27 October 2009

Stories that Stick

Books. I surround myself with books. There are books in every room in the house, save the bathrooms, because I think reading on the toilet is wrong. There's a pile next to the bed that'll hurt if it falls over, there's always a book in my bag, and my Amazon wish list (which is more like an aide-mémoire) is longer than my arm. I compulsively catalog books read via Good Reads because I like making lists, and I like spending time on my couch dipping into long ago read books as though meeting old friends.

Some number of times in my recent wanderings in cyberspace, I've come across the meme that Sweet/Salty Kate started in connection with the imminent release of her pirate book, The Dread Crew. Reading these posts is kind of exhilarating, and daunting. Huh, I never read that, it sounds great. And, yes, I loved that book. But, no way, that's a terrible piece of dreck.

So you know I had to do the meme:

1) You are facing an epic journey. You may choose one companion, one tool and one vehicle from any book or film to accompany you. Or just one of the three. It's up to you. What do you choose?

As companion, I'd take Stephen Maturin (from the Patrick O'Brian books), because he's smart and sensitive, and a spy and a doctor, and he plays the cello in his spare time. As tool, I'd take the alethiometer from The Golden Compass - after all, it tells the truth. The vehicle would have to be one of James Bond's cars as breathed upon by Q.

2) You can escape to the insides of any book. Where do you go, and why?

To the estate of Malplaquet, in Mistress Masham's Repose. The heroine is an orphan, doing battle with her evil governess and a dastardly cleric, with the help of the kindly cook and a distracted professor. There are Lilliputians! And maps for endpapers! It's magic.

3) You can bring one literary character into your current life. Who do you choose, and why?

Lord Peter Wimsey would be fun to hang out with. He's smart and rich and cultivated, and he drives a fine car.

4) The 27th Kingdom is my go-to book. I could read that book fifty-seven times in a row without a break for food or a pee and not be remotely bored. In fact I’ve already done that but it wasn’t fifty-seven times. It was sixty-four.

5) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most enviable?

I wanted to be Claudia, in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. She runs away, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then solves a mystery.

6) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most frightening?

I read The Crying of Lot 49 when I was 16, and it terrified me. And I can't remember why. I sort of want to re-read it and see if it's still terrifying, and I sort of want to let sleeping dogs lie.

7) Every time I read A Room With A View, I see something in it that I haven’t seen before.

8) It is imperative that The Dread Crew be made into a movie. Now. I am already picketing Hollywood for this—but if they cast Hugh Grant as Johnnie Golden, I will not be happy. I will, however, be appeased if they cast Peter Stormare.

9) A Suitable Boy is a book that should never be made (or should have never been made) into a film.

10) After all these years, the gynecological instruments scene in the book/movie Dead Ringers still manages to give me the queebs.

11) After all these years, the wedding scene in the book/movie The Philadelphia Story still manages to give me a thrill.

12) If I could corner the author Charles Palliser, here’s what I’d say to him in one minute or less about their book, The Quincunx: But what about Johnnie's inheritance?

13) The coolest non-fiction book I’ve ever read is Water in the lake. Every time I flip through it, it makes me want to put a book in the freezer and add mindful whimsy to my life.

Here's hoping that Kate's book is a story that sticks!


S said...



Me, too.

If I could have crawled into that book, I would have.

And A Room With A View? Yes.

ree said...

This is such a difficult meme. You did great. ;-)

mayberry said...

Great answers. And thank you for the reminder to get Mixed-Up Files for my daughter. I have to keep fighting the good fight against these (*&(*$# Rainbow Fairies.

1A said...

I'm not worthy.

abby said...

Ditto what Becky said.

Very Mary said...

OH! I do so love Claudia. Baloney. Bologna.

Debbie said...

This is a great meme! As another avid reader, I loved learning your answers.

YourFireAnt said...

OK, now I'm going to have to get 27th Kingdom. And put it at the top of the "Read immediately" pile.


The Library Lady said...

I am listening to one of the Peter Wimsey books in the car right now--I also have all the BBC radio plays they did of the books. Though if I needed a companion, I might opt for Bunter instead!

And I must confess that I have read in the bathroom all my life and since having kids have probably done it even more--the one place where I am (usually)guaranteed a bit of peace and quiet!

MARY G said...

I want Peter; you can ride in the back with Bunter and the port.
Love the meme and your take on it. Totally impressed. Even though I also live in a fortress of old bookish companions.

Gwen said...

It's fun to read everyone's meme's and learn about a million books I've never read.

But Claudia? Damn, she drove me crazy!

Carol said...

Gotta love that alethiometer.

Did you know that Philip Pullman's daemon is a magpie? Random factoid of the day!

MIT Mommy said...

Ditto on all the piles of books, but it seems you actually read a lot more of them than I manage! Thanks for stopping by.

Aspen Real Life said...

Got your message on Twitter.

I too love books, if only I had more hours in my day.

Currently I am reading The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer, and I cannot put it down, only I have to to tend to my 3 boys.

Thank you for supplying me with such a tremendous reading list!!!

Onepot @ onepot.wordpress.com said...

You like Sweet/Salty AND books everywhere except in the bathroom? You obsessively update your GoodReads lists? ...Are you me?!

sweetsalty kate said...

Mindful whimsy... oh how I love that. So many fantastic answers - so much to look up. And a double, triple yes to Dead Ringers. Yeuucch.

sweetsalty kate said...

Oh, yes, the movie casting! I saw it, got such a kick out of it, then came back to comment and (makes whistling sound, points circles at own head)... I'd forgotten that was you.

Peter Stormare... now there's a mug I could handle. The only tricky thing is that Johnnie Golden is black. BUT. Peter Stormare... he could be... oh he can be whomever he likes. Yes. Yes! :)