Steph (normandie_m) wrote,

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In semi-notable news, I am sick. The house is being painted at the moment and I think the paint fumes may have something to do with my sore throat, though I am also suffering sinus and had that wonderful experience of waking up at 3am Friday morning and feeling like every orifice in my head was blocked.

In the meantime, here's a book meme, since those are my favourite type of meme to do.

10 Favourites

1. Favourite Book?

Argh, I always have trouble answering this question, mostly because my answer changes depending on my mood. Tonight, it's 'Imperium' by Robert Harris. It's a book I just keep coming back to- I can read it over and over again and not get bored. Harris' characterisation of Cicero is just perfect, the best of any in literature or on the screen. I am absolutely dying to read its sequel, 'Conspiracy', which did have a publication date of last month but has apparently been pushed back to next year, if Amazon's correct.

Other books on the shortlist though? 'The War of the Worlds' by H.G. Welles, 'The Fellowship of the Ring' by Tolkien, and 'The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman' by Louis De Bernieres

2. Favourite Author?

Umberto Eco. His books are tough reading, but always rewarding and make me feel like I've learned something in the process of reading them.

3. Favourite Genre?

Historical fiction, though fantasy is also a strong contender.

4. Favourite series of books?

LotR trilogy. Tolkien set the precedent for my other favourite authors who have done series like Rowling, Gaiman, Pratchett, etc. It could nearly have been C.S. Lewis' Narnia series here, but I must confess I have not read all of them (blasphemy! 'The Horse and his Boy' and 'The Magician's Nephew' are the ones I haven't read yet, mostly out of laziness).

5. Favourite Illustrator?

Joann Sfar's illustrations are quite fantastic- read 'Vampire Loves' and you'll see!

6. Favourite book from when you were little?

'The Wind in the Willows'. I loved those stories so freaking much, and still do.

7. Favourite Hero?

This will definitely sound like a lame answer, but Jesus of Nazareth. No, not in the Bible, but rather in Nikos Kazantzakis' 'The Last Temptation of Christ'. Kazantzakis wrote Jesus in the vein of Nietzsche's ubermensch or 'superman'- a figure that would preserve tradition in society but at the same time overhaul it. This version of Jesus really influenced me in terms of how I saw my faith and how I felt about the role of the church in society.

8. Favourite Villain?

As far as truly despicable unsympathetic villains go? Livia Augusta, as Robert Graves wrote her in 'I, Claudius'. So chilling and so very ruthless, while acting under the facade as a supportive wife and consort to Augustus. Though I must say that Dolores Umbridge runs a close second.

9. Favourite couple?

I actually had a hard time thinking of an OTP in literature that I really enjoyed reading and was canon. I think Sir Percy and Lady Margeurite Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel are probably my favourite canon literary couple- their wit and passion for each other makes for enjoyable reading.

10. Favourite Character?

This was a hard one, but I think as far as favourite characters go, it's Severus Snape from the HP series. Beyond all his snark, the greasy hair, black robes and the fact that gorgeous Alan Rickman plays him on the big screen, Snape for me has been one of the most fascinating characters, even more interesting than Harry. The complexity of his character and his story arc was by far my favourite aspect of the series. One of the great anti-heroes of literature, for sure.

5 Lasts

1. Last book you bought?

'The Secret History of the Pink Carnation' by Lauren Willig. I'm a little dubious because the Pink Carnation is supposed to be the female equivalent of the Scarlet Pimpernel (which smacks of Mary Sue to me), but I wanted something relatively light and fluffy after all the early Christian history/theology tomes.

2. Last book you were given?

'The Pillow Book' by Sei Shonagon. Brendan gave it to me a few months ago and said I should take it to Japan. So I am!

3. Last book you pre-ordered?

'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' by JKR- I've ordered the nice collectors edition from Amazon as a sort of Christmas present to myself. Have got it at half-price too, as I did a trial of Amazon Prime and after the trial finished up I discovered I'd been given a gift card by Amazon, presumably for taking part in the trial.

4. Last book you loved?

'Vampire Loves' by Joann Sfar. It's a graphic novel about a vampire who can't hold down a relationship and bites his victims with one fang so they think it's a mosquito bite. It was really whimsical and charming and I honestly couldn't put it down.

5. Last book you hated?

There are books I feel 'meh' about after reading, but I rarely hate books. I think maybe 'The Da Vinci Code' and Allan Massie's 'Caesar' are the only ones I've really hated. I hated the former because he skewed history and theology to fit his plot, and the latter was just plain crap writing.

...Also, does it count if I say I hate the Twilight series based entirely on what everyone else says about it?

3 dos

1.Do you read part of your current book every day?

Yes. My commute to work is about an hour and a half, and reading is the best way to make the time pass quickly.

2. Do you stick to one genre of books or do you jump around?

I jump around. I enjoy most genres- historical, romance, sci-fi, chick lit, fantasy, etc. I think the only genres I really avoid are thrillers and crime. Oh, and the more trashy ends of the romance and sci-fi genres.

3. Do you review all the books you read on LJ?

No. In fact, I think the only books I've reviewed on lj are the last three Harry Potter books and maybe The Da Vinci Code and a couple of Umberto Eco's. I'm a pretty lousy reviewer anyway. ;p But I must say that this is a nice segue into the fact that my review of Samuel Johnson's 'Journey to Western Scotland' is up on the Blog a Penguin Classic website if anyone wants to read it, even though it's a load of waffle.

1 if

1. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take one book with you, which book would you choose?

'The One Thousand and One Nights'. Because I've never read it before (well, I've read some of the stories- Ali Baba, Aladdin), and it's a collection of stories rather than one.

Oh, and this looks so freaking cool and is definitely something I'm going to do when I return to Rome. Its opening also coincides with Google Earth's new Ancient Rome 3D tool, which makes for a quite fantastic learning tool if you ask me. :D

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