OK, so, there is a meme going that looks intriguing. I've enjoyed reading the responses from others and want to give this a shot, too.
I believe the credit for starting this goes to Bookloving Writer.
1. What book is on your nightstand now?
On my nightstand - none, although that is where I keep the kindle. I do have a couple of books that I am currently reading and that have inevitably ended up under a pillow. Those are Consumption and Escape to Life. (The other books on my currently reading shelf are in the living room.)
2. What was the last truly great book that you read?
Truly great......The Blind Assassin. It showed me what a novel can and should be. It set a new standard in comparison with which, I am afraid, a lot of books will suffer.
3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
There are a few. I've not given up hope on meeting J.K. Rowling, Ruth Ozeki, Kazuo Ishiguro or Ali Smith, yet. But of course there are also a few that are out of reach like Graham Greene, Ella Maillart, or Annemarie Schwarzenbach. I have no idea what I'd specifically ask them, but I would really like to find out how Greene moved from a generic thriller style to a less formulaic prose. And whether Maillart and Schwarzenbach ever reconciled with a notion of "home".
4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
I'd hate to be as predictable as that people would be surprised to find any particular book on my shelves. So, you tell me....!
5. How do you organize your personal library?
Erm, I don't. If there's space and the book fits, that's where it goes. I try to keep books by the same author together, but again, if they differ in size, then I will split them up to optimise shelf space.
6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
So, so, many. I guess, I've most neglected the classical poets. Am I embarrassed by this? Not in the least. I'll discover them in my own time.
7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn't? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
I DNF'd two books in the last week: John Irving's In One Person and David Francis' Stray Dog Winter. Both were just badly written and lacking a good story.
As for overrated books - I've been disappointed by a few. I tend to stay away from books that have received a lot of hype and praise just exactly because hype often leads to disappointment.
Two of the greatest disappointments for me were The Book Thief, which I thought was just plain awful, and Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, which also was nothing short of a cringe fest.
8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
I go through phases but am interested in all sorts of books - from fiction to non-fiction, and all sorts genres - literary classics, plays, history, mystery, politics, music, biographies, sports, adventure, travel, to the plain silly and funny, to dystopia.
I have very little patience for romance, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, chick-lit, and it will take some spectacular writing to get me to read anything gory or scary. Actually, blood and gore is a turn-off. So is fluff.
9. If you could require the prime minister to read one book, what would it be?
Ugh. As books are supposedly increasing a person's ability to feel empathy, then any book would do. I will spare you a rant about "Dave" and leave it at that.
10. What do you plan to read next?
Ooooh, I don't know, yet. I have received a copy of Run, Don't Walk this week, which is about the physical therapy treatments that veterans went through after losing limbs in combat. It sounds like an intriguing read.
But I also want to read On the Proper Use of Stars, which is a book about the Franklin Expedition. I have been looking forward to the book for a while.