Anna 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.