Oh dear. I've caught a pesky book meme from Starlight who caught it from Jane Sunshine. Can't resist.
1. What is the total number of books you've owned?
My current library is well over a thousand books, but I've lost so many more moving from one part of the world to another. I've also given away a fair number to friends who I felt would appreciate them; lent books that haven't been returned by folks unclear on the concept of 'borrow'; and culled books I felt wouldn't read again when I ran out of space ...
2. What is the last book you bought?
Yesterday I picked up a book I'd ordered weeks back from Raman: Patricia Highmith's short story collection Nothing That Meets the Eye.
3. What is the last book you've read?
Stuart - A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters. Currently writing a review of it for the Star.
4. What are you currently reading?
The Accidental by Ali Smith, and enjoying it greatly. My bedtime reading is a few pages of Thank You for Not Reading by Dubraka Egresic, a collection of essays about the state of the book industry by the Croatian critic.
5. What are the 5 books that have meant a lot to you or that you particularly enjoyed?
Only 5?! These are books I have read several times and will keep coming back to:
A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov. Was haunted by the book ever since I read it in Russian at school (hey - the simplified version, okay!). "Hero" battles boredom in a series of poignant interlinked stories which shows the sickeness of the age.
The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. A prequel that's much better than the book it's based on. The story of how Jane Eyre's Mrs. Rochester was driven mad by her husband. Love the sensuality of the writing.
Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoevsky. A dark crime novel about a homicide and it's aftermath. Way ahead of its time.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. I've never laughed and cried so much when reading a book. Took to my bed for a couple of days in a state of total emotional collapse when Corelli disappeared.
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. Funny and moving. But it's the language that gives me the most joy - every sentence so carefully crafted. Imagery that jumps to the eye and leaves you breathless with surprise. I could eat this book, it's so perfect.
6. What book(s) would you wish to buy next?
I'm dying to read Alan Bennett's Untold Stories. Wish I'd picked it up in the UK where it was ridiculously cheap but my suitcase was already way over weight. It's just arrived in the bookshops here.
7. What book(s) that caught your attention but never has a chance to read?
I admitted to Raman yesterday with incredible shame that I've never read Kafka's The Trial. Must do something about this quickly.
8. What book(s) that you've owned for so long but never read it?
I have gazillions of books I've bought but not yet got round to reading on my shelves. (And feel guilty about).
I feel most guilty about James Joyce's Ulysses. I've read and enjoyed parts of it (especially Molly Bloom's luscious soliliquy), but the book as a whole still terrifies.
I want to read Donna Tart's The Secret History and Barry Unsworth's Pascali's Island, but other books keep getting in the way.
9. Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Can I cheat and say anyone who reads this and wants to be infected by it?