When the Going Gets Rough, the Rough Get Meming

Being a bit at a loss for blog fodder this week, I decided to join this book meme:

A book that made you cry: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth.

A book that scared you: Night by Elie Wiesel.

A book that made you laugh: Quite a few, really. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is just one—the scene where Mr. Wopsle plays Hamlet has got to be one of the funniest passages in the English language. Jean Kerr’s collections of humorous pieces from the 1960’s are hilarious.

A book that disgusted you: The Last Resort by Alison Lurie. Not for the nature of its content but for how immensely disappointing I found it—an intriguing plot utterly wasted on characters who were no more than politically correct stereotypes. Sexually repressed heterosexual woman who is transformed by a lesbian romp. Check. Earthy, life-affirming lesbian. Check. Sexually repressed conservative female. Check. Sensitive, wise gay guy. Check. Clueless, insensitive heterosexual males. Check. One of my last forays into literary fiction.

A book you loved in elementary school: The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. About New York City siblings who pool their allowances so each can do something interesting on a Saturday.

A book you loved in middle school. Who Wants Music on Monday? by Mary Stolz. A book about three siblings: plain Cassie, beautiful Lotta, and their college-student brother, Vincent, all of whose lives undergo subtle but far-reaching changes in a few months.

A book you loved in high school: M. E. Kerr’s Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! A funny, affecting novel about young Tucker’s involvement with two cousins: pretty but troubled Natalie and grossly obese Dinky, whose mother is too wrapped up with helping drug addicts to concern herself with her daughter’s very large problem.

A book you hated in high school: My algebra textbook.

A book you loved in college: Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron.

A book that challenged your identity: My identity’s intact, so I must not have read one.

A series that you love: Difficult to come up with one that I’ve loved as an adult. As a child I loved The Bobbsey Twins series, courtesy of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. (Even as a child, I found it entertaining to compare the earliest novels in the series to the reworked versions in the 1960’s.) Edit: How could I have forgotten Sandra Gulland’s Josephine Bonaparte series?

Your favorite horror book: I don’t do horror. Proofreading the occasional horror book when I was a freelancer was sheer misery.

Your favorite science fiction book: I’ve only read a couple, and they’re just not me.

Your favorite fantasy book: Can I count “A Christmas Carol” because of the ghost? Otherwise, I’m not a fantasy fan.

Your favorite mystery book: A Mind to Murder by P. D. James is just one of hers of which I’m fond.

Your favorite historical novel: The words “traitor’s” and “wife” somehow come to mind. Otherwise, it’s difficult to come up with a single favorite. I’ve really enjoyed novels by Sharon Penman, Jean Plaidy, Margaret George, Reay Tannahill, Brenda Honeyman, and Margaret Campbell Barnes, to name a few.

Your favorite biography: Again, difficult to pin one down. Ian Mortimer’s biographies of Roger Mortimer and Edward III, Antonia Fraser’s biography of Marie Antoinette, and Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Brontë are among my favorites. I was also very impressed by A. J. Pollard’s Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, and recently by Nancy Goldstone’s Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe.

Your favorite “coming-of-age” book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Your favorite classic: Tie between Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend.

Your favorite romance book: In the sense that there’s a man, a woman, and a happily-ever-after ending, Persuasion by Jane Austen.

Your favorite book not on this list: Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe.

Anyone’s welcome to join in!

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