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Facebook Literary Quiz

Thanks to Grants gentle prodding and the fact that he provided me with the username and password I had forgotten, Im posting again.This is follow up to Mollies June 17 post on summer reading. Those who have ventured onto Facebook know that a favorite pastime there is taking quizzes designed to reveal something about you. Below is a version of one of the literary quizzes, along with my answers.***"Rules: You have received this note because someone thinks you are a literary geek. Copy the questions into your own note, answer the questions, and tag any friends who would appreciate the quiz, including the person who sent you this."Don't bother trying to italicize your book titles, even though we know you want to...1. What is the most difficult book you've ever read? (Kants Critique of Pure Reason)2. Do you prefer the French or the Russians? (The Russians, no contest)3. Roth or Updike? (Roth)4. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? (Im reading Paradise Lost right now, so I guess its Milton)5. Austen or Eliot? (Eliot; its heresy but I cant stand Austen)6. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? (Joyce)7. What is your favorite novel? (Cormac McCarthys The Crossing is right up there)8. Who is your favorite writer? (Wendell Berry because his work is beautiful in three different genres, fiction, poetry, and essays)9. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? (Im going to define overrated as a writer who has received enormous acclaim, but whose work just doesnt engage me. With that definition: Annie Proulx, Ive tried The Shipping News multiple times, but have never made it past 100 pages.)10. What is your desert island book? (My Kindle, with solar cells attached)

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Here's mine. Feel free to chastise/agree as you see fit.1. Melville's "The Confidence Man." And by read, of course I mean tried to read.2. Russians3. Haven't read Updike, but see 94. Shakespeare... but I defy the need to choose!5. Eliot6. Anything after 19607. Moby Dick8. Tie: Melville, Twain & Paul Scott9. Another Tie: Philip Roth & Umberto Eco10. Brothers Karamazov

1. Finnegan's Wake/Philosophical Investigations of Wittgenstein2. The Russians.3. Neither. 4. Chaucer. (Had way better Chaucer professor in college)5. Austen. (It's close, but though I have read Eliot, I have reread Austen).6. Joyce (Right there with you)7. The Tin Drum (best literary work of the 20th century, in my estimation) 8. Auden9. A.S. Byatt10. Spy novels of LeCarre

I have no desire to do all that, but I think Barbara and I are much on the same page, especially Wittgenstein and on the other end Le Carre.I can't see how Eco is overrated, he'd be high on my list.And, finally, what wqe often need today in this nutsy world is the humor of a Vonegut and his sci-fi adventures of Kilgore Trout.

1. Jesus: An Experiment in Christology by Edward Schillebeeckx2. Russians3. Updike4. Shakespeare5. Austen 6. Haven't read Anna Karenina or one word of Proust7. The Brothers Karamazov8. It will be Audrey Niffenegger if her next books are as good as The Time Traveler's Wife9. Toni Morrison10. If PL can say his Kindle, then I say mine

1. The Tractatus by far. Still can't claim to really understand most of it.2. Dostoievsky. 3. Updike.4. Shakespeare.5. Austen. P&P. Even her other works don't come close. Except for Emma, the others are boring..6. Biggest gap? Let me count the ways . . . Kant (yeah), Virgil, Tolstoi, Cervantes, Joyce, Pound, . . 7. P&P8. Wittgenstein, in spite of it all.9. Nietzsche. Fine for adolescents.10. The Bible.There's only one novelist whose new books I look forward to, though he's not a giant -- Richard Russo. He has a new novel coming out in August. The humanity of the man is most appealing.

1. What is the most difficult book youve ever read? Bernard Lonergans Insight: A Study of Human Understanding (1958). Do yourself a favor and start with Method in Theology (1972) and work back to Insight.2. Do you prefer the French or the Russians? The Russians. The question should be the Russians or the Irish; still the Russians would edge out the Irish.3. Roth or Updike? Andre Dubus, John Irving, Richard Russo.4. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? Shakespeare5. Austen or Eliot? Dickens6. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? Ive never made it through Garcia Marquezs One Hundred Years of Solitude even though I lived three years in Latin America (Chile), nor have I read the great Indian Authors like Rushdie or Roy. Someday I need to try V.S. Naipul. Ive actually been able to plow through War and Peace and liked it (and also just so I could say I read it for lists like these, but have not gotten to Tolstoys other great works like Anna Karenina or The Kingdom of God is Within You.) Finally cracked the code for Joyces Ulysses in 2006 with the help of those lectures by the Ivy League Prof. on those ubiquitous CDs in the public library. 7. What is your favorite novel? Only One? Greene, The Power and the Glory; Morrison, Beloved; Doctorow, City of God; Franzen, The Corrections; Russos Nobodys Fool, Irvings World According to Garp and Cider House Rules. Ok, Ok, Ill stop there8. Who is your favorite writer? To work at, Joyces Ulysses. To admire, Morrisons Beloved; To understand my world(s), Russo and Irving. For fun, Stephen King, an amazingly underrated writer.9. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? Thomas Pynchon (was Vineland about anything?) and is Mason & Dixon worth the effort? Is his work any good at all, or just postmodernism run amok?10. What is your desert island book? After the obligatory Bible and Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The Brothers Karamazov and Stephen Kings On Writing.This kept me procrastinating todays writing for half an hour. Back to work

1. What is the most difficult book youve ever read? Matbe the Spiritual Exercises - not hard to understand but hard to do 2. Do you prefer the French or the Russians? The French - I'm about half French3. Roth or Updike? Haven't read either, to my shame4. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? Shakespeare, especially if I can instead watch movies made of his works .... Polanski's Macbeth, Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, Zeffirelli's Hamlet and his Romeo and Juliet, etc.5. Austen or Eliot? Austen6. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? I have not read much modern literature but have spent more time with genre stuff like science fiction, fantasy, horror7. What is your favorite novel? Hard to choose - some favorites are The Three Musketeers by Dumas, Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by PK Dixk, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, The Dead Zone by Stephen King,The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke8. Who is your favorite writer? Changes all the time9. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? Perhaps the woman who wrote the Twilight series 10. What is your desert island book? Eek - maybe Plato's Republic and Sartre's Nausea :)

Rick, take it on my authority that you can safely skip Naipaul if you expect novels to have well-developed characters or plot.

1. What is the most difficult book youve ever read? Tie: Finnegan's Wake and Aristotle's Metaphysics2. Do you prefer the French or the Russians? The Russians3. Roth or Updike? Early Updike, Later Roth4. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? Shakespeare5. Austen or Eliot? Eliot6. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? Austen7. What is your favorite novel? I can't have just one! Ulysses, Once and Future King, Chronicles of Narnia8. Who is your favorite writer? Poetry: TS Eliot, Fiction: Joyce, Essays: Anne Lamott9. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? Newt Gingrich10. What is your desert island book? I have to say my Kindle as well... sort of like picking Wagner's Ring for the piece of music on a desert island.