Actually, I’m not counting. That’s what WordPress does for me. Their computers are also keeping track of comments, visitors, and the puzzling outbreak of spam attached to Katharine Davis’ A Slender Thread. (Very energetic. In Cyrillic, no less. I can’t fathom what my russophone cyber visitor hopes to accomplish.)
This is the season of lists among book bloggers: yesterday I even read one that proposed what we should all be reading in 2011, which I found alarming. I keep a “ten best” list running, and I’ve done a Christmas shopping list, so here is a new way to sort a few of the 200-plus books I’ve read over the last two years.
Author most like Starbucks: Lee Child, on two counts. One is consistency. As with your venti skim chai, you know what you’re going to get when you order up one of Lee Child’s books. The other point is stimulation. When all’s said and done, Starbucks is about keeping you alert. Ditto Mr. Child.
Author least like Starbucks: That would be M. Marcel Proust, who has been putting me to sleep for about 18 months. Despite my strenous search each night for the sentence where I left off — this could take a page or more, which means easily 10 minutes of reading — I am making steady progress through In Search of Lost Time and expect to finish sometime before I die. In the meantime the dreamy, endlessly-looping prose, dense with description, punctuated with flashes of insight, is as close to dreaming as I get with my eyes open.
If it were a movie, Johnny Depp could star in it: Not surprisingly, a robust list. In the Woods, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (OK, a stretch…), Christine Falls, Captain Alatriste, and A Place of Greater Safety as Camille Desmoulins, the endlessly compelling and sexy demagogue. Not a stretch.
The book I can’t wait to read again: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets.
The book I can’t believe I finished: Colony of Unrequited Dreams. A 592-page historical novel about the foundation of Newfoundland. Yup.
Book I didn’t even start: Freedom.
Character I would like to be: Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire.
Character I would like to meet: Jean-Pierre Adamsberg of the Fred Vargas novels.
Book I wish I’d written: Wolf Hall.
Book I could never have written: Cleopatra.
Not what I expected: La Chartreuse de Parme.
Worst food: Unbroken.
Uplifting but not sentimental: The City of Tranquil Light.
Thanks for reading!