You can tell a lot about a person …

…by the books she loves.
A friend of mine sent me a fun little questionnaire about books and reading. Normally, whenever I’m sent these kinds of things, I put them aside intending to complete them when I have more time, whereupon they promptly disappear into some black hole of good intentions.
But since this one was about books, and since I am a literature geek of the highest order, I had to fill it out. It only took me two weeks. Here it is, in all its random glory.

1. What author do you own the most books by?

In actual titles: Shakespeare (everything he wrote is contained in my college copy of The Riverside Shakespeare).

In actual, physical tones: Lenora Mattingly Weber. She wrote about an Irish family in Denver in the 1940s and 1950s: teenage coming-of-age stories. (It may be a Catholic thing?)

2. What book do you own the most copies of?
Mary and Me. Hopefully not for long.

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Now that you mention it ….

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
John Proctor from The Crucible. He takes a stand against religious extremism and dies for the truth. Whatta guy! (I know he’s not really fictional, but still …)

5. What fictional character do you think most resembles you?
I’m Jane Eyre — only saucier.

6. What book have you read the most times in your life?
Pre-motherhood: The Catcher in the Rye.

Post-motherhood: Hop on Pop.

7) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Secret Garden.
Can you tell I’m an Anglophile — and a girly one at that?

8). If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Ha. Mary and Me.

9) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
Pericles, Prince of Tyre. (I know: What?)

10) Roth or Updike?
Ummm … don’t know enough to say (sheepish look)

11) Austen or Eliot?

12) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Roth and Updike, apparently.

13) What is your favorite novel?
Hoo boy. Tough one. I’ll go with Jane Eyre.

14) Play?
Cyrano de Bergerac — with Six Degrees of Separation right at its heels.

15) Poem?
“Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Or “Jabberwocky.” Or “Ozymandias.”

16) Essay?
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf — and not just because I’m also a Virginia ….

17) Short story?
“The Dead” by James Joyce

18) What is your desert island book?
I’d go with a novel, probably … which means I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It has a unique setting, an amusing cast of supporting characters, a whip-smart and witty narrator, and a bittersweet but satisfying ending. It would take me a long, long time to get tired of it.

19) And, finally, what are you reading right now?
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee. It’s a beautiful memoir of growing up in post-WWI rural England. Parts of it remind me of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales. All of it makes me green with writer’s envy.

Credit Where It’s Due: Girl Reading by John Singer Sargent

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