The Mardi Gras Book Tag

Mardi GrasI noticed this tag yesterday at Madame Writer, and decided to give it a go because Mardi Gras is a fascinating tradition and New Orleans, the place where it is famously celebrated, is a special place, indeed. The original tag can be found at RandomlyBookishGina. Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is another name for celebratory Carnival events, when people can enjoy themselves by eating and drinking as much as they want before the Lent season begins. It is celebrated around the world in Roman Catholic countries as a Carnival, and, apart from a big celebration in New Orleans, US, there are also big events taking place in Venice, Italy and in Brazil.

The Secret History Book CoverI. Designated Driver: What re-read book is reliable to get you out of a reading slump? 

I do not really have “reading slumps”, but I can re-read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History [1992] to remind myself why I love “contemporary” books. This is a book that ticks all the boxes for me: intriguing character studies, a slow slide into the macabre, and beautiful language, among many other things. I highly recommend it. 

Corto Maltese Book CoverII. The Drunk Best Friend: Which character(s) would you like to grab a drink with, or simply hangout with for a night on the town? 

This will be an odd choice, but I will go for Corto Maltese. He is a character in Hugo Pratt’s Italian comic series Corto Maltese [1967]. He is a sailor, an adventurer, a profiteer. The reason I choose to hang out with him is because he is so complex, enigmatic and mysterious, and it will be interesting to know him better. He sees beneath appearances and protects the “underdog”, but can also play the role of a hypocrite and not all his actions are defensible. Overall, a real character. Subtlety is the word. 

The Fruit of the Drunken TreeIII. Fat Tuesday: Which book on your TBR can you not wait to devour?

I cannot wait to read Fruit of the Drunken Tree [2018] by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. Goodreads says that this is a mesmerising debut “set against the backdrop of the devastating violence of 1990’s Colombia about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both“. The novel has been called “dazzling” and “devastating”, so I am sure it will be a good read.

IV. Lent: Which genre would you give up reading for 40 days?

Science fiction. When I return after these 40 days, I will just start devouring it again like a hungry person who was without food for this period. 

V. Masquerade Masks: Which book do you mask that you have read? (Ex: a book you’re embarrassed about, a book or author you’re embarrassed by having not read yet, a guilty pleasure book, something you hide behind etc.)

I have not read Twilight or The Hunger Games, or any of the popular YA fiction books. I am not particularly embarrassed about that because YA is not something that was that that popular even fifteen years ago when it might have “caught” me and I guess it had a snowball effect in popularity from that time – say from 2005. I am still amazed when I find huge YA sections in bookstores – that is something I find rather odd. Growing up, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Mayne Reid, and also R. L. Stine and Rowling provided me with my “YA books”.   

VI. The Annual Mardi Gras Party/Parade: What classic could you read time and time again?

So many, but I think I will go for The Outsider [1942] by Albert Camus.  

The Great Gatsby CoverVII. New Orleans: In which fictional place would you like to party?

I do not have an original answer, so parties in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby [1925]. So, I will pop in to my neighbour Jay Gatsby next door. I have an invitation, but one can crash his party. There will be plenty of food and drinks, as well as a lively atmosphere with the latest music playing. Jazz? Louis Armstrong? Django Reinhardt? Fletcher Henderson? 

Ubik CoverVIII. Jazz Music: What book just makes you want to dance? (Could be when you received it or as you read it)

I have recently read a science fiction book Ubik [1969] by Philip K. Dick (see also A Scanner Darkly), and that book made me ecstatic. Many of this author’s books are great, but this one is very imaginative indeed: it has time-travel, an unbelievable twist, suspenseful and thought-provoking situations, and philosophical considerations. Overall, it was a stunning, fast-paced book. 

IX. The Colours of Mardi Gras: Purple represents justice: Which character do you feel got justice at the end of the book or series? Green represents faith: Which character would you put your complete faith in, no matter the situation? Gold represents Power: Which book gave you a very powerful emotion after reading it?

1) It sounds awful, but I think Claude Frollo from Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre- Dame [1831] got what he deserved in the end. He is an attempted murderer, and was also prepared to disregard the lives of others to satisfy his lust; 2) I will be prepared to put complete faith in Walter Moody from the book The Luminaries [2013] by Eleanor Catton. He seems like a just and reasonable man, who will help those around him, and he can be trusted. Besides, Catton writes about him that he “was much experienced in the art of confidences”; 3) The Time of the Hero [1963] by Mario Vargas Llosa gave me a very powerful emotion when I finished with it.   


13 thoughts on “The Mardi Gras Book Tag

  1. That was a lot of fun to read – thank you! And you’ve really made me want to read Ubik. I’ve only read Do Androids Dream… and some of his short stories, and you’ve reminded me I’d like to try more of his stuff…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Electric Sheep was also my starting point some time ago, but I found other books as thought-provoking. Ubik is mind-blowing. There is a twist I did not quite expect. I also loved A Scanner Darkly, which I also reviewed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! YA isn’t one of my favorite genres either, but I have read a few socially conscious YA novels within the past year that were moving. The genre increasingly seems to be not just a gateway into “adult” lit but also politics for teens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Politics for teens? That is interesting, I haven’t realised. I suppose this is expected since there is such a boom in this genre.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I worked at an imprint partially specializing in YA/MG last year, and there’s been a trend toward publishing diverse voices and more socially conscious narratives – not ‘hard’ politics, but introducing teens to social issues.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I guess that can be a good thing. I imagine such “introductions” are not totally objective by their nature. One can find there many liberal messages, I imagine. There is a general appetite for that now.

          Liked by 1 person

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