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The Book Group Questionnaire


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Before the forums closes, tell me...

 

1. Your favourite book.

Journey to the end of the Night.

 

2. Saddest book you ever read.

The Leopard.

 

3. Book you read a paragraph or two from every now and then.

The Book of Disquiet.

 

4. Best opening line you ever read.

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. 

 

5. Most overrated book.

The Great Gatsby.

 

6. Book you read because of a review you saw here.

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (I've also bought The Heart is a Lonely Hunter).

 

7. Book you hated.

Blood Meridian.

 

8. Favourite line from any book.

"He had a tremendous wang, incidentally. You never know who'll get one."

 

9. Weirdest (experimental) book you've ever read.

Nothing too weird yet but I've almost completed 'if on a winter's night a traveller' which is a likely contender. 

 

Feel free to add your own questions.

 

 

 

Edited by hux
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  • hux changed the title to The Book Group Questionnaire

 

 

 

1. Your favourite book.

Invariably the one I'm currently reading

 

2. Saddest book you ever read.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

 

3. Book you read a paragraph or two from every now and then.

From a poetry book which changes from time to time

 

4. Best opening line you ever read.

No idea, sorry

 

5. Most overrated book.

The Great Gatsby.

 

6. Book you read because of a review you saw here.

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, amongst others, too numerous to mention

 

7. Book you hated.

Never hated a book in my life. Don't read books that I don't like and my life is too short for a strong emotion like hate

 

8. Favourite line from any book.

No idea, sorry

 

9. Weirdest book you've ever read.

Piranesi, Susanna Clarke holds that title, so far

 

10. Book(s) you enjoyed at the time but later wish you hadn't read
The Hannibal Lecter Collection

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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1. Your favourite book.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. In a category all of its own.

 

2. Saddest book you ever read.

"Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx : admittedly only a short story, and I confess to being influenced in my choice by Ang Lee's film adaptation.

 

3. Book you read a paragraph or two from every now and then.

I never dip into novels, but I frequently dip into poetry collections, and these notably include Shakespeare's Sonnets, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, and, above all, La Fontaine's Fables, which I always read aloud. Brilliant, and timeless.

 

4. Best opening line you ever read.

"Dora Greenfield left her husband because she was afraid of him. She decided six months later to return to him for the same reason." (The Bell by Iris Murdoch. It's two sentences admittedly, but it could have been just one. And they consummately sum up the contradictions inherent in all intimate relationships.)

 

5. Most overrated book.

Clearly The Bible.

 

6. Book you read because of a review you saw here.

Among many others: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (excellent BGO review by Mr HG).

 

7. Book you hated.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

 

8. Favourite line from any book.

"It is not." (Last line of Samuel Beckett's "Dante and the Lobster" - preceded by "Well, thought Belacqua, it's a quick death, God help us all." (A lobster has just been plunged into a pan of boiling water.)

 

9. Weirdest book you've ever read.

All depends on the meaning of "weird(est)"... But Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a clear contender.

 

10. Book(s) you enjoyed at the time but later wish you hadn't read
There are no books I regret having read. But, rereading as a mature adult, I've been disappointed by books I was totally enchanted by as an adolescent, the most obvious example being Elidor by Alan Garner. Not sure Richard Adams's Watership Down (which I adored aged around fifteen) would stand the test of time either...

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1. Your favourite book.

Grapes of Wrath

 

2. Saddest book you ever read.

Right now the one that comes to mind is A Short Walk from Harrods by Dirk Bogarde. He has had to leave his home in France and move back to London, watched his partner die and now waits to die himself. The end of a life, a well lived life, but an end all the same. Lots of Holocaust books and similar life changing event type books would fall into this category as well. 

 

3. Book you read a paragraph or two from every now and then.

Like Luna and JFP from poetry books rather than novels, MacNeice, Pushkin to name two.   

 

4. Best opening line you ever read.

Don't really remember them but liked the one JPF suggested. Never read the book but the line he quoted has made me add it to my TBR.

 

5. Most overrated book.

I would like to say the Bible like JFP but as I've never read it ............ I'll have to say Wuthering Heights.

 

6. Book you read because of a review you saw here.

That would be a long list but This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson would be top of it. 

 

7. Book you hated.

Not hated but didn't enjoy, lots and lots. I couldn't finish Don Quixote. 

 

8. Favourite line from any book.

Can't think of one but favourite lines from songs are "She comes back to tell me she's gone" from Graceland by Paul Simon and "Some rich men came and raped the land, nobody caught 'em, put up a bunch of ugly boxes and Jesus, people bought 'em.

 

9. Weirdest book you've ever read.

Lanny by Max Porter is kind of weird but good. The books and the subjects aren't weird but ones about the Holocaust, Rwanda, civil rights, war etc, what's weird is that somehow humanity has perpetrated these atrocities and the perpetrators have sought ways to justify their heinous crimes. While people were dying this last 12 months others were plundering public money. The dichotomy between compassion and selfishness is probably the basis for all the weirdness in the world. 

 

10. Book(s) you enjoyed at the time but later wish you hadn't read
Lots of books I read when I was younger I most likely wouldn't enjoy now, but I'm still glad I read them. If I hadn't read them, how do I gauge how good the books I read now are?

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On 01/04/2021 at 20:10, lunababymoonchild said:

10. Book(s) you enjoyed at the time but later wish you hadn't read

 

Not sure I understand this question. You mean books you grew out of, or books you initially liked but, putting some thought into it, concluded weren't that great.

 

The only thing that qualifies is Atwood's Blind Assassin. I enjoyed reading it and when I finished I thought it had been great. As the weeks and months went by, however, I started to think it was actually quite poor, overly melodramatic, and somewhat inconsequential and gimmicky. 

 

Edited by hux
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2 hours ago, hux said:

 

Not sure I understand this question. You mean books you grew out of, or books you initially liked but, putting some thought into it, concluded weren't that great.


I meant books you initially liked but, putting some thought into it, concluded weren't that great.

 

For me, that would be The Hannibal Lecter series. Read them when I enjoyed horror, saw the film with Anthony Hopkins and years later wish I hadn't read such graphic horror.  

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With 70 years of reading behind me it is impossible to remember which books are the best answer to any of the questions, as in any given year I would have a different answer to most. Without reference to my reading lists, I can barely remember books that I have had a strong reaction to at the time of reading.

I will attempt the questions, but the answers are what I recall today, and may be amended during the last weeks of BGO There are so many!

 

Your Favourite book. 

There are so many, but for the last 60+ years Little Women and Jane Eyre  have been at the top, or very near, and been re-read most times.

 

Saddest Book you Ever Read. 

 The one I remember being unable to read for the tears was a Sunday School prize called A Peep Behind The Scenes by Mrs O.F.Walton, published in 1877

 I think I was about 10 when I was given it, but I had to ask my mother to read a certain passage to me, as i couldn't see the print for my tears.

 

Book You Read a Paragraph or Two From Now and Again

The Bible - most days

 

 Best Opening Line You Ever Read

Almost certainly not the best, but the one that comes to mind every time whenever the subject comes up, and has done for many, many years - "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents"

 

 Most Overrated Book

 Sorry to be so unoriginal, but -The Great Gatsby.

I will also add Mrs Dalloway,  although I heard a discussion about that recently that made me think it might be worth reconsidering.  

 

 Book You Read Because of a Review You Saw Here.

There are quite a few, but This Thing Of Darkness by Harry Thompson and The Children's War by J.N. Stroyar are the two stand-out BGO recommendations for me.

 

Books You Hated

Damage by Josephine Hart.

It seems that the thread for this disappeared in one of our historic breaks in transmission.

Not sorry.

 

Favourite Line from Any Book

Not recalling anything at the moment, except the old favourite "Reader, I married him" from Jane Eyre.  

 

Weirdest (Experimental) book You've Ever Read

A toss up between Orlando - Virginia Woolf and Time's Arrow - Martin Amis

 

Books You Enjoyed At The Time But Later Wish You Hadn't Read

Still thinking about that one.

 

 

 

 

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A couple of things: if ever I were a guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, I would be quite happy to accept the deal and take The Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, and one other book (never sure what that would be...) I wouldn't try and exchange the Bible for something else...

 

When I listed The Bible as "clearly" the most overrated book, I perhaps interpreted "overrated" in the wrong way. The parts of it I have read are often parts I have been marked by. I think I meant that it's the most famous book in the western world, and overshadows others. (And of course, as is often pointed out, it's not a book at all, but a compendium of writings etc.)

 

Surprised to see The Great Gatsby chosen three times (out of three!) as the most overrated book. I came to it relatively late in life (in my late forties) when I was required to talk about it in class. I agree that it's not a very accessible book... The two cinema adaptations I have seen (there are others), Jack Clayton's from 1974 and Baz Luhrmann's from 2013 - with Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio respectively in the title roles -, paradoxically give an idea of what the novel might have been like if it had been written in a less convoluted style, which is, to my mind, the main obstacle.
That said, a number of my 2012-2013 students said that they preferred the novel to the Luhrmann film, which I took them to see when it came out.

 

PS: I did once set out to read the Bible in its entirety, but only managed a couple of hundred pages.

Three other notable examples of books I decided not to finish: Tolstoy's War and Peace (the "peace" parts are all right, but the "war" parts are incredibly tedious), Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Hugo's Les Misérables (I ploughed through precisely three-fifths of it in French - it's in five volumes).

Edited by jfp
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