August 22, 2007

"A New Pleasure! A New Pleasure! "****

Yes, it's another literary meme, this one courtesy of Dan the Silver Fox:

What are you reading right now?

Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne - Hi-larious mid-18th Century cock n' bull story, but my edition has endnotes instead of footnotes, making for much tedious flipping back and forth.

The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian - I distinctly remember that the first time I read this book was during a convention in Las Vegas in 1993. I'm now maybe on reading number eight. Got a problem with that?

Our Culture, What's Left of It by Theodore Dalrymple - Just to cheer myself up.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis - The nine year old's bedtime story. We're reading the series backwards this time. Don't ask why.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?


What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?

Down East and The Washingtonian. Also a collection of alumni mags from our various schools.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?

Beyond a doubt it was Henry David Fargin' Thoreau's Walden. Nothing so boring and at the same time enraging as (to borrow Peej O'Rorke's description of Thoreau) a sanctimonious beatnik.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?

Nobody ever asks me for book recommendations because all my friends and family think I'm cranky and obscure. Go figure.

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?

I admit nothing of the sort. In fact, I'm not strictly sure where the local library is. I buy all my books in part because I'm a pawn of the Consumer Society and in part because I believe trees deserve to die.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?

I love Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, but it always seems to produce glassy stares when I describe it to people. Also, I'm immensely fond of Robert Graves' historical fiction, of which nobody else seems to have heard, barring I, Claudius, and even there they don't realize that it was only the first of a two-part set (the other being Claudius The God).

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?

Yes. Yes. No. No. No. No. No. However, I've been known to think about books in just about all of the latter settings.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?

When I was a kid I got teased about practically everything. My reading habits were simply one more arrow in the quiver of my enemies.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?

I seem to have reached the station in life where I simply can't stay up all hours reading, no matter how much I enjoy the book. The Missus, on the other hand, finished up the latest Harry Potter at about 4:00 one recent morning.

Tag! You're it!

**** Spot the quote. Extra credit for identifying the person(s) who said it; what he, she, it or they were describing; and what part that thing played in the story.

Posted by Robert at August 22, 2007 12:15 PM | TrackBack

Claudius the God is one of my favorites -- the stronger of the two, in my opinion. How he undoes the madness of Caligula, secures the harbor of Ostia, and conquers Britain is one of the great management books of all time.

But he sure has a blind spot when it comes to his wife. Surely he should have seen that coming.

Posted by: The Colossus at August 22, 2007 06:04 PM

I like the line just after it,
"Yes. I much prefer it here. So much less reputable, so much more fraught."

I need to leave that comment on a blog or two...

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at August 22, 2007 07:22 PM

Read Tristram Shandy in college. I would have placed it in the "What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?" entry, although I admit Walden is at least as good a choice.

Posted by: ChrisN at August 22, 2007 09:21 PM

Hey Robbo!
Got any cranky and obscure book recommendations?

Posted by: Fr. M. at August 22, 2007 09:50 PM

Joan - just don't say "Belgium" out of context, that's all.

Father M - when I'm feeling particularly cranky, I often reach down something from my Florence King shelf. That way I can indulge in misanthropy with a smile on my face!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at August 23, 2007 12:00 PM

Yessiree, ol' Flo King definitely is obscure, cranky and misanthropic... and a Virginian.

Posted by: Father M. at August 23, 2007 10:37 PM

"A new pleasure! A new pleasure!"

From one of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker novels, when hapless Arthur Dent materializes in the middle of an endless party on a floating city inhabited by shallow Califorian-like morons. They see he is holding a bottle of wine, and seize it with glee, uttering the words you quote. I don't remember what part that bottle played, except that it did not contain a drink almost entirely unlike tea.

Posted by: pst314 at August 25, 2007 06:07 PM