I’ve seen this little book quiz running around the Net for a while now, and even Kevin Drum has given it his stamp of legitimacy. Sometimes I do participate in these sorts of things, but this particular one bothers me. So rather than responding to the questions, I’m just going to indicate why I think they’re such lousy questions:
Youâ€™re stuck in Fahrenheit 451. Which book would you be?
This implies that every “literate” person has read Fahrenheit 451. I could fake it and pretend I’ve read it, because it’s pretty obvious from context what the question is getting at and I have enough “cultural literacy” to know that F451 is about bookburning, but I’m also a little peeved at the suggestion. F451 is the ultimate bookworm’s book, a book where censorship is the pinnacle of tragedy. Hey, I’m as offended by the idea of censorship as the next guy, but I can think of worse things, too.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Oh, get a life, loser!
What is the last book you bought?
Again, an opportunity for bloggers to show off their worldliness. I wonder how many bloggers went out and bought a book just to have a sufficiently cool response to this question. Actually, I can answer that right now: none. Now as to how many opened a tab with Amazon or Powell’s, that’s another matter entirely.
What are you currently reading?
A list of stupid questions.
Oh, you meant what book am I currently reading. Y’know, there’s other stuff to read besides books, but more to the point, who cares? If I really wanted to impress, I could open up any number of “intellectual” books off my shelf and say I’m “reading” them.
What five books would you take to a deserted island?
I kinda like Drum’s “How to build a raft in 30 days” response. I do think that gets to the heart of the matter. A true bookworm’s response to getting stuck on a desert island would be to find the snuggest little corner to tuck in and read a nice book. My response would be to try to find a way off. If that truly was impossible, I’d probably start a journal.
This is not to say that I don’t like books. I do, I’m just not obsessed with them. I went to school with a girl who truly was obsessed. You probably know someone like her (and if you went to school with me, you probably know exactly who I’m talking about). You would never spot her without her eyes seemingly connected to the book she was holding. She’d walk down the street reading, sit on the playground reading during recess, walk up the school steps reading, even read books in class, even in English class. If she ever makes it to heaven, you can bet she’ll be there sitting in a corner reading the Bible to see what it’s like.