It's so nice today to not have any deadlines pressing down on me. The last fortnight was a blur of deadlines, which I (mostly) met, as well as picking up heaps of extra shifts at the cafe and finally sorting out what was wrong with my knee.
Today I had physio for the offending joint, and I helped out the Spice Magazine team with a bit of last minute proofing, but beyond that the only things I have to do this week are work at the cafe and... nothing. I've got more deadlines coming up soon, but I'm not starting anything until next week. I am going to do the exercise the physio wants me to, as well as knit, and read, and be a lazy damn slob.
In the spirit of said enjoyable endeavours, here's a book meme courtesy of Susoz.
1. One book you have read more than once
I've read lots of books more than once, so it's hard to narrow it down to one, because if I enjoy a novel once I especially enjoy re-reading it. However, Pride and Prejudice is one book that I can return to again and again -- everytime I read it I find something new to enjoy.
2. One book you would want on a desert island
Only one? It'd better be a thick one then, and possibly something very worthy and consuming. Or perhaps one with wide margins so one could sketch notes in it, like 'today ate coconuts again' and 'that f***ing parrot is REALLY GETTING ON MY NERVES' and 'today ate parrot and coconut soup'.
How about the complete works of Shakespeare? Laff all you want at my predictability but I have actually got a CWOS on my shelves, so I'm not just plucking that out of my behind. Otherwise I guess I'd like a handbook on how to survive on a desert island, or maybe even the bible, which is quite the read, or so I've heard.
My favourite Shakespearian play, as an aside, is The Tempest, because it is a bit of an oddity -- not quite romance, not quite tragedy, but lyrical, beautiful and haunting.
3. One book that made you laugh
Anything by Terry Pratchett perhaps? I should pick my favourite Pterry, which would be Monstrous Regiment. Hilarious and also deeply serious. Honorable mention must go to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel by Susannah Clarke, which was also quite serious, but very amusing.
4. One book that made you cry
I get teary at the drop of a hat, so again it's hard to narrow this down. I even cried at the end of Terminator 2 when Ahhnuld gets burnt to a crisp. True story.
Recently I read Possession by A.S. Byatt and I cried at the circumstances that separated Christabel and Ash, especially the dead child, and the terrible scene with the clairvoyant.
5. One book you wish you had written
As someone with a bit of an itch to be a writer, perhaps one day I actually will write the book I wish to write. So I suppose this question is more about a book that makes you ache with loving it so much, a book that you truly admire, a book you can lose or find yourself within.
For me, that book is Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje. It is a family history and the history of a country and the portrait of a man, and it has gorgeous poetry and incredible moments of clarity and beauty and humour and pathos and the whole human condition, really. The way Sri Lanka is described, affectionately and nostalgically, makes me want to buy a ticket and go there now -- only I also know that it wouldn't be like the book, and I'd be so disappointed. My copy of this book is all scuffed and dogeared from repeated readings and lendings.
6. One book you wish had never been written
The Da Vinci Code? Any number of shitty sci-fi and fantasy novels, which seem to choke out the good and thoughtful sci-fi and fantasy? The Paris Hilton biography? A book I read a while ago which I felt really angry at was Vernon God Little. Just awful. A waste of several good hours of my life.
7. One book you are currently reading
This is a bit embarressing, but I'm going to be truthful, and say I am currently reading Feeling Good by David Burns (MD!). I'm not really a self-help book type of person -- I tend to think literature itself is quite improving -- but as I've alluded to here I've been struggling a little bit with my moods, and this book was recommended to me as being helpful.
It is based around Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (with a slightly cheesy American accent). The basic premise of it all is that your thoughts dictate your moods, and if you can correct distorted thinking you can relieve the symptoms of depression. I was a tad embarrassed when I bought it, because I'd normally never be caught dead buying something from the same section as 'Who Moved My Seven Habits of Highly Successful Lateral Thinkers' but I do think it has some useful points and exercises.
8. One book you have been meaning to read
The pile of books I am meaning to read is just getting higher and higher. I recently bought In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, so I suppose that's the most recent one. I've also got The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami Haruki by the bed, and beside the couch is The White Earth by Andrew McGahan, Eucalyptus by Murray Bail, and The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. I think there are more scattered about the house too but I can't remember them all. I know it's more than one.
Probably Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. It's such a powerful story about human relationships, good and evil, moral and cultural relativism, and so on. And really very well written too, with a strong feminist slant but not dictatorial. The little postcript at the end is so very Atwood too, undermining the story and reminding us that not all narrators are reliable and that history, and culture, are very good at distancing us from human suffering.
10. Now tag five people:
Duckie, who is always good for a meme.
Tigtog, whose answers I am very interested to read.
Thirdcat, who has recently changed the name of her blog.
Elsewhere, who is travelling to far-flung and exotic locales and so might be thinking about reading, as we all do when we travel.
And Cristy, who tagged me with a meme ages ago that I'd already done, so this meme can be in lieu of that one.
Edited to add: Tigtog has done the meme so I'm going to tag... oh, anyone who'd like to do it, really.