500 Subscriber Q&A: Part Three

1) Caleb: Please elaborate on your relationship to and interest in breakfast cereals. (I've long wanted to read T.C. Boyle's novel The Road to Wellville, owing to my obsession with cereals. Current favorites are Cap'n Crunch, Chocolate Chex and Special K Fruit n Yogurt.)

2) Matthew L: What is one big, IMPORTANT writer that you just don't get or like, despite their reputation? (Years ago, when we read Kafka on the Shore in our book club, my best friend said that if Murakami ever wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, he'll fly to Stockholm and streak the ceremony.)

3) Totally Pretentious: Since I know you're a Christian, I'm wondering what you think of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (I was wanting to mention that the LDS church sounds very much to me like a version of The Church of Christ Without Christ in Wise Blood, but I haven't read Wise Blood, so I thought it best not to...)

4) Paul Kennedy: If you could visit a location anywhere in the world where a book was set or where a scene from a book took place, where would it be and why? (I really wish I had the photos from Berlin saved on my computer. I need to look into that. But I'll never forget standing at the feet of that gold angel. If I were to go with a book: I'd love to buy a ticket to the Sirkus in Peter Carey's The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith.)

5) Kaelin Reads: What is your vote for PBS's Great American Read? (Because of my irritation at their methodology in putting the project together, I haven't followed it at all -- which is irksome, too, because I was SO excited for it when I first heard about it. My video about why I was so upset is linked below.)

6) Thomas Roy: When studying English Literature at university, what was your favorite class or book? (The class I wanted to take more than any other in college was a dual English / Women's Studies class called Victorian Women's Lives. That was the one and only time in my life I ever felt the victim of sexism. One needed a specific prerequisite to take the course or permission from the instructor. I didn't have the prerequisite, but I had taken a 4000-level course in Victorian Poetry and received an A in it, was in the honors program, and made the formal request to be admitted. I was turned down. And I found out later in the semester that there wasn't a single man in it. I really wanted to take that class. I still think about it, still wonder about what all must have been discussed. I was in the minority in my Victorian Poetry class, thinking Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry far superior to Robert Browning's.)

7) Lillian Nieswender: What is the difference between crocheting and knitting? (When I was trying to teach myself to knit, I would get so angry that I'd be yelling and cussing and likely turning purple. I realized it was having the opposite effect on me it was meant to have, so whenever I'd sit down for another attempt, I would only ever do so in the Barnes & Noble cafe, because being surrounded by people in a public place meant that I couldn't yell and cuss.)

8) Marc Nash: A serious litfic book from Europe or Africa that you've never read gets made into a movie with glowing reviews, but it's not playing in Wyoming, though it is available on import DVD. Which do you tackle first? The book or the movie? (Again, my answer is more to do with my being largely or entirely unfamiliar with the book in question. Now if it were a book I hadn't read but that happened to be by a favorite author of mine -- I might tackle the book first. But even then -- probably the movie. Especially if it was made by a director I really admire. And especially if my favorite critic, A.O. Scott, was recommending it.)

9) Bookish: If you could take a fishing trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you fish for? (I know the expected answer would be swordfish or some such thing, but I just love how bass fight. And one doesn't get to fish much for them around here.)

10) Jo Smith: If you could inhabit the world of any novel, which one would it be? (If I were a woman, therefore making it possible, I'd also quite like to inhabit Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy. There is something in me that craves that life of cloistered silence and devotion.)

My videos on PBS's Great American Read project:


Fly Fishing