Sunday, June 5, 2011

30 Days, 30 Books: For Bibliophiles

Yet another 30 Days, 30 ____s meme. However, the Facebook 30 Books Challenge, frankly, sucks, so I’ve made up my own list for people who actually read books.

1. Your Favorite Book
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. First time I read it, I couldn't put it down. Fourth time, I was still captivated.

2. Your Least Favorite Book
Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Not only is it radically Christian fundamentalist, it's also the most poorly written book I've ever read, and that includes The Da Vinci Code.

3. A Book by Your Favorite Author
I'm a big fan of the "urban poetics" of Raymond Chandler, author of such works as The Big Sleep.

4. A Book by Your Least Favorite Author
Hm, hard to pick a least favorite author. However, I can honestly say that, after reading The Turn of the Screw, I will probably never read Henry James of my own free will.

5. Your Favorite Collection of Short Stories
The Acid House by Irvine Welsh. I would have said Trainspotting, but technically that's a novel.

6. Your Favorite Novella
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison. Even though it doesn't have Brad Pitt riding around shirtless, it's still a much better book than movie.

7. Your Favorite Work of Literary Fiction
Obviously, my choice for favorite book counts as "literary fiction," but, since I don't want to repeat choices, I'll be pretentious and say A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.

8. Your Favorite Humorous or Satiric Book
Another tough choice as many of the books I read have their humorous sides. But, right now, I'd have to say The Code of the Woosters, by P. G. Wodehouse, since it's the highlight of the Jeeves series.

9. Your Favorite Action/Adventure Novel
Not a big reader of this genre, so I'm going to have to go with Kim by Rudyard Kippling, since it's a spy novel. Ok, well, it has a spy subplot, anyway.

10. Your Favorite Romance or Chick Lit
Not a big fan of this genre, either, so I guess I'll grudgingly admit that Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre could be read as a romance. If you ignore all the great gothic stuff going on.

11. Your Favorite Gothic or Horror Novel
Dracula by Bram Stoker. It is probably the most often referenced book in everything I've written, after all.

12. Your Favorite Children's Book
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. When I was eleven it got me interested in learning about the Holocaust.

13. Your Favorite Work of Historical Fiction
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, because the worst of times are as captivating a read as the best of times.

14. Your Favorite Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. What book lover could resist a world in which the characters of their favorite books could literally come to life?

15. Your Favorite Mystery or Thriller
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, which isn’t all that different from the movie. But it’s all about the mood it creates. Read it and you can feel the San Francisco fog on your skin.

16. Your Favorite Nonfiction Book (Literary)
Minor Characters, Joyce Johnson's memoir about being a woman in the beat movement.

17. Your Favorite Nonfiction Book (Other)
Fires Were Started edited by Lester D. Friedman, which is a great collection of essays about the impact of Thatcherism on British cinema. And… why have you all suddenly fallen asleep?

18. Your Favorite Collection of Poetry
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Sure, there’s a lot of great grown-up poetry out there, but I remember ever single poem in this book filled with whimsical characters like Captain Hook, Hungry Mungry, and Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout Who Would Not Take the Garbage Out.

19. Your Favorite Play That You Have Read
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Funniest. Play. Ever. Just ask Mr. Bunburry.

20. Your Favorite Graphic Novel or Comic Book
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen written by Alan Moore. Much, much better than the movie. Love the Victorian in-jokes.

21. Your Favorite Anthology
The Beat Reader edited by Anne Charters. It's a good sampler of one of my favorite literary movements.

22. Your Favorite Series
The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. I haven't been a book-accurate, not-slutty Hermione Granger for Halloween twice for nothing.

23. A Book Featuring Your Favorite Male Character
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I don't think I need to explain this one, do I? (Hint: It's not Mr. Collins.)

24. A Book Featuring Your Favorite Female Character
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth, which features the most overbearing mother in American literature—according to the highly unreliable narrator, at least. But, since she’s not our mother, it’s really quite funny—in a twisted way.

25. Your Guilty Pleasure Read
Any of the Doctor Who spin-off books, really, but the guiltiest of all guilty pleasures of these would be Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Paul Magrs, in which poodles attempt to take over the universe by rewriting The Lord of the Rings. Yes, it is that good.

26. A Book You Keep Meaning to Read/Finish but Haven't Gotten Around To
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. The first time I started it I was 12, and I've gotten no further than about half-way through Return of the King before I stopped.

27. The Most Obscure Book You Have Ever Read
The Jew Detective, a dime novel by Col. Prentiss Ingraham. Thank you, Dr. Roth.

28. The Book You Have Read Most Often
Aristotle's Poetics--Five times. A hazard of my profession.

29. The Book of Which You Own the Most Copies
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka wins with three copies. One in a collected works, one Norton Critical Edition, and one copy in German, even though I can't read it.

30. The Latest Book You Have Read/Are Reading Now
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I was given a copy of the script a few years ago but never read it. After I was unable to put The Graveyard Book down, I decided to give the novelization a try.

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