A Little Bit About Meme

I had a work read today that was an oddity of a historical novel. I suspect some of what I read will stay with me for quite some time.

So, in honor of that read, here’s a meme I found at So Many Books

List some of your favorite words:

Scintillate. Concatenation. Vernacular. Epidemiology.

What’s your favorite maxim or proverb?

“Everyone knows that a fairy tale starts out ‘Once Upon A Time.’ But if you’re a truck driver, the best stories start out, ‘You’re not going to believe this shit.'” (From the excellent documentary Who the #$% is Jackson Pollock?)

What’s your favorite quotation?

“Not a whit, we defy augury. There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come – the readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is’t to leave betimes, let be.” – Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2

What’s your favorite first line of a novel?

“It was a dark and stormy night.” – A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

Give an example of a piece of description that’s really pleased you in your reading lately:

From The Manticore by Robertson Davies:

“I have never known the world without Netty, so her personal characteristics seemed to me for a long time to be ordained and not matters on which likes or dislikes had any bearing. She was, and is now, below medium height, so spare that all her tendons, strings, and muscles show when they are at work, noisy and clumsy as small people sometimes are, and of boundless overheated energy. Indeed, the impression you get from Netty is that there is a very hot fire burning inside her. Her skin is dry, her breath is hot and strong an suggests combustion, though it is not foul. She is hot to the touch, but not moist. Her complexion is a reddish-brown, as though scorched, and her hair is a dark dry-red–not carroty but a withered auburn. Her responses are quick, and her gaze is a parched glare. Of course I am used to her, but people who meet her for the first time are sometimes alarmed and mistake the intensity of her personality for some furious, pent-up criticism of themselves. Caroline and Beesty call her the Demon Queen. She is now my housekeeper, and considers herself my keeper.”

Which five writers do you particularly admire for their use of language?

Shirley Jackson, Margaret Atwood, Kathleen Norris

And are there writers whose style you really dislike?

Jonathan Lethem and any others of his style-heavy hipster ilk

What’s the key to really fine writing, in your opinion?

Where the prose serves the story with beauty and style without calling attention to itself. Make me want to read every word even as you make me want to keep turning the pages.

12 thoughts on “A Little Bit About Meme”

  1. “Concatenation” is an excellent word. Love the Hamlet quote too. For Hamlet being such a wishy-washy guy, Shakespeare sure gave him some wise words to say.

  2. First of all, nice meme…

    Secondly, what a memory… I would never be able to remember passages and first lines of all books I read. Quotes is a different thing, though.

  3. Still, remembering and comparing passages and first lines is something. If I get this meme, I would spend about a week going through all the books I like just to finish it.

  4. I was planning to send a meme your way. It is basically “Indian Authors tag“, the main aim of which is basically to write about Indian authors whose books you have read/want to read (yes, I am an Indian).

    But in your case, I would like you to change the tag to your regional writers. I found it a nice way to talk about Indian authors few have read about worldwide.

    So, want to take up the changed tag?

  5. Thanks for the tag! I am embarrassed to admit that I have little to no familiarity with Indian Authors, apart from having heard of Jhumpa Lhahiri.

    And even more embarrassing because I recognize Satyajit Ray’s name because he’s a filmmaker–and I’ve never seen any of his films, somehow.

    So this is a very, very welcome suggestion, and one I’m happy to take you up on.

  6. Well, Ray is more known for his films (and known worldwide), but his books are not bad, too…

    Jhumpa Lahiri is another famous one (along with Arundhati Roy), though I haven’t read any yet.

    As I said, you can change the meme to your regional authors if you want…

  7. I like the Indian Authors challenge, if only to be able to add that category to my sidebar! Plus, I live in New York City so my regional authors don’t need any more help 🙂

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