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Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Meme

It would take a meme about books to get me to jump on the meme bandwagon. I found it on DarwinCatholic's blog.

1. Favorite childhood book?
I don't think I could narrow it down. The ones that have stayed with me the most are the Anne of Green Gables series, The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, the Belgariad books, and all the myths, folktales, and fairy tales I could get my hands on.

2. What are you reading right now?
The Stories of English
by David Crystal.
War for the Oaks
by Emma Bull.
Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard.
no. 13.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

by Michael Lewis.

4. Bad book habit?
Buying too many.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
None, at the moment.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
No. I prefer paper books.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Several at once, to suit my mood and interests. Also, because I am lazy and I don't want to go downstairs at 11 at night to get the book in my bag, so I pull another from my yet-to-read bookshelf.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
No, but it has allowed me to articulate more precisely what I liked and didn't like about a book, which was part of the reason why I started the blog.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Love and Rockets, New Stories no. 1 by Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez. Specifically the superhero tale by Jaime.

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

Rarely. I don't have enough time to read all the books I want to read, and at this stage of my life I really want to enjoy what I am reading.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Well, almost everything, as long as it is 1) interesting to me and 2) not going to depress me or make me feel miserable.

13. Can you read on the bus?

I can read anywhere.

14. Favorite place to read?

Anywhere I won't be interrupted by children wanting snacks or the answers to a gazillion questions.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

I lend whenever I am asked. But I should probably be more careful, because I've lost a couple of out-of-print books that way.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Yup, when I forget to use one of the many lovely bookmarks I have made or had made for me.

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

I used to, but now I only do it on the rare occasion I have actual scholarly comments I want to remember.

18. Not even with text books?
Law school killed my desire to learn from text books.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

English. I used to read quite fluently in Spanish, but I am very out of practice. I keep meaning to start up again with poems or short stories, but somehow I never get around to it.

20. What makes you love a book?
The sheer pleasure it gives me.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

The sheer pleasure it gives me, and that I think the person I am recommending it to will also love it.

22. Favorite genre?

Almost any fiction genre, but if I had to choose, it would be either scifi/fantasy or post-modern lit.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
A really, really good romance novel is great, but I have trouble finding ones I think are really, really good.

24. Favorite biography?
The only biography I have read that was not required by a class was Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel, so that one, I guess.

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


26. Favorite cookbook?

Comida Criolla
(Puerto Rican Cookery, in English), for all my Puertoriqueño cooking needs. Glamour's Gourmet on the Run. Simple but yummy and surprisingly sophisticated recipes that have aged pretty well.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Inspirational? I can think of several craft books that have inspired me artistically, but I don't think that's the answer this question is looking for.

28. Favorite reading snack?
If I eat as I read it is because I am hungry for a particular thing, and has nothing to do with reading itself.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I can't, actually. The few books I've read that were subject to wide-scale hype (the Harry Potter books, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) more than lived up to that hype.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Depends on the critic. There are critics I have come to trust and rely on, and I have also learned how to determine from a (well thought out) review whether I will disagree with the reviewer.

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

I have no problem with it. There is a difference between a negative review and being cruel or unfair to the author.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Other than Spanish? French. I am missing out on some books that I would want to read in the original, like Georges Perec's La Disparition.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I don't know that I have found a book intimidating. Too difficult, yes, but that is different.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Again, I'm not actually intimidated, though I may be daunted by the length or difficulty of a book, because that I don't want to lose precious reading time to a big long book I end up not liking.

35. Favorite Poet?
T.S. Eliot! I need to read him again.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
One to three, depending on how quickly I can get through them and what else I am reading.

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

Never. I will at least skim it if I don't have time to finish it.

38. Favorite fictional character?

Severus Snape!

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Hmm, I don't know. I'll have to think about this.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Something not too hard or intense, but not too fluffy, either. Something with meat.

1. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Reading anything at all? No more than twelve hours or so, since in addition to books I read newspapers, magazines, texts on the interwebs, etc. Books? Maybe two or three days, if I am not commuting anywhere and the kids and household crap keep me busy.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Gunter Grass's The Tin Drum. I hated that book. It was so ugly and unpleasant I could not finish it, even for a class. Which did not prevent me from understanding why it is critically acclaimed -- a bad book is not the same thing as a book one does not like.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Questions. People (like, oh, say, the Beadboys) who keep pestering me by trying to call my attention to something else. Almost all of my book reading gets done when the kids are not around.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

The Princess Bride
is an absolutely wonderful film. And Peter Jackson really did an excellent job capturing the feel of the Lord of the Rings books. Ooh, and Tristam Shandy: a Cock and Bull Story was appropriately meandering and post-moderny. I need to see it again now that I've read the book.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

I can't think of it. I don't actually watch many film adaptations, because I usually insist on reading the book first, and then once I have I lose interest in the movie unless it got really good reviews.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I'm afraid to find out.

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

Before reading it? Never. During, I might jump ahead to get an idea of how a storyline is going to turn out, although I tend to do this with lesser quality books.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If I really was not enjoying any aspect of it at all.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

I'm a librarian, so yes. The broadest categories are fiction and non-fiction. In the latter, cookbooks are by Library of Congress classification (except Mr. Beadgirl keeps messing that up), and the rest are by subject and topic (math, physics, craft books, etc.). Fiction is divided into genres -- folklore, scifi/fantasy, mystery, and "literary" fiction. The first is grouped by culture and subject. The second two are grouped by author (not alphabetical) and theme or style. The last one and by far the largest is subdivided by the author's country of origin and then organized alphabetically by author. But I group together smaller "collections" of favorite authors (Byatt, Kate Atkinson, Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Kelly Link) or by theme (quilting, academic parodies, Arthurian fiction, etc.). Phew!

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

but I am trying to be pickier about this.

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


52. Name a book that made you angry.

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coehlo. What a stupid, stupid, stupid book. Driven by a ridiculously shallow and not-well-thought-out philosophy, incredibly sexist, and so very pretentious. I actually wrote in the margins in this book, expressing my contempt for the ideas in it and gleefully pointing out flaws. And, oh hey! I guess this can count as a book that did not live up to its hype.

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

I don't read books I don't expect to like.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
I've written before that I should have liked The Solitudes by John Crowley, but I could not get into it. Lempriere's Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk was another disappointment, especially since I went through a great deal of trouble to get the unabridged British edition. The event at the core of the big conspiracy in the book turned about to be utterly mundane, and the main female character was yet another woman with no personality and no purpose except to inspire love/lust in the male characters.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

Mysteries or novels that center around some kind of craft. Urban fantasy. The books of Sarah Addison Allen.

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