      • Al

        15/06/2014 at 18:12

        I have never seen a GodFather in any of the shops here. Although I was looking for some books belonging to my daughter and I opened a cupboard and there are books there from the previous tenants. Wow! Shogun, Thai-Pan, (two of Cavell’s others), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Four works of Dickens, Four works of Welles, The complete Poe collection, and that is naming a few.

        I am going to read a few other books before I start on 100 Years of Solitude. I need to read A Clash of Kings for one.

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          15/06/2014 at 20:11

          That’s my theory blown, maybe it is just a Nottinghamshire thing…sounds like a nice haul you’ve got yourself there, free books are always the best, especially when they are unexpected.

          Yeah eke Márquez out, now he’s passed on you won’t get to experience any new books apart from the ones in print and once they are read there’s no experiencing any new stuff. A sad thought indeed.

          Like

           
          • Al

            15/06/2014 at 21:44

            It is sad when that happens. My daughter has started to experience James Herbert. Thankfully there are a great many of them.

            Like

             
            • Ste J

              17/06/2014 at 14:50

              Herbert, he is always a…visceral read!

              Like

               
              • Al

                17/06/2014 at 16:48

                I read The Dark when I was 13ish and slept with the light on for a fortnight.

                Like

                 
  2. writersideup

    15/06/2014 at 19:04

    Ste J, I’m not into awards myself, when they are of a competitive nature. You know—striving to be “the best” is not appealing to me. I DO celebrate friends when they are recognized for something though.

    You don’t have to be a celebrity to be interesting and your answers are definitely interesting 🙂 I’m glad you took the time to spill it all out for us (yes, spill, not spell 😉 ) You are much more well-read than I am so I’ll just trust your opinions on the many of the books you’ve mentioned, though I have to disagree about the “Hugo” film. It was beautiful aesthetically, but they dropped the scenes that made the story a moving one, so I was disappointed 😦

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      15/06/2014 at 20:05

      I take your point about Hugo, it did drop some of the emotive scenes, I suppose being a different medium, films always tend to skim over some of the nuances due to time. I think viewed as a companion piece its okay but the book is definitely the better of the two…not bad for a book with only 33,000 words in it.

      Like

       
  3. readingwithrhythm

    15/06/2014 at 19:21

    Very interesting and enlightening. We have books in every room – even the kitchen and bathroom. There would probably be books in the dog house – if we had one. But no ladder. Just a stool.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      15/06/2014 at 20:07

      I am always worried books in the bathroom will get all moist and curly from the bath/shower steam…perhaps plastic covers are in order…really, I should go by the rule of if there is space I should fill it with books.

      Like

       
  4. Seyi sandra

    15/06/2014 at 20:25

    I know how your home would look live Ste J! 🙂 Beautiful, serene, and a place to hide! Books makes life bearable. You can get lost in the story, and after that, you’re off to the next. I was sad when Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away but in essence, he lives on; in his books. It’s great learning more about you in this post!
    Blessings.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      15/06/2014 at 20:31

      I often feel I probably hide behind books too much, I give my opinions on books and the odd thought but perhaps I am a little elusive…everybody likes a bit of mystery though! At the moment I am reading a Márquez book called Leaf Storm and it has a short story he wrote at 19 and he was a really strong writer even then. He has left a big hole in the literary landscape but his words will always live on as long as people enjoy beautiful literature. My house of course would be open to all bloggers, as I couldn’t not share such treasures with you guys.

      Like

       
  5. writersideup

    15/06/2014 at 20:37

    I forgot to comment on your “dream” house—-love it! Although I know me—I’d have them all categorized or alphabetical by author or something so I could find what I’m looking for. My Room of Requirement would be a fully-equipped home office/library/board game-ready room with a picture window overlooking either the ocean or a tree-rimmed lake 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      15/06/2014 at 20:46

      I have always given a great deal of thought to book placement…if I do it in genre, do the books that cross genres form their own genre, should I go by publisher, author name…all have their merits, but I think I would have to place them all haphazardly to make searching more fun, I will find forgotten about books that way and I will feel like someone on a film hunting for a book with a treasure map in it. My imagination is highly active.

      I hadn’t given thought to outside scenery…I like your idea…a board game room…I like that idea as well…perhaps I will add another random room onto my house and borrow your plan.

      Like

       
      • writersideup

        15/06/2014 at 21:12

        Yes, for me it’s about having those type things I love surrounding me and available at every turn 🙂 I would also have to have audio if I want it, but no TV. That would be in a separate room 🙂 It’s nice to dream, isn’t it? 😀

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          17/06/2014 at 14:53

          Dreams keep us going until we win the lottery, although that is perhaps the biggest dream.

          Like

           
          • writersideup

            17/06/2014 at 14:54

            I don’t know if it’s the biggest, BUT—it’s the least likely to come true! lol

            Like

             
  6. gargoylebruce

    15/06/2014 at 23:33

    Happy unbirthday! I have organised a wonderful present for you – a suitably mad hat. You can pick it up at your imaginary dream home. Enjoy!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      17/06/2014 at 14:07

      You are too kind! I will put it on with my imaginary jodphurs and cumerbund!

      Like

       
      • gargoylebruce

        18/06/2014 at 10:37

        I assume you mean OVER your actual clothes, as society generally frowns on people going out in imaginary clothes. As the Emperor found out to his detriment.

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          18/06/2014 at 18:12

          I think that little caveat is why I get the funny, if admiring glances in the street.

          Like

           
          • gargoylebruce

            19/06/2014 at 04:24

            Admiring because they’ve mistaken you for the Emperor. Obviously.

            Like

             
  7. thejerseygal®™

    16/06/2014 at 14:39

    Second-hand book shops are lovely. What I love about them is the same thing I love about museums and old gravestones: tactile history before my eyes and the sense of the past drifting near my soul.
    Your blog is one to cherish!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      17/06/2014 at 14:48

      At least you can take the books home with you, it would be awkward to do that with gravestones! I do like all those places and if I can get some quiet contemplation in any of those places then I am more than happy. History is great, lets go steal some!

      Like

       
      • thejerseygal®™

        17/06/2014 at 15:09

        Yes, I think gravestones would be too heavy and cumbersome to carry, but if you want to help me steal some history, we can each hold an end and hightail it out of an old cemetery!

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          17/06/2014 at 15:13

          I think the museum may be a better place for that, there must be a load of stuff to half inch easily once we bypass all those alarms that are only ever in films.

          Like

           
          • thejerseygal®™

            17/06/2014 at 15:26

            We’ll need disguises. I say you go as a pregnant surgeon and I’ll go as a hobo…certainly as disheveled as can be…nobody would ever know it was us.

            Like

             
  8. dr sweetyshinde

    16/06/2014 at 18:09

    You also talk sense fluently, Ste J!

    Like

     
  9. Sherri

    17/06/2014 at 00:44

    Congratulations on your award Ste J. Catch 22 is one of my all time favourite books too…and I can just imagine you on your ladder in your library now…

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      17/06/2014 at 14:13

      I get the feeling I would be flying around pretending I was the shopkeep from the original Charlie and the Chocolate factory film…but less camp. Catch 22 really is underrated, I would buy it for more people but not many of my friends are big readers…

      Like

       
      • Sherri

        18/06/2014 at 10:46

        Haha…what an image that produces! As for Catch 22, I agree, everybody should read it. In fact, I need to read it again. You will have to make sure that you keep plenty of copies in your library for when your friends do decide to make the leap 😉

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          18/06/2014 at 18:14

          I am one of those people that would rather buy people a copy than let my own out and get it creased and even worse, the spine broken.

          Like

           
          • Sherri

            18/06/2014 at 21:24

            Ah…got it…and I don’t blame you 😉

            Like

             
  10. readinpleasure

    17/06/2014 at 16:20

    I also believe philosophy should be taught in elementary schools. We need lots of good thinkers. There is a bookshop just across the street form my work place, The Book Trust where they sell used books from all over. Funny, but I hardly go there because of the stacks and stacks that I have to burrow through to get what I want. So many thousands of books of all genres; treasure trove actually and at affordable prices too! 🙂

    I got my copies of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and Mrs. Dalloway from there. And many more thrillers and suspense novels that I’m yet to delve into.. 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      17/06/2014 at 19:10

      The Book Trust sounds absolutely moth watering and I would love to spend a good week in there just browsing and making notes for a blog post of course. I encourage you to go in more and I shall live vicariously through you in that way. If we had more thinkers then maybe we could get the world to be more sensible and less volatile.

      Like

       
    • writersideup

      17/06/2014 at 19:42

      Wow, this Trust does sound like a Treasure, but I would be put off for the same reason…having to mill through too many to find something I might want. I’m not one who has that kind of time 😦 And I’d probably react (sensitivities) to the old books, too. Oh, well! I think I’d probably just enjoy walking through it just to be surrounded by them! 😀

      Like

       
    • cricketmuse

      22/06/2014 at 16:37

      While Common Core has its concerns, it does promote critical thinking skills. I have been teaching the curriculum for the past two years to ninth graders and it’s amazing to see their brains open up. We get into some fabulous discussions.

      Like

       
      • Ste J

        22/06/2014 at 19:02

        I hope that the programme gets extended both through age groups and internationally…I hate to be critical of education because teachers are hamstrung with what they can teach…I do aim my ire at the people at the top. If critical thinking is coming back then I wholeheartedly encourage it and all the teachers who encourage children’s thoughts and questioning.

        Like

         
        • cricketmuse

          23/06/2014 at 14:09

          Common Core is basically the equivalent of Advanced Placement teaching strategies of going deeper when exploring a topic. The bad rap CCSS is getting is because the testing is tedious and time consuming. There is a need for adjustments, but overall, there is much that will improve the thinking skills of a generation that relies too much on predigested info at the flick of a thumb. Oh dear, I feel a blog post coming on…

          Like

           
  11. RoSy

    18/06/2014 at 03:19

    Congrats on your award!
    I enjoyed the excitement in your responses.
    I can tell that you enjoy books like you enjoy breathing. 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      18/06/2014 at 18:02

      You know me well my friend…I do enjoy my access to the breathable stuff as well!

      Like

       
  12. LuAnn

    19/06/2014 at 21:52

    I have never enjoyed anyone’s answers to these questions more than I have yours Ste J. I feel very fortunate to have found your blog. 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      20/06/2014 at 16:29

      It took me about a week to write my answers, I agonise when I should just get on with it…I’m glad to have you here and to potter the well worn path between our respective blogs.

      Like

       
      • LuAnn

        21/06/2014 at 00:04

        Nice to have a friend on the other side of the pond. 🙂

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          22/06/2014 at 14:10

          What a coincidence, I had the same thought!

          Like

           
  13. anna amundsen

    21/06/2014 at 19:49

    I must officially thank you for answering these questions – I enjoyed them thoroughly..
    A Pound of Paper and Catch 22 are put on the list.. I find I’m attracted to all sorts of different home libraries and yours is definitely one of them. There is something extraordinarily magical in a house full of haphazard books..
    Second Hand shops – of course!
    I like what you say about nobody having a clue about the World.. It will never be fully grasped.
    Unbirthdays are the best. There’s no birthday like unbirthday!

    I meant houses that are pretty away from each other; as, in other country, other continent.. 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      22/06/2014 at 14:43

      I love recommending books, you are in for a treat with those two. I would have to get a big house just to encourage myself to fill it with more stuff, I think there would be a lot of happy book sellers once I had been around their shops. The disorder is part of the fun I think, putting books down anywhere seeing what they are near, how the two subjects could interlink. It’s like a giant intellectual parlour game all by itself.

      I honestly don’t have a clue about life or anything, I just keep pottering on and hoping that happy accidents push me to nice places, lol. If my houses were all on different continents, then I would have to say…Sea Room by Adam Nicolson was a wonderful book and makes me happy with its nature. I reviewed that on here a few years ago…I think you would love it , lots of nature and history and also a dream come true, to own islands…brilliant and evocative…Yes that’s my pick and recommendation.

      Like

       
      • anna amundsen

        28/06/2014 at 09:25

        Your words about books interlinking by being near each other remind me of Alberto Manguel.. He wrote something similar in Library at Night..
        Sea Room I have never heard of.. It sounds like yet another delicious cup of tea. I’m off to explore and add it to the list!

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          28/06/2014 at 16:38

          I have a bunch of Al’s (as his close mates call him) books on my TBR list, I believe that is thanks to you so it is only fair I share the book love back!

          Like

           
  14. cricketmuse

    22/06/2014 at 16:35

    I should try Catch-22 once again. I tried it in college and didn’t enjoy it, but then I was enrolled in a “Futures” class which involved all types of dystopian novels such as “Brave New World” and “1984”–perhaps I was other-worlded and mega-govermented out by then. Cograts on the award!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      22/06/2014 at 19:05

      Catch 22 you will be relieved to know is not one of the dystopian books but set back in WWII, it’s surreal nature and razor sharp satire is well worth giving it the second chance. I can imagine all thosem grim novels taking there toll on you lol.

      Like

       

Tell me stuff...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: