Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Reading Meme, a long BTT

So, Big Exciting Issue finally drew to a close. I posted my story to the web at a quarter to midnight Tuesday, got out of work 2 hours early on Thursday, been working on my wrap-up story ever since. And reading in-between! Thought I'd do a BTT and it's a loooong one, so brew a pot of coffee, and happy reading. I formatted it a little differently this week because of the nature of it, but y'all are smart enough to know that I didn't make up the below questions and my answers to them are the original part. So, enjoy, and feel free to play along on your own blog.

1. Favorite childhood book?

The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Good ol' Zilpha, haven't thought of her in ages. I think I liked it because my best friend and I used to play like those girls all the time.

2. What are you reading right now?

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde. Re-reading, actually.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I generally don't do that.

4. Bad book habit?
Checking out books like a drunken sailor, getting them home and being like "what the hell?", then failing to return them on time.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Bah. Well. There's the two Thursday Next books, the above-mentioned and The Well of Lost Plots. Fragile Beasts was on that charge-out, but has gone back. The rest? Not sure. See above.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
hell no
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
One at a time

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

Yes. I don't do as much re-reading as I used to, and I analyze the books more as I'm reading them. It didn't take me long to start thinking about how I'd write about it as I read.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
That would be The Swan Thieves.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

Tough question. Would be either The Art of Racing in the Rain (although I cried buckets) or The Condition by Jennifer Haigh.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

Odd question, if I read outside it often, it wouldn't be a comfort zone, would it?

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

OK, I know the point of these questions is to think about them a bit, but after giving this one a bit of thought, I'm still not sure. I avoid horror and mystery but it's not really because they make me uncomfortable.

13. Can you read on the bus?

Yes, but I haven't been on a bus in ages. Public transport is really lacking around here, and I'm supposed to have my car at work anyway.

14. Favorite place to read?

My front porch! I even bought a special pair of pajama pants that look like regular pants so I can go out there first thing in the morning on weekends. I'm wearing them now, in fact.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

Neither a borrower nor a lender be. I bet everyone who did this meme answered it like that.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

I try not to.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

18. Not even with text books?
OK, you got me.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

English, it's the only one I understand!

20. What makes you love a book?

Usually, it's strong characters. I can forgive an implausible or lackluster plot. I can't forgive cardboard characters who behave in inconsistent ways to move the story forward.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

Usually, its originality. If I've never read anything like it, I'll reccomend it to others.

22. Favorite genre?

Just simple old boring realistic fiction.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

I wish I could get more into fantasy. I like it in theory, and I could participate in the coversations about it that happen in my World of Warcraft guild, since all my fellow guildies love reading fantasy. I tried recently and couldn't get into it. Same cardboard character issue.

24. Favorite biography?

The Dirt by Motley Crue. I should probably be a little more ashamed to admit that, but it was awesome.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

Yeah. It didn't help. It was supposed to help me make up my mind about having a kid. It gave me some food for thought, though.

26. Favorite cookbook?


27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
(answer here)

28. Favorite reading snack?

Cheese and crackers, also the answer to "What's your favorite snack in general" and not infrequently, "what did you have for lunch."

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

I really can't think of one.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

I wouldn't know, I don't often read reviews.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

The only time I minded was when I had to say some bad things about a book I'd been sent to review. It seemed more personal. I liked that book overall, but it wasn't perfect and I said so.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

Chinese. That would be impressive as hell.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

Definitely Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory. I read it during my semester abroad for one of my courses. My advisor tried to talk me out of registering for Arthurian Legend, saying I'd have to read an 800-page book. I told him that having guidance through that particular 800-page book was what attracted me to the course in the first place. I loved it.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

I can't really think of one. Does the manual for my SL-R camera count?

35. Favorite Poet?

Not much on poetry. I guess I don't really have one.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

Usually five to seven. I stop when I can't carry anymore, so it depends somewhat on their size.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?

Almost every time, so about once a month.

38. Favorite fictional character?

I'm not sure. I usually say Eilonwy from the Prydain books when asked.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

I really don't know. Mordred from The Once and Future King was a great villian. Isn't it odd that I turned to fantasy for the answers to both of those questions, even though I admittedly rarely read it?

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

To me, a stop at the library is as essential a part of trip planning as doing laundry and packing. I like to bring a lot of books and try to get an assortment of new books and old favorites, in case the new ones all suck. The old favorites I select depend on my mood. Sometimes, I like to go back to a one I've only read once or twice but loved. Other times, I go for ones that I've read so often, I barely even need the book anymore.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

Not sure, but I bet it was when the new World of Warcraft expansion was released!

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

The most obvious answer, I've already used in an example about the one that made me angry (I skipped around). There were a few recently that I realized I was simply not in the mood for, like Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, or the David Guterson about the dying man that was going to kill himself. Those aren't forever, though, I do intend to try again.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Just life. Being tired, working too much, having a lot going on.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

I gave this one a lot of thought, and I'd have to say the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I had a hard time getting into the books, but the movies were marvelous.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander was turned into the most dreadful Disney movie ever produced. It could have been terrific. They had great source material, very deep, tackling the true nature of heroism. They chose to water it down, to make the Eilonwy character a simpering suck-ass, Gurgi a colorless sidekick, and Taran really brave and really smart.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

When my mom retired, she got some sort of cash bonus. She used part of it to give us each $50 to blow at Barnes and Noble. It was so much fun. I can't remember what I got, but I remeber the evening well.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?


48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

It could be anything. I do it a lot. Boring, laggy plot, terrible characters, simply due back at the library, anything at all.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

I like to, but I rarely do.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

I always keep them.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

The Twilight saga. I am afraid I will like them.

52. Name a book that made you angry.

Well, I actually threw Doesn't She Look Natural across the room. It was meant to be "Christian fiction." I was offended by the presence of a character who was attracted to men, but "because he loved the Lord," lived a life pretty much free of love from anyone except his mother. The main character, who had inherited a funeral home and who also loves the Lord (we knew because we were told, repeatedly) had wanted him out of her house and away from her sons until she learned that about them. Narrow-minded biddy.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

I was surprised at how good Snow Falling on Cedars was. I had it on my shelf for ages without even knowing why or where it came from. I finally read it last winter and was fairly blown away.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

I thought I'd like Edgar Sawtelle more. It was fairly crap, though.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

James Herriott's books will make anyone feel good. I just love them.