Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Literary Speed Dating Meme

I first saw this really neato meme over at Scrivenings, and now New Kid's done an expanded version of it. It's created by Julie and based on an actual speed-dating event at a Boston-area bookstore, in which singles bring and discuss three of their favorite books as a way of breaking the ice.

Julie says: "Let's pretend this is a literary speed dating event, and since we're not really going to date each other, I can have literary speed dating crushes on girls OR boys (the horror!), everyone can have a crush on Scrivener, Phantom Scribbler, or Mel even though they're all happily married (not to each other), and everyone can have a literary speed dating crush on Dr. B except me, because she loves Middlemarch."

Pausing to add that I, too, love Middlemarch, I'll recapituate what I said earlier at Scrivener's place. I'd pick:

1. The Body in Pain--Elaine Scarry
2. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
3. Parable of the Sower/Parable of the Talents--Octavia E. Butler.

Some might argue with the "literariness" of The Body in Pain, but I love this book so much precisely because it is philosophy which reads like a poem. A particularly earth-shattering poem, at that. And "speed dates" capable of making a good joke about S&M when they saw it on the virtual coffee table would get early extra credit.
SGGK is kinda a no-brainer. Who doesn't love it, really?
Technically, item 3 is two books, but it's a series, and you really have to talk about them together. I read them earlier this year, and they absolutely blew my mind.

And when Scrivener was dubious about my choosing SGGK, I responded:
Yes! SGGGK really is a no-brainer. It contains:
1) One big-ass green dude who can get his head chopped off with impunity.
2) One slightly annoying hero who realizes, by the end, that he's slightly annoying.
3) Aforementioned hero's additional realization, by the end, that the Arthurian court is kinda full of it.*
4) Seduction scenes in which the wife of said hero's host traps him in his bed each morning--because he (like most medieval aristocrats) sleeps in the nude--and demands kisses from him.
5) Said kisses must be rendered back to the male host (who turns out to be none other than the Green Knight himself). Oooh la la!
6) Said seduction scenes are very explicitly linked to scenes in which aforementioned host/husband is hunting down game. Sexy.
7) Morgan le Fay makes a cameo appearance. And Morgan is The Shit.
8) Gorgeous Middle English verse, which I would happily read aloud to prospective dates.What's not to like?
To imitate New Kid's expansion, I'll add my Kid-Lit list . . .
1) C.S. Lewis--The Chronicles of Narnia (which, like her, I'd buy as one volume so it'd count and because it'd give me an excuse to buy this version, which I've lusted after since it was published.)
2) Susan Cooper--The Dark is Rising (if box sets count as one volume, I'd bring the whole series, although I heartily despise the cover art on the new editions)
3) Alice and Martin Provensen--Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm

. . . And my "Turn-off" list (i.e., a combination on someone else's table that would be seriously unappealing):
1) Anything at all by John Gray
2) Pretty much anything by Charles Dickens
3) A volume of William Wordsworth's poetry.

Ugh. I really feel a little queasy just thinking about that combination. And no, I'm not linking to any of those things. Blech.

*It must be said that not everyone would agree with me on items #2 and #3.