Book meme

What’s a meme? Frankly, despite the fact that I see this word all over the place constantly, I didn’t know what the heck this was until recently.  According to Merriam Webster, a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” While the French major in me wants to pronounce it so that it rhymes with gem, the dictionary also tells me that it really rhymes with theme.  These days a meme often refers to surveys or ideas that get replicated in blogs, sent through email, or posted on social networking sites like myspace or facebook.  Thanks to Karen over at the CLP Teensburgh Blog for passing this one on!

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews? Honestly?   

There isn’t much that I purposely won’t read, and sadly I have to admit that sometimes the worse it looks, the more I like it.  (Chick lit about vampires?  I’m so there.) However, there are a few “must read” books that I still haven’t quite gotten around to reading.  Moby Dick is one, despite the fact that everyone I know tells me how wonderful it is.  And anything by Dickens; somehow I’ve managed to never read anything he’s written.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

I’m a low key girl, so the event would likely be some beers at a local establishment.  Preferably someplace with a good jukebox- the real kind, not the Internet kind.  I would definitely invite Holden Caulfield and Sheila Levine, but the third choice is tricky!  I know there are a million people, but off the top of my head no one comes to mind.  Maybe Rachel Owlglass from V.?  She seems interesting. Despite the slight social awkardness that would permeate the atmosphere, and the fact that good old Holden is a minor, they’re all snarky and independant and funny, and I think would be fine drinking companions. 

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet.  While this immortality is great for a while, eventually you realize it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

I’ve never been able to get very far into The Grapes of Wrath before it started to bore me to tears.  Maybe it’s time I gave it another go though, since some of Steinbeck’s books–like Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday–are among my favorite books, ever.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

I don’t think I’ve ever actually come right out and said that I’ve read it, but I’ve never even read the back cover of The DaVinci Code. Or anything by Dan Brown, despite the fact that I’ve had many conversations with people talking about how much they love/hate Dan Brown,  while I’ve nodded sagely like I know what they mean. 

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realize when you read a review about it/to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?

 I can’t think of anything!  This happens to me with movies all the time, but books, not so much. 

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (If you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalize the VIP).

This would be a dream job.  Someone who just wants my book suggestions, ALL THE TIME?!? I can’t think of anthing better, except for being a librarian, which lets me give book suggestions at least some of the time. Since I think that 100 Years of Solitude is pretty much the best book, ever, I might have to make that my first recommendation.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

This is a tough one, so I’ll be greedy and go for two languages (hopefully this doesn’t spoil the deal with the good fairy).  Japanese, because I suspect that there are a lot of poems that lose something in the translation to English. And Spanish, because lately I’ve been pretty immersed in South American authors (Julio Cortazar, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Amado) and again, I always wonder what’s been lost in translation.

A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

I reread books constantly.  One book that consistently amazes me with its greatness is Madame Bovary. I’ve read it about a hundred times, and like it more with each reading. The language is rich and beautiful, and the story is dramatic without ever feeling heavy.

Happy meme-ing!




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3 responses to “Book meme

  1. mozey

    Recently however, a special kind of internet memes have developed. THy are somewhat automated, AND STILL ENJOYABLE TO MANY, none the less is automated.

    The “look for something that looks like a mouth eating and write om num num” on it is TOOOO over killed. Yet, i do still get a chuckle anytime i see it!.

    Tools like and have made it easy for many people to upload thier images and have a go at it!.

  2. RK (Maddog)

    I can only agree with Irene about 50% of the time. I’m one of those who’s adored Moby Dick and most of Melville’s other works since junior High school days. I probably try and re-read Moby every 3 years or so. Maybe it’s 70% enjoyment and 30% making sure I can still take the torment handed down to an 8th or 9th grader.

    My first successful effort at an adult book (besides reading all the Hardy Boys when I was sick) was a 1930s edition of Studs Lonigan (the full trilogy) by James T. Farrell. I must have been 13 or 14 when I read it. God knows how much of it I really didn’t understand but thought I did.

    Like Irene and Melville though, I’ve assiduously avoided Dickens, Hawthorne and with special malice – Thomas Hardy. Between 8th grade and my 2nd year of university I deftly avoided all 4 assignments to read the Scarlett Letter, though I did complete one homework assignment by taking an Annie Hall like peasant dress we had and sewing the appropriately colored “A” onto it and claiming some kind of bizarre historical connection as to how it came into my families possession as a proto-hasidic heirloom.

    When talking about classic literature, I’m a firm believer that deviation from the norm is a good thing.

  3. Lisa

    Thanks for explaining what a meme is. The pronunciation was helpful since I always read it as two words: me me. These newfangled internet ideas are getting crazier everyday. Additionally, I agree with your choice of Holden Caulfield as a drinking partner.

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