I was in the mood for a meme, but couldn’t be bothered to look for one (besides, I think I used up most of the existing questions in that gigantic one I compiled a few weeks ago) so I created my own little meme. It felt stupid to write questions and then answer them myself, but hey – desperate times call for desperate measures.

Most hated book by an admired author?

To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf is one of my all-time favourite writers, and I absolutely loved Mrs Dalloway and Between the Acts. This one, however, failed to – well, not impress, because it did impress me. Woolf never fails to impress me.

The prose was just so unbearably dense that I tired of swimming against the current.

I should probably re-read it in another edition – covers and font types/sizes do make a difference. The edition I read was a mouldy old copy from the library, and it made me sneeze every time I opened it. That might have contributed somewhat to my dislike of the book.

Aside from novels, what sort of books do you read the most?

Biographies, without a doubt. I love how they can be an extremely good read, whilst also being educational. That’s not to say fiction isn’t a learning experience, but biographies are just mine fields of information.

I think a lot of people love to read biographies for the same reason that I do. It’s that intrinsic human desire for escapism; the same reason why people watch reality tv and pry into the lives of celebrities. Only I have no interest whatsoever in Big Brother or what Kate Moss wears and how she lives her life, so I read biographies instead.

Any sort of biography will do, but I particularly crave those of artists, writers and royalty. Marie Antoinette: A Journey, by Antonia Fraser, is one of my favourites (mostly because of the glossy images interspersed throughout the book). Oh, and I also love to read the journals and diaries of writers/thinkers, such as Woolf and van Gogh.

That said, I also read a lot of cereal boxes, because my family doesn’t approve of reading at the breakfast table.

If you could award the Best of the Booker, it would go to:

A S Byatt, for Possession

Clearly, I am not entitled to an opinion on this, since I haven’t read the full list of winners,  but from the ones I’ve read Possession is the most Booker-worthy.

I think in some years, the prize is nominated or awarded for one thing, whether it be for a dazzling debut (‘The God of Small Things’) or for continual hard work (Rushdie and McEwan make regular appearances on the longlist).

In other words, it isn’t always because the work itself is outstanding. Possession, on the other hand, is flawless in every regard – structure, language, themes, characters, plot.

Much like desserts, some books can feel like a guilty pleasure. Name one of your dessert books.

Harry Potter. It’s not so much a guilty pleasure because I’m ashamed of liking it; more because I re-read it so many times that it detracts from [very valuable] reading time.

Also, books should be well-written above all else, and although J K Rowling is fab at telling stories, her dubious use of punctuation leaves a lot to be desired.

The plot unravels jerkily at times, and the relationships are particularly jarring. Harry and Ginny? No. Ron and Hermione? Yeah, I suppose so. They fought enough over the first few books to earn a relationship.

Speaking of dessert though, I always enjoy reading Rowling’s descriptions of the food the characters eat – particularly the Hogwarts feasts :)

Finally, cheesecake or cream cake or chocolate mudcake?

For me, it’s gotta be cheesecake – New York cheesecake, lemon cheesecake, even green-tea cheesecake. I actually can’t stand chocolate cakes; they’re far too sweet.

If you decide to do this meme, please link back to tuesday in silhouette :)


12 thoughts on “Memelet

  1. I have to say, I’d have to disagree on you with To The Light House, I loved the book, far more than Mrs. Dalloway.

    I do agree on Harry Potter being a guilty pleasure… there is something about the books, that just make you want to read over and over again.

  2. Jules – well, book tastes/opinions are undeniably subjective and I suppose it depends on the person. To be fair, I found Mrs Dalloway equally dense at first, but I fell in love with the characters (also, it was my first Woolf – the first of anything always has a certain magical feel to it). I found the characters in Lighthouse rather tedious.

    Chain Reader – especially Butterbeer! I’ve always wanted to try that stuff

  3. For me it’s Woolf’s ‘The Waves’–turgid, self-congratulatory wank.

    I must admit I’ve never read any Harry Potter. I worked in a bookshop for a number of years, during the hype around books 4-6, and was so sick of the sight of them, of the endless customer demands for “when is the new one coming out?”, and of people saying they were the best thing ever, that I could never bring myself to read them.

  4. Hahah, that piece of turgid self-congratulatory wank is currently on my TBR list; I’ll soon find out if I agree with your very flattering analysis of it.

    As for Harry Potter, I agree that it’s overrated, but impartiality was never my thing. I have a little blind spot as far as HP is concerned :)

  5. I am smiling about your comment re: book covers and font type as a way of influencing our feelings about a book~I’m afraid I’m prone to the same type of superficial emotionalism :) I’ve actually continued reading a book I really didn’t like simply because it was so esthetically pleasing.

    Pathetic, aren’t I?

  6. Ravenous Reader – I think all readers must be prone to some sort of superficiality concerning their books! I for one refuse to purchase a book if the cover doesn’t suit my tastes :)

  7. To the Lighthouse is not my favorite Woolf either. Let me gather my thoughts and I’ll post my full answer to this thought-provoking and fun meme!

    Right off the bat I’ll go for chocolate mud cake! I love everything chocolate. Not a fan of cheese.

  8. Matthew – what?! Not a fan of cheesecake?! Oh well. It’s good not to share food tastes with other people anyway, because then you get more of what you want!

  9. I happened to read a book by Antonia Fraser by chance, a few years back. It’s ‘The Weaker Vessel’ and I really loved it.

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