The Proust Questionnaire — Book Edition

Debbie Millman Answers The Proust Questionnaire—Book Edition

By Debbie Millman November 19, 2013
Debbie Millman: Sterling Brands, Design Division President; Design Matters, Host (New York)
View Debbie Millman’s Book List

This November marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Marcel Proust’s opus, In Search of Lost Time (A la recherche du temps perdu), originally known in English as Remembrance of Things Past. To honor the occasion, we developed the Designers & Books version of the eponymous Proust Questionnaire, which we’ve sent out to various contributors and friends. Rather than including the questions from the original that asked about a wide array of “thoughts and feelings,” our adaptation focuses solely on the respondent’s relationship to books.


View the complete questions asked in The Proust Questionnaire—Book Edition

Here are the answers Debbie Millman sent in response to the Proust Questionnaire—Book Edition:

1. Of these, your reading preference: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama:
Short stories.

2. Your favorite childhood book (or favorite childhood author):
My favorite childhood book is the The Little Golden Book of Words, and my favorite childhood author is Catherine Woolley.

3. Your favorite book character:
Cayce Pollard from William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition.

4. Your favorite book title (because you like the sound of it):
To The Lighthouse.

5. A book you could never finish:
Finnegans Wake.

6. A book you will never start:
Gravity’s Rainbow.

7. If for some reason it turned out that you could save one and only one book from among those you own, which would it be:
My signed copy of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

8. A book you should have read but haven’t:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

9. The best “book as object” you own (how it looks over what it says):
Amateur Bout by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

10. Your reading speed: very slow, slow, moderate, fast, very fast:
Too fast: I’m impatient.

11. While you read, are you a note-taker? If yes, where do you record your notes:
Yes, I take notes and I am embarrassed to admit that I write directly in the books (in pencil…mostly).

12. Your most idiosyncratic reading habit:

14. If you could be any author:
Susan Sontag.

15. If you are what you read, the book that best says who you are:
Lucky by Alice Sebold.

17. The last book you bought:
Lysistrata illustrated by Picasso, bought on eBay for $9.99.

18. Your favorite place to purchase books:
Rizzoli Bookstore in New York.

19. The book you are currently reading:
Pretty Pictures by Marian Bantjes.

20. The book you will read next:
The Power of Glamour by Virginia Postrel.

21. The current location of the book you will read next:
On my desk at Sterling Brands.

22. Your favorite format for books: paper or pixels: 
Paper. The mustier, the better.

23. If you could have written any book:
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

24. A book that was particularly meaningful to, or highly recommended by, an acquaintance of yours:
Stone Butch Blues: A Novel by Leslie Feinberg.

25. If you have the chance to plan it, the last book you’ll read:
A poem by Charles Olson: “Maximus, To Himself.” It is one of the greatest poems ever written, and the greatest poem I’ve ever read.

Also see “Celebrating a Proust Anniversary with The Proust Questionnaire—Book Edition.”

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