as if i haven’t already amply proven my nerdiness….

as if i haven’t already amply proven my nerdiness…

Hi, my name is Yasmine and, lately, all my posts seem to be about books. I am a complete and utter nerd. The end.

Alright, so Baji is making me do this survey thingamajig under threat of incarceration, which actually doesn’t seem so bad if it means I get to take all my books with me.

Let’s begin:

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Apparently, everyone is hella confused about this question. If you’re asking what book I want to douse in gasoline and light a match to, then, to be honest, I really have no idea. I usually only buy books I’ve already read and liked, so I’m slightly attached to all the books in my bookcases. If there were any I ever disliked, I most likely sold them back.

Oh wait, I know! Jasmine, by Bharati Mukherjee. It was handed to me by my 10th grade English teacher, who was amused by the similarity between my name and the protagonist’s and thought I would enjoy a novel by a South Asian writer. Umm, no. First of all, we all know how much I hate hate hate the name “Jasmine.” Vomitrocious! [See below.] Secondly, Jasmine was just highly annoying and kept making stupid life mistakes and apparently had multiple personalities because she kept changing her damn name: Jyoti>>Jasmine>>Jase>>Jazz>>Jane. What the holy freakin’ smoley?

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Do they have to be fictional characters from books? Because I did want to marry MacGuyver when I grew up. Okay, fine, at the risk of destroying any sort of literary credibility I’ve established, I would have to admit to crushing on the Goblin King from Labyrinth. Hey, I was ten. I remember watching the movie a few years later and just about dying of laughter (it was released in 1986, so what do you expect? Most other ’80s movies I grew up with totally rocked though). The Goblin King sounded much better in the book than he looked in the movie. I was a shallow kid, okay?

And I don’t think this constitutes crushing, but I’ve certainly always had a soft spot for Sidney Carton (he’s so damn jaded yet genuine) from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and for Charlie Gordon from Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon. I read the latter for the first time when I was about twelve, and I think it was the second book that made me cry. The first book was Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows, when I was ten. I wanted a best friend like Billy Colman, and I totally bawled my eyes out when Old Dan and Little Ann died. Alright, I think that’s it.

The last book you bought is:

How to Eat Like a Child: And Other Lessons in Not Being a Grown-Up, by Delia Ephron with drawings by Edward Koren. I bought it a couple of days ago from the Friends of the Library section at my local public library, and it’s hardcover, so it cost $1. Paperbacks cost fifty cents. The flyleaf says, in cursive handwriting dated 7/25/79, To Alexis, This is so you never forget how to act like a child. Love, Gwyneth.

Highlights include sections entitled “How to Laugh Hysterically,” “How to Tell a Joke” (Immediately repeat ten times.), “How to Torture Your Sister,” “How to Talk on the Telephone” (Hello. Are you English? Are you Swedish? Are you Italian? Are you Finnish? Well I am. Goodbye.), etc. The crowd-pleasing “How to Express an Opinion” offers the following word choices:

Yucky
Gross
Dis-gusting
Ugh
Sick
Sickening
Scuzzy
Smell-y
Oh, barf
Creepy
Icky
Obnoxious
Boy, is this dumb
Creeps
Crummy
Vomitrocious

And how could I not share with you all the author’s sage advice on how to eat ice cream cones?

Ask for a double scoop. Knock the top scoop off while walking out the door of the ice cream parlor. Cry. Lick the remaining scoop slowly so that ice cream melts down the outside of the cone and over your hand. Stop licking when the ice cream is even with the top of the cone. Be sure it is absolutely even. Eat a hole in the bottom of the cone and suck the rest of the ice cream out the bottom. When only the cone remains with ice cream coating the inside, leave on car dashboard.

…and french fries?

Wave one french fry in air for emphasis while you talk. Pretend to conduct orchestra. Then place four fries in your mouth at once and chew. Turn to your sister, open your mouth, and stick out your tongue coated with potatoes. Close mouth and swallow. Smile.

I freakin’ love this book! LIKE OH MY GOD, BECKY, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. Okay, I’ll stop now.

The day before that amusing purchase, I bought Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart for $1 from the American Cancer Society shop in downtown.

The last book you read:

Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, a “biomythography” of her life as a queer woman of color. While the writing is pretty sexually provocative at times, it is for the most part also lovely, poetic, and fascinating enough that I’ve left dog-eared pages all the way through the book. If you can handle reading about queer women of color, then I highly recommend it.

What are you currently reading?

Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. It was assigned reading for a womens studies course I took last quarter. I’ve only just started it, so I am quite obviously an academic slacker. Also, I read two chapters of Karen Armstrong’s new memoir, The Spiral Staircase : My Climb Out of Darkness, standing up in the unversity bookstore this morning, so I think that totally counts, especially since I’m planning on buying it eventually, unless I just end up finishing it by reading a few chapters every time I stop by the place. And last night, I started Deafening, by Frances Itani, which I had bought months ago (for $1!) and then promptly forgotten all about.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

Do you realize how painful a question this is? You’re killing me. Five?! Geez louise. Alright, here we go:

The Quran, as edited by Abduallah Yusuf Ali, because I agree with Baji – footnotes are a good thing. And I haven’t read the entire Quran in translation nearly enough times yet.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle. If there was one single book that helped me survive eighteen months in Pakistan (ten years ago) with limited reading material in English, this was it. My brother and I swapped it back and forth and discussed each story in detail, endlessly. Not to mention all the times the binding started coming apart and I had to keep gluing the pages back in. The brother still has it, because we’re all sentimental fools in this family. Hardcovered, four novels, fifty-six short stories, over one thousand pages… The island’s not looking so bad after all.
The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. “The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert.” Hey, if he can make it, why can’t I? It’s a simple, rich, and poweful little book.
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales, by Ray Bradbury. Quantity and quality, all at once. I love this man. ‘Nuff said.
The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, as edited and translated by Stephen Mitchell. As I mentioned recently, I love this book; it’s definitely one of my favorites. The funny thing is, though, that I keep re-reading the same poems and bits of prose over and over, so I definitely need a desert island in order to make it through the book in its entirety.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Baji is making this so difficult by already having picked the other bookworms I can think of straight off the top of my head. Who else likes books around here? Alright, here goes:

Najm: because my fellow vampire child was online really late the other night, and, in response to my interrogative inquiries [is this a redundant phrase?], he confessed it was because he had been reading a really good book. In my haste to go to sleep, I forgot to ask what the really good book was. I also want to know what all those other books are, the ones he’s stockpiling on his shelves but has never gotten around to reading in their entirety. [Dammit, kk beat me to this. I shoulda posted this deal last night instead of saving it as a draft. What was I thinking? Well, fine then! I’ll find someone else! So there.]

BAQ: because he’s a bookworm and I know it, and also because, as with me, conciseness is not his strong suit either, which means I’m anticipating a pretty thorough post in response, so I’m already rubbing my hands together in giddy expectation. Also because maybe this will give him a push to update.

Queen_Hera: because she is the absolute best QUEEN of books, and I can imagine her eyes lighting up at these questions, and only someone with such an enormous collection of books would appreciate my excessive nerdiness.

bki./: because he likes Eric Carle (which is always a selling point with me), but he clearly also likes a lot of other literary stuff as well, if his awesomely-composed “globalog” is anything to go by. Besides, he knows German. How many of you know German, huh?

Also, I’d like to cheat (and monopolize this quiz thingamajig) by saying that I’d enjoy hearing from the following people as well, if you’re up to it:

Yaser: because he’s blunt and straight to the point, which I think is an admirable quality and so I always always trust his book reviews.

Fathima: because I want to know what books are being read/recommended by someone who writes as amazingly as she does mashaAllah.

HijabMan: because I’m thinking it’s going to be good, unexpected, or, at the very least, definitely different and thought-provoking.

Sister Scorpion: because she reads everything. Also, because someday I would like to be as articulate, open-minded, hilarious, and talented (say, “MashaAllah”). So I gotta get a head start by stalking her bookshelves.

Knicq: because he needs to update that joint already, and nagging fellow ramblers is so much fun. Plus, he thinks I’m funny, for some reason, and I totally suck at accepting compliments, so this is my lame kindergarten way of responding along the lines of, “Thanks, I think you’re cool, too, so, Tag! You’re IT!” [Okay, kk beat me here, too. Ugh! Creeps! Crummy! I give up.]

If you absolutely love books and I’ve inadvertently left you out, feel free to participate. Let me know so I can add to my ever-increasing list of future books to read. On the other hand, if you’re not a bookworm at all, please accept my deepest apologies. We’re so outta control. I accept full blame.

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