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24 October 2011 @ 10:35 am
I will not be surprised if no one but me fills this out (as I have pretty much unlimited time for such nonsense). It's a bit silly, but interesting, and a good way to get a handle on someone's reading habits.

Favourite childhood book?
One of my very favorites was Trolley to Yesterday by John Bellairs. It involves a time traveling subway car! And Constantinople! It interested me in both history and science-fiction. All of the Johnny Dixon books by Bellairs are fabulous, though some are still really quite creepy even as an adult. This was one of the first chapter books that I really loved.

Another favorite was the fourth book in the Oz series, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, which involves being inside the earth, a hot air balloon, an uppity kitten, a glass city with vegetable people, and some invisible bears (among other things).

What are you reading right now?
I'm almost done with Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I like the industrial novels better, but this one is quite good as well. It's a really long fucking book but Prunella Scales reads it and she's AMAZING. She's one of the best readers I've heard.

What books do you have on request at the library?
Well I've asked them to purchase a number of embroidery books as they have so few.

Bad book habit?
I am not sure what this questions means. I dog-ear pages a lot, because it makes me a bit gleeful, but that's it.

What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Nothing at the moment. I only check out a few books a month at the moment, and sometimes not that. I mostly listen to audio books on my computer and I have a ton of public domain books on my Kindle.

Do you have an e-reader?
I have a Kindle. It's pretty lovely, though I'll never fully enjoy books on it, as the tactile sensation of holding a real book is part of the reading experience for me. I can't hold books for long though due to the hand pain so I do need the Kindle.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
It just depends. I usually have something on the Kindle that I read when I'm waiting in the car or whatnot. If I'm reading a really dry non-fiction book then I'll usually have something lighter that I'm listening to so I can go back and forth (not to mention having something to listen to while I do embroidery).

Least favourite book you read this year (so far?)
That's actually a hard one. I cut down the amount I read per month so I'm reading fewer books I'm not really interested in (minimum of 8 books/month). Possibly Heresy by S.J. Parris. It just really wasn't my style. The book Summer Knight from the Dresden Files series was also a bit much for me. I liked the earlier ones but I don't know, this fell a bit flat.

Favourite book you've read this year?
That's too difficult, but I'll pick one favorite from each month of this year.
Understood Betsy – Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Right Ho, Jeeves – PG Wodehouse
The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Emmuska Orczy
Stiff – Mary Roach
Carpe Jugulum – Terry Pratchett (just edged out Shanghai Girls by Lisa See)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Schaffer
Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
Dreams of Joy – Lisa See
Palace Walk – Naguib Mahfouz
Snuff – Terry Pratchett

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I don't really have a comfort zone.

What is your reading comfort zone?
Anything and everything? No crime or thriller novels and very few modern mysteries.

Can you read on the bus?

Favourite place to read?
Curled up on the couch. I end up so cramped and painful but if I'm really sucked into a book then I don't notice so much.

What is your policy on book lending?
I don't really have any friends to lend to here. I regretted lending in high school and now only lend to my parents and sister. My dad, despite being super forgetful in every other area, is really good with remembering to bring my books back to me, even when I haven't reminded him (which is seriously amazing).

Do you ever dog-ear books?
All the times (that's a purposeful plural). I take an extreme glee in putting the first dog-ear in a new book.

Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

Not even with text books?
Yeah, but it's been many years since that was an issue. That question should really begin with a “not even” because when do you ever NEED to write in the margins of a pleasure reading book, whereas you do need to do it with text books (or you need to keep a lot of index cards and skinny post-its around).

What is your favourite language to read in?
English, because it's the only one I can read in. Though I'm mostly okay with children's picture books in Spanish.

What makes you love a book?
Good characters, humour, well-balanced plot and pacing.

What will inspire you to recommend a book?
Liking it. Everyone in my family is a big reader so we're always talking about books.

Favourite genre?
Don't really have one. I dislike most modern mysteries but I love Lindsey Davis' Falco books, so even genres I don't read much or think I don't like can have books I ADORE lurking within them.

Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
If there was one that I wished I read then I would just read it. I'm disabled, home alone all day, so I can literally read all day.

Favourite biography?
I really don't know. I read biographies but I read a whole lot more memoirs. The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester was pretty good, as I recall.

Have you ever read a self-help book?
I don't think so. Unless you could Punk Rock Aerobics.

Favourite cookbook?
Probably Swedish Cakes and Cookies. It's far and away my favorite baking book. For general usefulness though The Joy of Cooking is something I would never do without, especially the slightly older editions.

Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
I don't know. I don't read particularly inspirational books. I read non-fiction to learn more and I read fiction to be entertained. Is it odd that I do not find fiction inspiring? I know some people do, but there's a lot of real life to be inspired by. Alan Mendelsohn, Boy From Mars inspired me to be even more imaginative and weird when I was in middle school.

Favourite reading snack?
Cheese and apples or just tea.

Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Well when I worked in the bookstore I typically read books before they got big because I saw every new book we got, not to mention the advance copies. Now I don't read any book review things or watch morning TV or talk to many people so I just read random things, recommend them to my sister, and get the reply “Oh yeah, that's gotten really big.”

Actually, maybe Jane Austen. That's the trouble with classics, especially the classics that people get really crazy about (like, there's no huge Charlotte Temple fan base, but it's also a classic – and I like it more than Austen!). I know I've disappointed my father, but that's okay. He probably doeson't adore my 1920s young lady books and I don't like his Austen.

How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Don't typically read reviews, and obviously they only put the good blurbs on the book. I will say that I could spend my whole life replying to picture book reviews on Amazon written by people who have no understanding of what children pay attention to when they read, but those are idiots who want everything to be Berenstein Bears rather than critics.

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I'll happily do it. I go about it as politely as possible (though with a fair measure of snark) but I don't hesitate.

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Spanish, hands down, even if only for the poetry (Garcia Lorca is my god). Second place is Latin.

Most intimidating book you've ever read?
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz, but that wasn't really intimidation, just an intense desire to like the book (wasn't hard, it was AMAZING) and a fear that I wouldn't like it since I'd otherwise only read his books set in ancient times.

Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?
Can't think of one. Why are we intimidated by paper? Is it just fear we won't like something that's a classic or really popular? Or is there something else I'm missing?

Favourite Poet?
Carl Sandburg

How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Only one or two. I don't have a car and I'm forgetful. Plus returning a book unread really annoys me so I stick to one or two at a time.

How often have you returned books to the library unread?
Fairly often, though not much this year. I almost always end up reading the book a few weeks/months later.

Favourite fictional character?
Not possible to answer. A few of my favorites are Marcus Didius Falco (Lindsey Davis), Freddy the Pig, Stephen Gordon (Well of Loneliness), Moist Von Lipwig, the Nac Mac Feegle (Discworld).

Favourite fictional villain?
Don't read many books with real villains. There's this evil sort of sorcerer in the Johnny Dixon books by John Bellairs and he's pretty creepy. Oh, though the villains in the Keys of the Kingdom series by Garth Nix are pretty ferociously awesome.

Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever I'm reading at the moment.

The longest I've gone without reading.
A month maybe.

Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I don't think I have one. I generally HAVE to finish books I start. I know there are a few over the years that I haven't finished but I can't think of what they might have been, and that was for reasons about being really horribly written.

What distracts you easily when you're reading?
Not much. When I was a kid on car trips I'd be so into my book that I didn't hear my mom asking me direct questions from a foot and a half away.

Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
Lord of the Rings, I guess. I also really loved the Ballet Shoes movie.

Most disappointing film adaptation?
Well the Harry Potter movies became more and more disappointing as they went on. I don't watch many movies though and have avoided book movies for the last few years. I don't mind when they leave things out for the movies, that's understandable, my problem is when they add in long sequences which never happened in the book and serve no purpose in the movie.

The most money I've ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
$60? I did work in a bookstore but I'm a really really thrifty person. I dither over spending $10, let alone more.

How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I'm not sure how you skim a whole book. I read the description and look at the cover (which is honestly a pretty good indicator for new books).

What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Really bad writing or seriously stupid plot/characters.

Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yup. Alphabetically and by genre.

Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
I keep them unless I know I won't want to read them again. I like to have books around me, it makes me feel at home, and I'm always rereading.

Are there any books you've been avoiding?

Name a book that made you angry.
Well, nothing this year and I have a horrible memory.

A book you didn't expect to like but did?
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. I found out in the last year that I freaking love Thomas Hardy.

A book that you expected to like but didn't?
Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. It's the first of the book series that Bones is incredibly-tenuously 'based' on (though the looseness there isn't why I hated it). It's badly written, extremely predictable, and in order for the plot to work Tempy has to become SUPER STUPID for a while. It's everything I hate about modern mysteries with amateur detectives. If I'd been reading it in book-form I wouldn't have finished it, but an audio tape allows a little leeway. I honestly can not believe it was published.

Favourite embarrassing, pleasure reading?
Changing guilty to embarrassing. I used to be a bit embarrassed about liking the Anita Blake books but I got over that. Yes, they turned into the worst kind of smut, but there wasn't even kissing in the first four books and no sex until the seventh book. When it turned into “sex every other chapter” I stopped reading them. The plots are fun, the writing isn't horrible, and the characters are interesting.

Also, when you were a kid what chapter books really spurred you on to become a reader? For me it's definitely The Hobbit, Trolley to Yesterday by John Bellairs, Betsy-Tacy by Maud Lovelace, My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, and the early Oz books (especialy Ozma of Oz and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz).

I was really lucky in having parents who read a lot and having siblings so much older than myself. My dad would always be reading a chapter book to us at night so I got to listen to some really amazing books long before I could read them myself. Though when I was four it did take my dad a while to convince me that The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes wasn't going to be scary. When you have a lot of older siblings you don't need extra fear in your life!
c l e o d o r acleodora on October 24th, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
I will fill this out at some point!

The Hobbit was one of the books that first introduced me to the joys of reading too. The first one was probably The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, although I'd seen the BBC TV adaptation before I read the book, which really helped. I was only four when that was on and I loved it, so the book was one of the first things I was really determined to be able to read by myself.
meredith caitmabith on October 24th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
Aw, that's so sweet! The only thing I was really determined to read before I knew how were the Asterix and Tintin comics. I was honestly a really lazy reader when it came to chapter books. If I hadn't been in a family where everyone read heavily I may have just stuck to comics (I was also maybe a bit spoiled by being read chapter books by both parents instead of just picture books).

By the time I was eight though I felt really pressured to read a real chapter book myself and also felt there might be some candy or a treat to be gained for the accomplishment. So my first one was a really stupid book but my second was Trolley to Yesterday which was so good and interesting (thank goodness!). I suppose I'm also lucky to have grown up in a family where we were expected to amuse ourselves (and took really long car trips where we'd be in the car for 12 hours straight) and hence I had to become a reader.

Scarlet Pimpernel was just a fun coincidence. It had been on my to-read since I heard a great 1930s radio play of it some years back, plus the awesome Daffy Duck parody, The Scarlet Pumpernickel was an inspiration of course. :)
c l e o d o r acleodora on October 24th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
PS The Scarlet Pimpernel is a fun book, isn't it! Did you read it because I recommended it in my LJ, or is that just a coincidence?