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Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm it.

So I'm reading the other rob's blog and he's talking about being "tagged" and doing a "meme" (and even though I've seen them many times and read them I've never understood the source of the term until nic said she thinks it's a me-me-me! kind of thing).

And I'm wondering. How do you get tagged? How do you know if you're tagged?

And then I get to the end and -- wow, tag, I'm it!

Okay, so fifteen things about books. I like this one.

1. The first book I ever read all by myself was Sam and the Firefly.

2. The next book I read was my first Nancy Drew, The Hidden Staircase.

3. I am embarrassed by how few classics I've read.

4. I was so highly offended that American publishers felt the need to "dumb down" Harry Potter by even changing the freaking title of the first book, I always order my books from England.

5. The past two Potter books have taken so long to come from England that I've broken down and bought the American copies, too, so I could start reading them before somebody spoiled them for me.

6. One of my prized possessions is an autographed copy of Lonesome Dove that is inscribed, "Merry Christmas, Mama, we love you," and Larry signed it right under my kids' names so it looks like he's my son.

7. Another prized possession is an autographed copy of Prince of Tides. Pat Conroy is one of the most amazing speakers you'll ever hear and I urge you to go hear him any time he holds forth. It's like reading one of his books. He'll have you laughing until you weep, and suddenly make you gasp in horror, and by the time he's through you will be euphoric and emotionally drained at the same time. And he will not only sign every single book that his fans have piled in their arms (or at least that's what he did when he spoke for Friends of the Richardson Library some years ago) but he will introduce himself and shake the hand of every single person in line. Even though you just listened to him speak for an hour, he will smile and offer his hand like a gentleman and say, "Hello, I'm Pat Conroy." And speak to you pleasantly until he knows how he wants to sign your book. And when you're standing at the end of that long line you will be thinking, "Oh my god this is going to take for-freaking-ever," but by the time he shakes your hand and talks to you, you will feel lucky to have had the experience.

8. Yet another prized possession is a very old edition of Paul Clifford, of Bulwer-Lytton fame, complete with the fabulous first line, ""It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

9. I once read a YA book called Summer of the Birds or Bird Summer or something like that, and it was about some bird-boy who came to the town, and at the end of the summer flew away, taking one of the kids with him to live forever with the birds. I can't remember if it was a girl or boy or why the kid was willing to go except that there was a very sad family life. And I've never found the book again, even though I've done websearches, and I checked it out of the library when I was a kid so I'm sure it existed. Well, pretty sure.

10. My most recent book purchase was two days ago, when I bought: Jane Austen's PERSUASION (Barne's and Noble "Collector's Library"), Rose Williams's LATIN QUIPS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS (another Barnes and Noble edition), and a wonderful children's secular Christmas book I recommend to anyone with small children, Maryann Cusimano Love's You Are My Miracle (illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa).

11. My reading habits were very eclectic without concentrating on any particular genre or style or subject matter until I decided to try and write a novel, and the only writer I knew wrote romances, so I began reading tons of romances. Then when I stopped writing romances, I went back to eclectic reading and have read few romances since.

12. I got sucked into the mystery genre after my first trip to England in 1996. When we came back I found myself itching to return immediately, and since that was impossible, I roamed a used book store looking for something that would substitute. I found The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes, the first of the Inspector Jury mysteries, and I've had a crush on Melrose Plant ever since. (You really must read the first few in order; once she introduces a ton of continuing characters they crop up at odd and important times which I think would be unsatisfying if you didn't already know who they were.) I tend to gravitate toward British mysteries because I've discovered that in the heat of the summer they cool me off, and in the chill of winter they are as cozy as a cup of hot tea and a woolen shawl. So of course I then read the first Inspector Lynley mystery and became an Elizabeth George fan, as well. And how could I not mention P.D. James -- and no, I have no idea what order those come in, nor have I tried to read them in order.

13. I have never been able to force myself to read books that are "good for me," whether they are spiritual or educational. If the author has a somewhat conversational tone, yes. But otherwise, my ADD kicks in and my eyes glaze over.

14. I have a large collection of books that are supposed to be "good for me," and it keeps growing even though I don't read them. What's up with that?

15. I love writing screen adaptations of novels, and often when I'm reading I find myself forming a script in my head, with a wonderful "I know how to make this work!" surge of adrenaline shooting through me. I am often fairly certain that the author might not like some of the changes unless the author has a realistic idea of what "screen adaptation" has to be. And I'm grateful to Larry McMurtry and Pat Conroy for teaching me what that means years before I ever dreamed of writing a screenplay. (In case you're wondering, when asked by huffy fans how they handle the outrage of what Hollywood does to their books, they both had the same answer. Their job is to write the best novel they can. A filmmaker's job is to make the best movie they can. Books are not movies. Movies are not books. Stop expecting them to be the same and enjoy their differences.) (Edited to add: That does not mean I am satisfied with any of the Harry Potter adaptations, though Prisoner of Azkaban is by far the best!)

And I guess this is where I tag somebody else. So I will tag toni and the admiral and steve in order to throw this net wider.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger nerium_oleander said...

I was incorrect about the Meme thing- I know I had run into an explaination before, but Wiki tells me I was way off base:

Although given the way the end up used on the 'net, "me-me-me" is just as good and explaination as any, I suppose

At 11:15 AM, Blogger pooks said...

Good grief. My eyes glazed over. (See #13.) I think your explanation makes more sense. Me-me-me-look-at-me!

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Shrive a.k.a. TLO said...

I greatly enjoyed your comments on books. I already knew that we have much in common when it comes to reading but I still appreciated the umcommon little tidbits

I'm glad that you're blogging!

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Your 15-things is fascinating!
Pooks, in case I haven't said so lately, THANKS again for inspiring me to have a blog!

At 4:29 PM, Blogger pooks said...

Yeah, I advised you to get a blog before I got one.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Candace said...

Pooks, "count" me in.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger pooks said...

Maybe Steve will tag you!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Mary Louisa said...

Pooks, hello to you! Glad you stopped over to my blog. I loved your meme facts. I also read ND and the Mystery of the Hidden Staircase really early on, and I also read lots of Trixie Belden mysteries.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger pooks said...

I missed out on Trixie. I think I'll put her on my TBR list.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Carla Neggers said...

Great list -- and you're a fifth-generation Texan? I love Texas. I don't get there often enough. I have a niece in Austen, and friends all over the state. It's just so...big. :-)

At 4:18 PM, Blogger pooks said...

Big? Really? I hadn't heard that (coff-coff) before.



At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read Summer Of The Birds when I was young. The young man who visits is the last of the Phoenixes, in search of a mate. He gives the children of the town the power to fly for the summer. At the end of the summer he takes one girl away with him. Sad and beautiful. I cannot find it anywhere, no mention of it even!!! If you find it, let me

At 10:47 AM, Blogger pooks said...

Welcome to my blog, psd! My friend AncyKate found the book for me -- I'll email the details!


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