Seven Bookish Virtues Tag

Patience, the left-hand lion of the New York Public Library

I haven’t done a tag for a long time, but this one caught my eye — borrowed from Calmgrove, who borrowed it from Re-enchantment of the World. Countering the seven deadly sins, what are the bookish virtues we can consider?

Which author, book or series do you wish you’d never read

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. In fact, I wish this book did not exist.

Alternate question (suggested by Lizzie in the comments): What special book have you saved for the right time to read?

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I’m so glad that unlike LOTF, this was not spoiled for me by being forced on me in school — and that I waited till I had a certain amount of maturity to appreciate it.

Which book or series did you find so good that you didn’t want to read it all at once, and you read it in doses just to make the pleasure last longer?

I don’t think I have ever done this! Temperance is obviously not a virtue of mine.

Which book, series or author do you tirelessly push to others, telling them about it or even giving away spare copies bought for that reason?

Nobody who has followed my blog for any length of time will be surprised when I answer Diana Wynne Jones.

Which series or author do you follow no matter what happens and how long you have to wait?

It used to be DWJ but sadly, she is no longer with us. Likewise with Ursula K. LeGuin and Robertson Davies. I would eagerly read another book by Susannah Clarke (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) but she seems to be no longer writing books.

**Addendum: Jenny told me in the comments that Clarke does in fact have a new book on the way!**

Hmm, what else…. there’s the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. I think the last one is coming out soon, and I’ve never been disappointed by these.

Is there an author, book or series you’ve read that improved with time the most, starting out unpromising but ultimately proving rewarding?

When I started Mrs. Dalloway I was not sure at first that I could manage with Virginia Woolf’s impressionistic style. But then something clicked for me and I enjoyed the music of her language. I still could never get on with To the Lighthouse, though.

Which fictitious character would you consider your role model in the hassle of everyday life?

Tenar in the Earthsea chronicles by Ursula K. LeGuin. She is wise and modest and kind and brave, and knows the magic that may be found in everyday life.

Which book, series or author do you find most under-rated?

Recently I have read some works by Helen Keller that really impressed me. Most people don’t know anything about her beyond her amazing breakthrough from blindness and deafness to discovering the power of language. But she wrote many books through her eighty-plus years, with much to say of insight and wisdom. The World I Live In and Light in My Darkness are two examples.

What would your answers be?

28 thoughts on “Seven Bookish Virtues Tag

  1. What a great tag, and some interesting answers. I haven’t read Helen Keller at all, so I’ve added her to my wish-list.
    Now I’m going to follow suit and borrow this too.


    1. I was a teenager when I read it, so I don’t think I was judging the style with much sophistication — the whole topic and the mindset behind it were just so disturbing and yucky.

      If I read it again now I might find some redeeming qualities, as I often do when rereading books I encountered in high school — but I just don’t want to read this one again. There are certain pictures I don’t want in my head if possible.


      1. I did not read the book, but saw the movie for a class in college. I ended up despising the class, and not liking the movie. Don’t want to read the book.


  2. An interesting set of questions, although I might interpret them differently, especially the first one. Perhaps “chastity” should be “saving a special book for the right time”.

    I may have to post my own 7 Bookish Virtues list — if I’m allowed to answer Eric Kraft to all but Chastity and Patience.


    1. Good idea! I felt this question does not fit well into the set, as it’s about negative feelings, and we wanted to do something positive, to counterbalance 7 sins….


  3. Thank you for joining our little tag 🙂

    Interesting! Lord of the Flies was my favourite book between ages 14 and about 30, and maybe I moved on, but I still value it greatly. It framed some of my early experiences, and I believe it describes well the uglier side of human nature. His Inheritors, there he went too far…


  4. I have to agree with you about Lord of the Flies. There are some books I remember from high school with positive pictures in my mind, but that’s not one of them. Although it’s probably too strong a word, I do believe it traumatized me to an extent.

    As for your thoughts on Charity? I just started by third Diana Wynne Jones (Witch Week), yesterday and I blame you!


  5. Interesting you have a strong antipathy to the Golding book. I can’t remember when I first read it but it made a strong impression, though I haven’t read it again since. Tempted now to see if I would still regard it as a powerful (if disturbing) novel.

    Jones and Le Guin, two powerful novelists who I do reread regularly. Good choices! And thanks again for the introduction to Robertson Davies whom I shall be revisited again soon, in the new year hopefully!


  6. LORY LORY DID YOU SEE did you see that Susanna Clarke has a new book coming out in fall of next year? I had given up all hope! But it seems to be real! It’s even a two-book deal so there’s a world in which we get TWO new books by her??? I am monumentally excited about it.

    (Love this tag btw!)


  7. This is a great tag. It really makes one think about what book suits the question, doesn’t it?

    I also had a pretty visceral negative reaction to Lord of the Flies and I read it as an adult. I also felt that way about The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks. I’m not sure why since I have read other books with a similarly bleak view of human nature and they did not affect me in that same way.


    1. I’m not quite sure either, and I’d have to read it again to try to figure it out, but I don’t want to. There are other things I’d rather be doing.


    1. Pinch away!

      I am so excited about Piranesi (the Clarke novel) — sounds from the articles as though it’s actually finished, not just a notion in the author’s head, which bodes well for publication. Fingers crossed…


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