Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When In Doubt, Steal An Idea

The Curious Reader: Grad? Oh, Grad? You really need to come up with something to write about. I am growing very tired of languishing. You need to go someplace or do something...bore, bore, bore.

Grad: Oh, God, it's you again. I'm afraid you are growing into a pest of heavy-duty proportions. I have created a monster who is always pulling at my sleeve.

The Curious Reader: Ahh! Shall I call you Mary Shelley, then?

Grad: Your attempt at humor, is it?

The Curious Reader: Not too subtle?

Grad: Decidedly not. If I borrow a meme from other bloggers, will you please be still for a few days while I get some work accomplished? My banker, my bartender and my bookie will appreciate it.

The Curious Reader: You have a bookie?

Grad: (Groan) Never mind.

Books I Haven't Read: (A Purloined Idea from Bookman)

1) The Bible. I haven't read the Bible. The only portions I've read are the Gospels and Epistles used as readings at Mass. I have an old Bible History text book that was my sister's, but I haven't read that either. Very odd since all the schools I went to, including the one in Ireland, were Catholic institutions.

2) Not The Secret Garden nor Alice Through the Looking Glass nor any of Anne of Green Gables. What was I reading in those callow days? Most likely detective stories.

3) I read Twilight and liked it, but my interest sputtered out half-way through the second book. What was the title? Eclipse? New Moon? I can't even recall that; I gave it away to someone. Everyone else is wild about the series so I'm sure the problem is with me.

4) Anything by Willa Cather. I can hardly believe it, but it's true.

5) Aesop. I had a copy of Aesop's Fables which my eldest son read and re-read as a child. He knew all the stories and characters and loved to tell me about them. I am familiar with many of the tales but only through his eyes and his retelling.

6) Alexandre Dumas. No Three Musketeers, no Count of Monte Cristo. But I am determined to right that wrong.

7) The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery. This is shocking to me. I read every night to my children, but alas, I did not introduce it to them. I do have a grandson, so there is redemption for me I trust.

8) The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Laroux. I did see the play at Albert Hall in London, however. It was the most magnificent thing I've ever seen on-stage. Actually more thrilling than any movie I've seen as well.

9) D. H. Lawrence. I tried, honestly I did.

10) Number 10 I have reserved for something I did read, but really shouldn't have. I think I felt I had to prove something to myself. Or maybe I got drunk one night and began to read it on a dare. I read it while a student in Ireland so that could have had something to do with my folly. In any event, I wish I could get back the time spent reading the damn thing. I could have spent that time reading one of the above more worthwhile works, or getting a manicure, or learning to dance the Macarena. So here it is...the most boring book of all time (including The Story of Cutlery) (drum roll, please)...Ulysses. I think James Joyce figured the publisher was going to charge him for every period he used. Go ahead and read it if you insist, but it should come with a warning label so you know what you're getting into. Why it is a classic I couldn't say. Someone with a lot of letters after his name probably labeled it brilliant, and that is all it took. Personally, I wonder whether Joyce wasn't smoking something funny when he wrote it.


  1. Ah, Grad, or should I call you Mary? You make me laugh. I've not read any of the Twilight books nor have I any desire to do so. You don't have to feel bad about those books. The Little Prince on the other hand, and the Alice books and Willa Cather, you should definitely feel bad about those! ;) I was going to add the Bible too but I think there are so many people who haven't actually read it or have only read it selectively that there is no need to feel guilty about it. Though the King James edition is full of gorgeous poetry and fantastic inconsistencies. We used it as the text in my Bible as lit class in college. That was an interesting class.

  2. Stefanie, I am determined to read The Little Prince right after The Master (which is right after Something Rotten and First Among Sequels). Then Alice Through the Looking Glass and then something by Cather. Hopefully I'll get to all of the above by the end of the year. Wish I could take two weeks off and do nothing but read. There's still time, I keep telling myself. Maybe next month.

  3. I'm laughing because I tried Lawrence too: I really did.

    But Alice would cheer you up!

  4. You are hilarious.

    What a good meme!

  5. Shelley, I often think I should go back an try to read authors I couldn't get through when I was a person of more tender years. Unfortunately, although one may develop more sophistication as the years progress one has less patience.

    Di, I doubt a gig on Saturday Night Live is in my future...but thanks!

  6. I've never been a huge fan of Le Petit Prince--too precious. And I'm with you on Ulysses and D.H. Lawrence.

    But I DEFINITELY urge you to read a little Willa Cather--I'd say start with O Pioneers! It's a deeply beautiful, moving book.

  7. Tinky, I really will read Cather and I'll start with O Pioneers! I don't know what has kept me away from Cather...maybe the prarie themes I assumed were in her writing. But she has such a large fan base I knew I was probably missing something.

  8. Le Petit Prince amuses me -- it was one of the first books I read by myself, and since nobody had informed me it was supposed to be sooo poetic, I just thought it was stupid... And didn't figure out it was "classic" of sort for 10 years after that!
    I think you'd love Dumas, though. And it would fit so well in a Fforde state of mind...

  9. Your list made me laugh! And the list of books you've read but feel bad about: that's a great idea. My blog monster will borrow it, I'm sure.

  10. Charlotte, The Little Prince seems to be one of those books you either love or...well, not so much. And there are a lot of "masterpieces" of literature we are supposed to be enthralled by, but when I read them I feel...meh...so I know how you feel.

    Smithereens, I hadn't thought of it but "books I know and hate" would be a funny meme, don't you think? I'll have to check in with you to see your list.

  11. Great post!! As usual, I found myself giggling and chuckling to myself as I read along (good thing I work from home and have only the cats to wonder about the strange guffaws!)

    And I couldn't agree more about Ulysses. Ugh. I have to admit that I did rather enjoy the Twilight books (yes, sadly, all of them), but am rather embarrassed to say so.

    I've not read any Dumas either. My sister and my husband have been trying to persuade me to correct this oversight, however, since they both love him.

    Oh, and I must put in a good word for Anne of Green Gables . . . I still love that novel!

  12. Inkslinger, you should not be embarrassed to say you enjoyed the Twilight series. That's what is so great about reading...there's something out there for everyone. I didn't like the second one because there wasn't enough of the Edward/Bella interaction, not because I didn't think it was well-written. But I did like the first one. I am definitely going to read some Dumas this year. Just don't know where to begin.

  13. This IS a great meme, and it's not stealing, it's homage. :-) I haven't read Willa Cather, although I really want to, nor the bible (I might leave that to the theologians) nor any of the children's books you mention (I was definitely chowing down Agatha Christie at that point). This meme entertains me because I have so far agreed with pretty much everyone's posts - which makes me wonder what I HAVE read...?