Monday, April 12, 2010

Harkaway Reader Survey

If I've convinced any of you to read The Gone-Away World, which I've said repeatedly is one of my favorite books of the last few years, then you'll be interested to know that the author, Nick Harkaway, is doing a reader survey and would like to know more about you--that is, if you're one of his readers. As you should be.

Here's how I responded:

Who are you? I don’t mean your name, I mean how do you see yourself?

I'm a reader, a PhD in English, a Writing Center Director, an adjunct professor of English, a mother, a wife, a cat owner, and a person who is fond of reading satire, attending the theater, and building sand castles at the beach.

2. How did you find out about The Gone-Away World?

I saw it on the shelf of new fiction at the public library, and then read about it on a list of top ten favorite novels at a now-defunct book blog.

3. What else do you read?

As you know, I have a whole blog about what I read—mostly fiction. Recently I enjoyed City of Thieves. Olive Kitteridge was one of my favorite book from last year, along with The Year of the Flood.

4. Do you / would you read books on an ebook reader?

I’m not totally opposed to the idea, but I’m not going to go out and buy an ebook reader anytime soon.

5. Jacket designs and blurbs… Did you like the jacket on the edition of TGAW you read? Which one was it? Did it suck you in or did you have to overcome it? Same with the cover copy, the blurb: was it any good? What would you have said about the book?

I don’t respond to images as much as words, so it’s the title that intrigued me.

6. I’m thinking of making up some tea towels and stuff with “the tree of nonsense is watered with error and from its branches swing the pumpkins of disaster” on them. Does that sound like fun, or is it just a totally dumb idea?

It’s never a dumb idea to make add something funny to the world. I once had a bunch of shot glasses printed with the words “squirrel brushes” on them to amuse my friends and puzzle their children.

7. TGAW spinoff comic or something: fun? Dull? Sellout garbage?

It wouldn’t be the kind of fun I’d get into. Call us stuffy, but no one I know well enjoys comics or manga or whatever you want to call it.

8. What should I have asked you?

Maybe you should have asked me why I’m such a fan of The Gone-Away World—the answer is because it’s not like any other book I’ve ever read.

You could have asked me if I’m discouraged about my career (yes) or where I went on my last trip (Philadelphia) or whether I think it’s rude of Wal-Mart to put the canned tomatoes in a different aisle from the rest of the vegetables (well, yes).

You might be interested to know that I’ve mentioned you four times on my blog, along with Alexander McCall Smith, Daniel Waters, E. Nesbit, Joan Slonczewski, John Green, Jonathan Swift, Marsha Altman, Moises Kaufman, Rick Riordan, Roald Dahl, Sherman Alexie, Stieg Larsson, Tennessee Williams, and William Goldman.


FreshHell said...

I almost started it last week and then got distracted. Plus, I'd put the second Stieg Larsson book on hold at the library and it came in and it's a two-week loaner. I'll get right on the Harkaway soon. Promise.

Anonymous said...

I really liked your answers, particularly to the questions not asked.

Betty (Beth) said...

Oh! I finished it back in December and absolutely loved it! :-) I suppose I need to post up a review of that sometime!

Thanks for sending it my way, and I'll definitely do the reader survey!

Jodie said...

I bought it so I'm half way to reading it :)

Jenny said...

A reader survey - that's a neat idea! Is this common? I've never heard of such a thing before.

Jeanne said...

FreshHell, Remember that it takes about 70 pages before most people get hooked.

ReadersGuide, ha, glad you liked them. Any excuse to run on.

Betty, yes, I'd like to hear what you think about the book! I just went over and read the replies posted as comments--a very eclectic collection. (I tried to post mine as a comment, but something wasn't working, so I emailed it to him.)

Jodie, I want to hear what you think about it when you're finished!

Jenny, I think the reader survey idea is as original as the book itself.

Care said...

Squirrel brushes?

Jeanne said...

Care, a friend's mother had a bunch of shot glasses in a box in her attic labeled "squirrel brushes." The friend and her kids started calling them that, and there was group-vacation-hilarity that led to the custom-made ones we sent everyone one Christmas.