In Livejournal, there is a meme wherein a blogger asks her readers to list five things that they usually associate with her, and then the blogger elaborates on them.
I am not! It's more like I eat certain sets of food regularly and ignore everything else, as opposed to discriminating on a case-to-case basis. My lifetime diet can be reduced thus: mung beans, fried chicken, shrimp dumplings, Century Tuna, boiled egg, mango, and Starbucks White Mocha. I don't eat them all everyday, I sort of rotate. For instance, there was a time when I ate nothing but sauteed mung beans for two weeks until finally I got sick of it. Literally sick, because one dinner I decided to pair the dish with a bar of dark chocolate. After that horrid incident I moved on to Century Tuna.
To call me a bibliophile is probably not very accurate because I am not attached to the book as a physical object, that is, if we define bibliophiles as avid collectors of books vis-a-vis being avid readers, which I am. According to Wikipedia, oracle of the Internet, I fall under the less prepossessing category of 'bookworm.' I love books for the ideas they contain, not so much for their rarity or binding, though of course one always appreciates well-made books. Now that I am working in a publishing house, I find that I am quite particular about how our books are packaged and manufactured, but that is probably because my publisher is very fastidious and I personally dislike shoddy work and ugly things in general. As a reader, though, I can ignore half-baked jackets and mismatched typography so long as the content is tolerably readable (not necessarily intelligent--such judgments follow after the actual act of reading).
I know bibliophiles who have acquired substantial--and often specialized--collections of books, which they don't really read. The physical possession of books brings the rush of pleasure. I won't go so far as to say that their libraries merely serve as decorative exhibits because that is not true either. Bibliophilia, like other forms of collecting, has its own semiotics.
The travel narratives I read are of the pseudo-ethnological and ironic sort, where the self is simply one other moving object on an uncharted map. I don't really like the generic travel writing currently in vogue, which usually starts with a pretentious novelistic premise and ends with some self-centric epiphany straight out of a bildungsroman. So I like Bruce Chatwin, who is as novelistic and pretentious as one can get, but for whom the geography and politics of place remain an essential part of the narrative and not merely a backdrop against which one's neuroses are played out. If you know what I mean. I dislike George Sand's book on Majorca for these very reasons.
(Kristel, who is in the process of refining an elaborate taxonomy of her friends and acquaintances, calls my template 'Victorian Orientalist.' I don't really know what she means by this though I suppose I would have made a good little colonialist, writing earnest little vignettes on Central Asian monarchies to be forwarded to a disapproving bureaucrat. Talk about fantasies!)
Oh, my first and probably doomed love. I miss research and academic work. In my college years I used to think that my life would be devoted to research and teaching because in my field, one either ends up in social and marketing research, on the one hand, or connected to a university institution, conducting studies on topics ranging from the social context of telenovelas to personality cults. Either way would have suited me fine. I went down the research and think tank route and enjoyed it and would probably have ended up in university after graduate school.
Instead I am in publishing, which started out as a supposedly short-lived affair but is beginning to resemble a difficult marriage, where decisions don't come easily and you think longingly of divorce every other day or so. But because you love it, even if it's not the sort of love that drove your youthful ambitions, then you put up with it the best way you can, make compromises where possible, and basically just grit your teeth and hang on.