Thursday, August 26, 2010


01: What author do you own the most books by?
It's a draw between JRR Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.  I could probably count and find out, but it's pretty close. 

02: What book do you own the most copies of?
All of Jane Austen's books (I have two of each)

03: Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Only a little, though I was tempted to proofread.

04: What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Faramir--the book version, not the ring-tempted movie version 

 05: What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
Probably The Chronicles of Narnia, Stonewords: A Ghost Story, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter 1-5 (6 and 7 are too new), Lord of the Rings... Okay, let's face it--I'm a chronic repeat-reader.

06: What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Stonewords: A Ghost Story.  I borrowed it from the classroom library at least once a week all through fourth grade.

07: What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
I couldn't get into Gulliver's Travels. That makes me a bad English teacher, I know.
08: What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Lord of the Rings, indisputably, tops them all, no matter how many times I've read it. 

09: If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
I didn't tag anyone, but The Hobbit plus Lord of the Rings plus The Silmarillion

10: Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
I don't read enough recent work to answer this one.

11: What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Ooh, it'd be so off the wall: The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde. 

12: What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

13: Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I recently reread the Harry Potter series (though I'd read six and seven, I barely remembered them--and for that I blame my most recent surgery), and I dreamt that I was Harry Potter for the next week straight, every night, trying to work out how to finally vanquish Voldemort.  

14: What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I don't give that much thought--if I like it, I like it, quality unimportant.

15: What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
It's a tie between Don Quixote (which I attempted senior year of high school) and Gulliver's Travels (which I attempted last summer).  I got about halfway to two-thirds in each before I threw the white flag.

16: What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
I've only seen Romeo and Juliet in person, though I did watch two different version of A Midsummer Night's Dream (one old, one recent) on tv.   

17: Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

18: Roth or Updike?
I'd have to read one.

19: David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

20: Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare, but I'll let you know for sure after I read Chaucer (crap, I knew I should've bought that used copy last week)

21: Austen or Eliot?
Austen. Terrible question. Eliot annoys the hell out of me with all his allusions.

22: What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
There are quite a few, but the biggest is recent literature.  I tend to stick with the classics.

23: What is your favorite novel?
Lord of the Rings.  Duh.

24: Play?
Measure for Measure or As You Like It or Much Ado About Nothing or...

25: Poem?
Lucille Clifton's Ode to Hips:
                        these hips are big hips
                        they need space to
                        move around in.
                        they don’t fit into little
                        petty places. these hips
                        are free hips.
                        they don’t like to be held back.
                        these hips have never been enslaved,
                        they go where they want to go
                        they do what they want to do.
                        these hips are mighty hips.
                        these hips are magic hips.
                        i have known them
                        to put a spell on a man and
                        spin him like a top! 

26: Essay?
Letter from Birmingham Jail (Martin Luther King, Jr.) 

27: Short story?
I'd have to get back to you on that one.

28: Work of nonfiction?
Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.  That's a given. 

29: Who is your favorite writer?
That's like asking me which chocolate I like... Jane Austen, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Donald Miller, Douglas Adams... anyone who can create a world in which I can believe.

 30: Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
 Stephanie Meyers. Sorry, Twilight fans.

31: What is your desert island book?
The Lord of the Rings.  It's wonderful, complex, and long enough I can restart it without feeling like I just read that page.

32: And... what are you reading right now?
Nothing, actually.  Except for long weekends, when I can sneak in a quick read, I don't get a chance to read when classes are in session.  Yet another reason I need a full-time position--summers off, and lots more reading and writing accomplished!

Monday, August 02, 2010

[Guest Blog by the Dog]

Hiya, humans! I'm Sassy, Niki's baby, and I'm filling in for her today.  She's had a bad bellyache for a couple days since she's newly lacnose--latcos--milk intolerant and thought a little cheese couldn't hurt her.  She says, Hey, it's cheese, and who can blame her for trying? I know I can't. For example, I'd try chocolate if I could, but no one will let me, probably for the same reason.  Anyway, she's still recovering her strength, so it's my turn to speak!

Today I want to talk abut my second-favorite place to visit: the dog park (click the link to find out about ours)! My favorite place, of course, is the lake... Lake?! I wanna go! Let's go! Oh, Niki says we'll be going tonight. I'll get back to my story now.

Anyway, Niki and I went to the park last night, but for a long time, we were the only ones there.  Generally, I don't mind that.  It's fun for me just to venture out a couple hundred yards, checking everyone's pee-mail, and then come charging back at my favorite person while she dodges out of the way because I'm not stopping for anything.  However, since Niki's belly still felt "raw," as she put it, she wasn't as much fun as normal, so I started to get hot and bored.

After awhile, some other puppies started to come, but I didn't recognize any of them.  I'm a little shy and skittish around my own kind, you see.  Niki thinks I might have been separated from my litter too early or something.  So anyway, since I didn't know these dogs, I threw my hackles up to prove to those strange dogs that I'm a big dog and can protect my Niki from them or die trying. She, as always, rolled her eyes at me and told me to just worry about guarding her from people, since she knows how to handle dogs, but I ignored her, leaned my back up against her, and kept a tense eye out. I know my role.  Nobody touches my girl, capisce?

Now, I may be shy around dogs I don't know, but I'm relentlessly ready to play with my park pals, and finally, two of my puppy buddies and my puppy crush did come: a doberman pup named Daisy (who, after a short romp, was more interested in her frisbee, though we did race each other a little bit), my crush Tank (a sexy boxer who doesn't know I'm alive, even though I lick his face and throw myself at him every time I see him), and a big chocolate lab with a curly tail called Penny.

Penny is definitely one of my favorite wrestling partners.  She's almost twice my weight, but she's slower and calmer, so we're pretty well-matched.  She plays like me, too; we mouth each other's ears and lips (her mom almost always has to give her a bath after we play, because she's covered in my slobber), and we run reallyreally fast at each other and away from each other.  Then she lays down (she tires faster than me, since I'm mixed with a herding breed and can go for hours) and I tackle her from above, trying to egg her into chasing me so more.  I do the same thing to Niki, but it just makes her mad because, "Dammit, dog, your paws are like sandpaper! Ow! My arms are still raw from last night when you did this!" and I'm relentless.

Last night, though, Penny kept getting distracted by this bird that was obviously mocking her outright. I don't know if you humans know this, but we dogs do: birds are jerks.  That's why I catch them in the backyard and rip out their entrails.  But this bird wasn't just trying to escape after annoying Penny.  No, this bird kept flying in figure-eights around the dog park while Penny chased it.  It would slow down if Penny fell behind, then zip on ahead when she caught up.  Our people kept laughing, but I knew how she felt.  I told her, Penny, wait for it to rest in a bush--then they're easy to catch. But she kept chasing it. I can't blame her--it did look delicious. Finally, I tried to distract her by running alongside her and nipping at her ears and knocking her off course.  Penny, I explained, it's pointless to chase this bird; besides, how much more fun is to just live in the moment and enjoy doing what you can--wrestle with me!  Eventually, the bird got tired and left, and once Penny got her second wind, we had one last romp before she left.

Well, next time, I'll tell you about the lake, but for now, Niki says she needs to pack, and I know that means I need to get wrapped up under her feet so she doesn't forget to take me too.

Bye, now!