What, in fact, is a meme? I've always understood it to be a series of questions, like the ones below, that pass from blog to blog. In fact I thought it might be a sort of corruption of "me! me!", because it gives you the chance to talk about yourself. How wrong can one be? It apparently 'relates to the Greek word μιμητισμός ([mɪmetɪsmos]) for "something imitated"'. This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
A meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream") is a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.
Well, I suppose the sort of thing bloggers do with them could just about fit that definition. Here's a meme that I saw today on Cornflower, who "got it from from Bookish NYC via Life must be filled up".
Do you snack while reading? Sometimes!
What is your favourite drink while reading? A cup of coffee, though nowadays it has to be decaff, sadly.
Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? No I don't, or hardly ever, anyway. It does horrify me when people write in pen, but a light pencil mark doesn't bother me and I might make one myself if I need to remember something or find it again.
How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat? Dog-ears never. A bookmark if I can find one, or a strip of paper if I can't. Unlike Wordsworth, who was once seen marking his place with a piece of bread and jam.
Fiction, non-fiction or both? Almost always fiction, unless it's a biography.
Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere? I read to the end of the chapter unless I'm unable to keep awake.
Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? I have thrown books in my day, yes.
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? No -- I almost never look up words, just hope I guess them right.
What are you currently reading? I recently started Wolf Hall and then stopped because I had to read something for a book group. I shall get back to it again soon. Meanwhile I've just picked up Margery Allingham's Cargo of Eagles to read on the plane home from France tonight.
What is the last book you bought? Three novels by JG Farrell should be waiting for me when I get home -- a special offer from The Book People, £4.99 for three!
Do you have a favourite time/place to read? I do most of my reading in bed, and generally at night. I'm not above retiring to bed with a book in the afternoon if I'm really tired. And my idea of total indulgence is to stay in bed reading in the morning.
Do you prefer series books or stand-alones? I don't really have a preference but I do like a good series - I read a lot of detective novels and the ones I enjoy tend to come that way -- those of Andrew Taylor, Martin Edwards, Kathy Reichs, to name but a few.
Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over? I am constantly urging people to read Sebastian Barry -- The Secret Scripture is wonderful, but his best is A Long Long Way.
How do you organise your books (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)? By colour, which irritates some people a lot for some reason. And before you ask -- yes, I can almost always find what I'm looking for -- I must have a good visual memory?
Barbara's additional question: background noise or silence? Silence every time.