Another Book Meme!

Tagged by Lotus Life, who seems capable of magnificent motherhood, full-time work, study and blogging, while I struggle with work and blogging. I suck. But I forgive myself.

1.Hardcover or paperback, and why?

Paperback, all the way. Hardcovers are too heavy: you can’t throw them into a bag to take with you, or slip them into a coat pocket, or justify lugging them up a mountain.

In my early university years, and when I was an Arts student, I used to wear a big beige coat that had two enormous pockets. In one pocket, a notebook, my house keys and wallet. In the other pocket, a beat-up paperback and a lollipop. I loved the freedom of those days, wandering the university campus at my leisure, unburdened by a bag and heavy books. I was into Beat literature at the time, so it felt very bohemian to be so unencumbered. The lollipop was to keep me going because I was too poor to buy food: the sugar sufficed until I got home.

I became known in my Classical Mythology class as “The Lollipop Girl”. I did not know anyone in the class, so I used to sit alone, up front. The first few tutorial sessions that I went to did not suit me, so I changed. And the first time I introduced myself to my new tutorial class, one of the other classmates piped up with: Oh! You’re Lollipop Girl. It’s good to know your name at last.

2.If I were to own a book shop I would call it…

Ugh. I’m crap with titles / names. I would probably ask everyone I knew for suggestions, or some random conversation would titillate me and that would become the book shop name. And it would be rather convoluted, and probably not very catchy. Kinda like the title of this blog.

My bookshop would also be a tea room & cafe, pho kitchen, laundrette and cinema. Everyone who wanted to could hang out there for as long as they liked, with nary a purchase required. The tea room would have bird cages, but without birds, because I can’t abide the thought of birds in cages. Maybe the bird cages would double as lamps. Long benches and chaise lounges and comfy arm chairs and cushions and lots of little tables would be dotted all over the place, and bookshelves of all sorts and sizes randomly abound. Turning a corner would confront one with a new vista of books and great chairs on which to sit.

And it must be a second-hand book shop. I will know every book that has come into the shop, but I will resist the temptation to alphabetise or categorise them, wishing instead serendipitous book discovery on my customers. I sort of want my book shop to have a cat, but I don’t like that cats kill wildlife. So I’m torn on the cat front.

There will be tea of every imaginable description, and teapots, collected from charity stores, of all kinds. Oh! And the coffee paraphernalia. Lots of that too.

My cinema will be cosy and have sofas and side tables. I will show an eclectic selection of film: from anime to horror, art-house to thrillers, with a smattering of period drama thrown in.

And there will be a laundrette because every one needs clean clothes.

3.My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…

I really like a particular quote from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The quote is about both Atticus and his relationship with his children. It is written initially in high-faluting language and then ends in a great twist of simple childish slang, jerking us straight back to Scout’s perspective.

Jem and I were accustomed to our father’s last-will-and-testament diction, and we were at all times free to interrupt Atticus for a translation when it was beyond our understanding.
“Huh, sir?”

Like a lot of lawyers, I suppose, I love To Kill A Mockingbird. I identified quite keenly with Scout, and Jem was definitely my older brother, who is wiser and kinder than me, and whom I worship. Scout is a reading, blustering, naive and occasionally thoughtless, but mostly decent-hearted, tomboy. There’s a lot of me in her.

4.The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

Roberto Calasso. He is very much alive, and must have a lively, inquiring mind. He is the archetypal polymath, I think, and I would melt in his presence.

5.If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be…

Eh. I probably would not bring the SAS survival guide. I’d bring my Ba.

Book-wise: I really find this prompt an incredibly difficult one. I just can’t get past the idea that if I’m on a deserted island, I probably did not plan to be there so I wouldn’t know what book I will have with me. And it will have to suffice, won’t it? It’s somewhat contrary, because I don’t have any difficulty hypothesising about an author whom I would like to lunch with, or detailing my imaginary bookshop/tearoom/cinema.

I know that the idea behind the prompt is what one book could I read over and over again, and which would keep me from going insane all on my putative lonesome; I just can’t think of one that would fit that bill.

6.I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

held my books and kept them dry in the shower! yeah!

7.The smell of an old book reminds me of…

other old books: The Life Line Book Fest! I have posted on this over here.

8.If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…

I usually want to be a character in every book I am reading, although not always the lead, and usually someone who is already remarkably like me but better in some way.

9.The most overestimated book of all time is…

The last Harry Potter. Enough said.

10. I hate it when a book…

has lost pages in the middle and you did not know about it when you bought it.

I once purchased a second-hand novel by Richard Brautigan, without realising that it was ‘seconds’ rather than second hand. My partner started reading it first and churned his way through the first 100 or so pages only to find pages 101 – 157 (or thereabouts) missing. I have never seen him so upset with a book in my life. He threw it across the room, then retrieved it, only to tear at it and, dramatically, bin it. I’m glad it was not me who started reading the book. I’m not sure I would have been so restrained.

I’m craparama at tagging. But I think Katie over at Minor Revisions should give this one a go, to distract her a little from her woes, and also Galaxy, if she can incorporate it into her current segues, and N.T if she can be bothered – (in my comments, as her blog is not a talkie-one).



  1. Egad! I’ll give it a go. Huh, with the segues. I think everything I do at the moment is just one big segue.


  2. Hmm, why haven’t I commented on this? I know I read it when you first put it up. Oh, I don’t know about magnificent. Magical might be a better word. As in, it’s quite magical to me that my children are still alive and thriving. I have a lot of help. Also, I love your idea of a bookstore. I’d totally go there if it existed.


  3. as per request…

    1. hardcover or paperback, and why?

    paperback all the way.

    i love pretty new books, but i also think i like killing them and it’s a liberty i can take with what i own. paperbacks fit wonderfully into bags and i don’t mind that they get scuffed as time passes: the pleasure for me is being able to pull out a book whenever and whereever i want and start reading it whilst i’m waiting and escape to another place. and the scuffs, they remind me of the places a book has travelled with me and i with it. (but i don’t fold pages)

    2. If i were to own a book shop i would call it….

    i can’t really think of one. maybe book book. (that is terrible)

    3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…

    i can’t think of one – but the last time i was really moved by a quote enough to remember it was in the bali woman – a short story by judith hermann taken from the summerhouse, later.

    “I know that things were never any different, i just happened to have been wrong once.”

    i just find the line heart breaking in how it has perfectly and exactly captured the state of things.

    4.The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

    i would love to have lunch with pham thi hoai – because she seems so alive and committed to literature and contributing and fostering the vietnamese cannon but really – i would pick banana yoshimoto because she sounds like a really fun person to have lunch with.

    5.If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be…

    there are a couple of typical desert island book choices: ‘the all the time in the world so might as well learn everything’ choice: the encylopedia britanica or something similar; the all in the time in the world, so i’ll save my soul choice: the koran, the bible etc…

    but so far as a book goes; i think i’ll chose the little prince. it’s so perfectly short, sweet and wonderful and says enough about life and love and hope that i think it is enough to save me on a desert island.

    6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

    even though i’m fond of the scuffs on my books, i wouldn’t mind something that could magically make them almost like new (but for the fact that i’d read every page)

    7. the smell of an old book reminds me of…

    forgotten places, memories and sounds.

    8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…

    i can’t seem to think of a character i’d like to be; all of my favourite books have characters on their own journeys which make interesting stories, but not necessarily lives i’d like to live. maybe i’m too serious.

    9.The most overestimated book of all time is…

    the entire harry potter series. i had no idea about harry potter until i ploughed through the seven books recently in about 6 weeks. the entire series is completely overrated – i find it hard to believe that these books have captured the attention of so many children and adults when there are so many better books out there.

    10. I hate it when a book…

    it turns fantasy into reality. i got really annoyed when jeanette witterson ended the delightful fantasy of sexing the cherry with female eco-terrorist warrior reality. i don’t like my fantastical worlds to end, or to end in some sort of heavy handed message (leave me with my whimsical dreaming)

    and the final chapter of harry potter was a terrible addition.

    (and if i was at the same uni as you, i’d have tried to befriend you the lollipop girl) =)


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