Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Who is your favorite author? Lights on or off?

Today's prompt from NaBloPoMo is, "What's your favorite author?"

I answer this question similarly to yesterday's question. How can I have a favorite author!? That's like choosing a favorite flower!

(I wonder if psychologists have a name for people who can't choose a favorite anything.)

Some writers I did not mention yesterday are Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. I can't really be sure that Jane Eyre is my favorite book, however, and none of Jane Austen's stand out as my favorite.

Does anyone remember those "get to know your friends" e-mail surveys that used to go around? There was one in particular that I would get every six months or so. This was the pre-Facebook Internet time-waster in which, like Facebook, you got to talk about yourself and share that information with your Internet friends. Sandwiched in between innocuous questions such as, "What is your favorite author?" "What is your favorite color?" were oddly placed questions about one's sex life. Sometimes they weren't so explicit as to be obvious, questions such as, "What's your number?" could naively be answered with one's lucky number or phone number. "Lights on or off?" would just confuse the survey taker, but once they got to "Shirt on or off?", they might have started to catch on.

Anyway, when I took those surveys, I usually answered, "What's your favorite book?" or "What's your favorite author?" with whatever I was reading at the time, if I liked it, and if not, I'd answer with the most recent book I'd read and enjoyed. Come to think of it, I did this on Facebook, too, when I kept that part of my profile regularly updated. (Before things like Facebook Photos and the status update were around to occupy my wasted time.)

Currently, I am reading a lot of Supreme Court stuff and some books on grant-writing. The last book I started reading was My Antonia by Willa Cather. The last (and only) time I read that book was in tenth grade. I certainly appreciate it more now than I did as a sixteen-year-old, although at that age, while I felt that the book was slow enough to be dry and a bit too sad, I did notice that the imagery was wonderful, written in beautiful language. Now, I understand why my tenth grade teacher read My Antonia herself, every spring, and why it was her favorite book. The language is not only beautiful, but it is also original. Willa Cather's similes and metaphors are so, so, clever, in a way I've never seen before. Perhaps later, I will type up a few examples to share on this blog.

In a few weeks, summer classes will be over, and perhaps I can pick up My Antonia again. And then, I will read through the other twenty-four novels in the 99-cent collection of classics I bought for my Nook one late, sleepless night. (This is a benefit of the Nook 3G as compared to the Wi-fi-only Nook.) Or perhaps I will seek out some Willa Cather that is new to me, something other than My Antonia or O Pioneers! (which, despite a title that sounds like a parody of Boring Stuff You're Forced To Read In High School, my tenth-grade self enjoyed much more than My Antonia.)

For the record, My Antonia is still sad to me, even when I know what is going to happen. (I have forgotten much of it, including the ending, so this isn't quite a spoiler. I forgot if the ending is sad. There are just sad things that happen in the book.) One thing it makes me think about now, which I didn't consider as a tenth grader, is the issue of immigration. The Bohemian and Scandinavian immigrants in the nineteenth century Midwest seemed strange to the more established Americans in My Antonia, even though they themselves descended from immigrants who could not possibly have come to the United States very long before their own lifetimes. The prejudice they exhibit toward their new neighbors is ridiculous, and I think it says something about issues this country faces today. European immigrants would not face the same negative treatment today as do the characters in My Antonia, yet immigrants from other parts of the world do. Someday, those prejudices will seem pretty ridiculous.

And now, here is a picture that is completely unrelated to anything in this post, but it was just something in the "to blog about" pile.

Not only did I think the fern was nice, since I have a thing for ferns, but what really led me to take the picture was when my friend, E, remarked, "That's the only baby you want!" At the moment, that's true!

Who is your favorite author? What are you reading now?

1 comment:

Oilbird said...

Awww, your fern baby!