Monday, September 06, 2010

Lights, Camera, Blog Action!

So I've been away on vacation for quite a bit and in the midst of it, Becky at Page Turners posted a sort of book blogger synopsis on her sight.  The concept of "Lights, Camera, Blog Action" is to highlight other blogs in the blogosphere.  I'm going to reprint my responses, though re-reading them makes me cringe a little.  Sometimes I am in a dramatic mood and I find you really need to be in a dramatic mode to feel posts like these.  I wonder if authors have a hard time reading their works after the fact, or if they think 'wow, someone really understands me.'  I guess it depends on how much one changes over time.

Tell us something about yourself
I'm the slowest reader in the history of the planet. It partly has to do with the fact that I hear myself speaking the prose in my head as I read and when the book is not to my liking or I'm particularly busy in 'real life', I tune out quite a bit. I have a passion for leather books and books with slipcases (the former because I like the feel and smell and the latter for the structure).

My perfect moment would be sitting in a hammock by a quiet lake, reading a book while the wind dances with the trees and caresses my skin. There is nothing better in the world. Add a coffee to this and the warmth of the sun and I just may cry due to happiness overload.

What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?
I remember in elementary school, taking out our textbook and reading selected excerpts from popular works. Other than “Jabberwocky”, the ones that stick out in my head were Homer’s “Odyssey” (which I have yet to read) and “Riddles in the Dark”, the popular chapter where Bilbo wins the Ring in a battle of wits with Gollum. I loved the excerpt so much that I made my father buy me the novel along with most of the Lord of the Rings books that the store had (they were missing the Fellowship of the Ring, so I ended up getting a different edition – this perturbed me for years afterwards). Anyway, I remember being shocked that my father would actually buy these for me. I can’t remember him ever having bought me anything, and he has never been a fan of literature (he only reads John Grisham novels), so I must have made some sort of impression on him.

I loved “The Hobbit” the most of the Tolkien books. I have read it twice and I still have many fond memories that will never be affected by the movies. I long to attend the table of Beorn and watch him shapeshift. I would like to whistle with Tom Bombadill, roving through tall grasses and sitting by willow trees. I long to sit by the fire and eat sweetcakes with Bifor, Bofur and Bombur... and all the other dwarfs. When in a rut, I’d love to go adventuring on the downs (despite the danger) and see what prizes can be found there. In short, the world Tolkien created fascinated me and appealed to me on a level that I never knew existed. It took me to places I had never been before and I continually want to grab the book from my shelves and dive back into it.

Why do you love to read?
Occasionally, I will read something that will strike such a tremendous chord with me. It will change the way I look at life, the world, or my place in it. When this happens, I can feel as if my life is expanding... as if I am growing in a productive manner, despite not doing anything typically termed 'productive'. I read for these moments, and I am constantly looking for inspiration and I'd like to think in an eclectic way... something that is very unique to myself. I have quotes on sticky notes all around my work space to remind me of things that are important. Here are two: "Nobody promises you tomorrow" [dont' know where I got this one - it's a bit hokey, but it's holistic] and "Man is free the moment he wants to be" by Voltaire.
How do you choose your books?
I read mostly classics. Some think this is stuffy, but my rationale is this: I have limited time on this earth (and you all know I read very slowly now), and I would like to offer myself the greatest probability of obtaining these precious moments through literature. I constantly feel the weight of remorse... that I will not get to read everything I want to before I leave my body. If I read something modern, I have to really believe it will be something special because it will cause me to not have time for something else.

(Parenthetically, I never read synopsis', because I feel they will change my perspective on books).

What are you currently reading and what's been the best book you have read in the last 6 months?
I'm currently reading "The Curse of Lono" by Hunter S. Thompson. This kind of flies in the face of my usual classics, but the book is a work of art in itself (Ralph Steadman's artistic personifications of the author's thoughts scare and teach me at the same time).

The best book I have read in the last six months is Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure." Thomas Hardy is a genius, but he takes an emotional toll.

If you had to narrow it down - who would be your 3 favourite authors and what would be your 3 favourite books?

Favourite Authors:
Ernest Hemingway
John Steinbeck
The third is tough, because I have only read one by each, but I'm going to have to go with either Boris Pasternak or Vladamir Nobokov.

Favourite Books:
"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
"Notes from Underground" by Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Doctor Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak

The talent here is so dense, it is painful to pare it down to such a small list.

When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog for me... because I realized that I forgot a lot about the books I read over time. In most cases I knew how I felt about a work, but only really select tidbits about it. I created this blog to keep my memories in tact. What I found out was, my experiences with books do not end. Over time, my perceptions and thoughts about a work change and I have realized that all these experiences are floating inside my being, making me who I am.

How did you choose your blog's name?
I've always felt like an "Eclectic" person and I really LOVE this word, so it kind of stuck. The Indulgence part just came to me one day, because really... my experiences with good books can be classified as an indulgence, like a creamy unbaked cheesecake or a coffee made of freshly ground beans on a Saturday morning. There are no price tags on experiences like these, and the indulgences are what makes life magic.

Thus, my blog's name is "Eclectic Indulgence."

What do you love about book blogging?
Learning... about myself, others and literature out there I have yet to experience.

What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?
If you blog, do it for yourself first. People will enjoy hearing what you have to say if you just be who you are and love what you do. You don't have to be technically astute, you just have to love and be willing to share that with the world.

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