Books and literature Q&A

I stole this from Caitlin.

1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of your favorite book cover.
3. Answer the questions below.
4. Tag a few people to pass the Q&A on to.

My favorite book cover:

The cover of When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris is a painting by Vincent van Gogh called “Skull of a Skeleton With a Burning Cigarette.” I’ve seen the painting face-to-face in the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, which is also where I bought this book and read it for the first of many times.

What are you reading right now?
The World Classic’s Complete Shorter Fiction of Oscar Wilde

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I plan to read Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore, but it’s hard to say until I actually finish this book and pick up the next one.

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got around to? 
1. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
3. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
4. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
5. Beloved by Toni Morrison

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
We don’t have a magazine rack in our bathroom which is something that should probably change. The only magazines we ever have laying around though are mental_floss and food magazines.

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
I remember really hating A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway when I read it in high school. Also The Scarlet Letter was one of the worst.

What book seems really popular but you actually hated? 
I tried to read Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler but couldn’t get past the first chapter. Everyone says it’s so good but right off I could see it was way more fictionalized than I would expect an autobiographical story collection to be, which made it not as funny to me. I can’t remember what it was but there was something in the first section I read that just really turned me off so I gave up and doubt I’ll ever try again.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone? 
The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I really think it’s a book that everyone should read.

What are your 3 favorite poems? 
1. “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg
2. “somewhere i have never travelled” by e.e. cummings
3. “The Laughing Heart” by Charles Bukowski (thanks to Trey)

Where do you usually get your books?
Half Price Books — I’m obsessed. I pretty much only buy used books, so I get most of mine from HPB or thrift stores. If there’s something I really need that I can’t find at HPB I’ll buy from Amazon, but I still try to get it used if possible.

Where do you usually read your books?
I usually read in the cafe at work during my lunch break, and also on our balcony and in bed.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits? 
Um, yes — I read CONSTANTLY when I was little, especially in grade school. I would read on the bus on the way to and from school, and I remember even reading on the playground. I was the girl who ALWAYS had a book — I could walk and read at the same time, and I used to get in trouble for bringing my book to the dinner table. Yeah. Nerd alert.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
It’s been a long time since I stayed up half the night reading a book — these days I like sleep a little more than I like reading, but I did have a hard time putting down The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Have you ever “faked” reading a book? 
Haha…Light In August by William Faulkner. I think I read about two chapters and then Trey and I SparkNoted the shit out of the rest of it for our quizzes and test. I’ve written a lot of papers about books that I didn’t read all the way through, too, which makes me a terrible English major, but whatever.

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
I’m sure I have before, but I can’t remember any specifically. I’ve definitely gotten books at the library based on the cover but I’ve usually been unimpressed so I don’t really do that anymore.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I was obsessed with Goosebumps and Animorphs as a kid, and the Scary Stories books by Alvin Schwartz have been my favorites ever since I was in like second grade. I know, I’m weird.

What book changed your life? 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky definitely changed my life because I think it helped me be a little more accepting of the chaos of being young, and also made me feel connected to the world around me in a way I never had before. Also, The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How To Reconcile Them by Owen Flanagan — this book is the closest thing I have to a Bible.

What is your favorite passage from a book?
Most of my favorite passages are from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. There are a lot, but this is one of the best:

There is a feeling that I had Friday night after the homecoming game that I don’t know if I will ever be able to describe except to say that it is warm. Sam and Patrick drove me to the party that night, and I sat in the middle of Sam’s pickup truck. Sam loves her pickup truck because I think it reminds her of her dad. The feeling I had happened when Sam told Patrick to find a station on the radio. And he kept getting commercials. And commercials. And a really bad song about love that had the word “baby” in it. And then more commercials. And finally he found this really amazing song about this boy, and we all got quiet.
Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.
“I feel infinite.”
And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was that great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and we felt young in a good way. I have since bought the record, and I would tell you what it was, but truthfully, it’s not the same unless you’re driving to your first real party, and you’re sitting in the middle seat of a pickup with two nice people when it starts to rain.

Who are your top five favorite authors?
In no particular order:
1. Kurt Vonnegut
2. David Sedaris
3. Bret Easton Ellis
4. Chuck Klosterman
5. Oscar Wilde

What book has no one heard about but should read? 
Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson. You can read more about it here.

What are your favorite books by a first-time author? 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I can’t think of any others…

What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for? 
The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Road, and Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. Everyone needs to read them.

What is your favorite classic book? 
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I tag…
SteinerAllisonTimNovaLorraineMaryTrey, Erin


8 thoughts on “Books and literature Q&A

  1. I love Perks of Being A Wallflower. I need to get another copy mine was stolen. Hairstyles of the Damned is another good one along the same lines as Perks. You might want to check it out. :)

    • I’m actually on my third copy of Perks – my best friend from high school borrowed and lost my original copy (she bought me a new one) and then I loaned my new copy to a friend from college who dropped out and took the book with her. I’m adding Hairstyles of the Damned to my list.

  2. I liked this. You should read “A Visit From The Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan. It’s the #1 book I’m evangelizing at the moment. Also, do you use Super cheap, free shipping!

  3. That is me! I am tagged! :)

    I will work on this over the weekend. I’ve never read Perks, but the quote and passage are great. Another one to add to the list!

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