Harriet tagged me for this meme about books about two weeks ago. I've been busy with that usual middle-of-October chaos, so this is rather late. I envy Harriet her eighty words a minute sometimes.
Anyway, the drill is to answer the questions, then tag some people – I haven't, as everyone I would tag has already responded, in one fashion or another – and when you’ve done it you email beanphoto at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you did it so he can go and collect it. And ask the bloggers you tag to do the same.
1. Most memorable place/experience reading a book?
So many possibilities for this answer - certainly the golden and glorious afternoon in which I devoured Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the first time, the incredible frustration of trying to plow through Alison Weir's Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley while on a gorgeous location, any of a number of Jane Austen novels reread while while crossing the Atlantic, the pure joy when I finally laid hands on a copy of A Candle in Her Room after thirty years and found that not only did I still love it, but that I appreciated the author's brilliance a lot more than I once did - and I note that the first titles which came to mind were all penned by women, which may or may not be significant.
If pinned down, perhaps because of the season, I'd have to give the nod to House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I took a senior seminar on Hawthorne - I don't know if we read all of the man's work, but we came awfully close. Gables is fairly creepy on its own, but after reading so many of NH's short stories, my mind already dashed off to dark corners and spooky setting before I read the first page.
I finally found sanctuary in the common room of my dormitory. With the low murmur of the television and chatter from other students to ground a corner of my subconcious in reality, I curled up in a corner and read the book in one sitting. I still found the book creepy, but I no longer feared that I'd make too much noise by turning the page.
2. Most unusual place/experience reading a book?
Studying for qualifying exams - I went a week without glasses or contacts but had to go on reading. I still feel great affection for Born For Liberty by Sara Evans because it had unusually large print.
3. Most dangerous place/experience reading a book?
I've snuck in coffee to a few libraries where beverages were banned, does that count?
Occasionally I've felt unsafe in the stacks at large university libraries - the sight lines are, obviously, dreadful, and it wouldn't be hard to hide a crime (or other naughty activity, such as coffee drinking) behind a pillar.
4. Most luxurious place/experience reading a book?
The weekend before the US AP exam I stayed at the home of a friend who lived on the Atlantic Ocean. I reread all of my notes and both textbooks sitting on a bay window's window seat, watching the waves roll in.
5. Funniest place/experience reading a book? Or, add a reading-place/experience description of your own.
Hmmm... lots of times when I have agonized over trying to remember a title, only to discover the book right next to me... Sharyn McCrumb's Killing Susan made me laugh so long and so often that I reread it three times in as many days.
Weir's Mary, Queen of Scots reduced me to frequently grumbling aloud to friends and family, "just kill the man, already!" - does that count?
The old saw about "not judging a book by its cover" proved, just once, to be entirely accurate; at a small local library branch, I spotted a John Bellairs book propped on top of a bookcase. I'd never heard of Bellairs, but the cover picture screamed out, "I was drawn by Edward Gorey." What further recommendation could I ask; Gorey and a librarian? All true: Bellairs' books (and the follow-ups by Brad Strickland) are wonderful.