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05 July 2013 @ 03:53 pm
Meme (About Books Again)  
Taken from wendleberry who put it up at book_memes:

1. Favourite childhood book?
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. I read that thing as a kid until the pages literally came off the spine.

2. What are you reading right now?
My Education by Susan Choi

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
A bunch. So many that listing them all here would take awhile and I'm lazy.

4. Bad book habit?
I tend to buy books faster than I can read them. Half my bookshelves are filled with books I haven't read yet.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
None. I'm still waiting on my requests to come in!

6. Do you have an e-reader?
I have an iPad that's got the Nook and Kindle apps on it.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I prefer to read them one at a time. This might also explain why I have so many unread ones.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Hmmm...I don't think so.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far?)
It's not a bad book at all but of the handful of books I've read, it ranks last: White is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi. This book was a clear case of excellent concept but less excellent execution.

10. Favourite book you've read this year?
I haven't read that many books this year so I feel like it's a bit of slim pickins. However, I did enjoy most of The Other Typist by Susan Rindell

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not very much. I have so little time for recreational reading I feel like I can't afford to be adventurous.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Pretty much all forms of fiction except for perhaps political thrillers.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Oh yes.

14. Favourite place to read?
At home, in bed.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
For books I don't have a particular attachment to, I'm pretty easy about lending them out. For books I love I tend to only lend them to people I know I can trust to take care of them.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Not school-related books, no.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Again, not school-related books.

18. Not even with text books?
Textbooks I do. All the time.

19. What is your favourite language to read in?
I can only read comfortably in English so...English!

20. What makes you love a book?
Complex, layered characters. Even if the plot goes somewhat south, I can almost always hang onto a book if the characters are interesting.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I tend to recommend books to people in Real Life based on individual characteristics. For books I recommend on my LJ, it's usually if I've enjoyed the book and I feel people whose reading interests are similar to mine might like it as well.

22. Favourite genre?
This is tough. I guess to be very general I'd say literary novels. But these novels tend to span across genres so that's cheating. I really enjoy novels that are thought-provoking and there are lots of books in the fantasy/sci-fi genre as well as the regular fiction genre that do just that.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I rarely read biographies even though I feel like I tag many that sound interesting.

24. Favourite biography?
See answer above. I can't even remember the last one I read.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
No. When I worked in publishing I read one to help edit it but not for personal enjoyment.

26. Favourite cookbook?
I'm not much of a cook so I don't read any.

27. Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
This year? Hmmm...perhaps John Logan's play, Peter and Alice. It's depressing for many reasons, particularly if you know the fate of the real Peter Llewelyn Davies. But at the same time I found the initially forced connection between them that soon develops into a genuine understanding of one another rather poignant. It also reminded me of how easily one can dismiss people based on external reasons but all the richness we're probably missing out on by doing so as everyone has a story. And not necessarily the story we all think they have.

28. Favourite reading snack?
It tends to oscillate between something sweet (e.g. cookies or biscuits) and something savory (e.g. chips).

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. I'd loved Chabon's novel before this one and was eagerly waiting his next. Due to circumstances, I had to wait about three months after the book got published to read it. But during that time, everyone I knew and their mother was telling me this book was amazing and it would change my life. Since I was a Chabon fan to begin with, I found myself believing it pretty readily. But I was disappointed that not only did I not find this book transformative, I actually found it to be plain boring and over-indulgent. To this day I'm not sure if I would have been less critical of the novel had I not kept hearing it was incredible.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I tend to agree usually with reviewers of The Guardian. Less so with reviewers of The New Yorker.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I feel like I often give bad reviews of things in general. I used to not really care about this but recently I've begun to question if I'm one of those people who are overly critical. I've tried to temper myself more in terms of not reviewing things if I found them to be awful.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Probably Russian. I've always wanted to read a Russian novel in the original language.

33. Most intimidating book you've ever read?
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. Faulkner's style and my reading sensibilities tend not to jive very easily. But this book was worth it.

34. Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Before I began this book, I'd read The Times review which called this book "unreadable" because it was so complicated. This intrigued me as much as made me fear the book. But once I began it I wondered why the hell anyone would find it unreadable. It certainly makes you work at it after awhile but come on. I'd read novels in high school that employed more confusing narratives to mess with the reader. And the plots are pretty straightforward.

35. Favourite poet?
I don't think I have one. Poetry is not really my area of expertise or interest.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
I think my record is six.

37. How often have you returned a book to the library unread?
I've never NOT read any of a book before returning it. But there have been plenty of times I started the first few pages and realized the book wasn't worth my time.

38. Favourite fictional character?
Okay, this is a beyond hard question. I can't pick one. Sorry.

39. Favourite fictional villain?
Again, I can't just pick one. It's sort of impossible.

40. Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever book that's next on my To Read List.

41. The longest I've gone without reading.
During my 2nd year in my graduate program, I did not read a single recreational book during the Fall semester as well as the Spring semester. During the winter break I read a few but for each of those 4 months, I didn't read anything I might enjoy. It was hell.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I don't think I'll ever finish Ada by Nabokov.

43. What distracts you easily when you're reading?
I basically have electronics-based ADHD so if an email pops in or if someone sends me a Words With Friends.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
I liked the film adaptation of The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
There are many but the most recent one in my memory is Joe Wright's adaptation of Anna Karenina. That one was a mess.

46. The most money I've ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I once spent over $50 at the Strand. I know that doesn't sound like much but if you consider that most books at the Strand are half priced if not more, I walked away with a huge stack of books.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I usually don't skim a book before reading it. I give the first few pages a full read to decide whether or not to keep going. I do sometimes skim while I'm reading if the book starts to drag.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
I rarely do this as I feel like once you're halfway, you're committed to it. However, I did stop halfway through Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja. This had nothing to do with the novel itself as it was really wonderful. But I made the mistake of trying to read it toward the end of a semester and my schoolwork got too intense so I had to stop.

49. Do you like to keep your books organised?
There is no organization. I'm lucky if I shelve them rather than have them in piles around my desk and floor.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
Depends on the book. The ones I've liked I keep. The others I give away.

51. Are there any books you've been avoiding?
Mostly ones by Dan Brown.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Audrey Hepburn's Neck by Alan Brown. It's very rare that I read a book that actually made me want to burn it. This one managed to be offensive to me on a racist as well as misogynistic level.

53. A book you didn't expect to like but did?
Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf. I had to read this in college and I hadn't been a fan of To the Lighthouse. So I was prepared to slog through this one but it ended up being one of my favorite school-related books.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn't?
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I didn't hate it, but I expected to like it more than I did. This book was actually the true turning point for me and Gaiman, who previously in my mind could do no wrong. I haven't even tried to get a copy of The Ocean At the End of the Lane despite all the praise it's been getting.

55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
The Kalix the Werewolf series by Martin Millar. These books are light, fun, and doesn't require much from you mentally. I love them.
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The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 5th, 2013 08:43 pm (UTC)
I had that Greek myth book too, but I was more attached to a different one I stole from my brother. I can't remember the name of it. I remember buying the D'Aulaire's from a discount bin, and bringing it to the dentist with me and being teased for lugging such a big book around.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 5th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
One should never be teased for lugging around a big book. Unless that big book is the last Twilight installment. Then tease away.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 5th, 2013 09:37 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't even try that one for the lulz. Those books would be my entry in the 'book that angered you'.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 6th, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
I read the first Twilight book before it became a mega-sensation and thought it was ridiculous but harmless. But then when it became the book that all teenage girls were swooning over, I started to get angry the series existed.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 6th, 2013 12:17 am (UTC)
I had a very weird thing where I both simultaneously wanted to throw it across the room and couldn't stop reading it. It was like I was too angry to not finish reading it. I had to keep going to fully satisfy my indignation.

I don't care if that's your thing, but if teen girls are actually convinced that this is not only a healthy relationship but one to aspire to, then it gets dangerous.
aelfgyfu_mead: Shaun with bookaelfgyfu_mead on July 5th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
Half my bookshelves are filled with books I haven't read yet.
I have a half-remembered quotation that I think is from The New Twilight Zone, "Paladin of the Lost Hour," starring Danny Kaye, where his character is asked if he has read all the books on his shelves:
"Hell, no. Who wants a library full of books you've already read?"
Ooh, I'm on fire! I found it on the web, nearly word for word—and the episode was written by Harlan Ellison.

I read The Yiddish Policeman's Union having heard some vague praise and knowing it was an alternate universe. I knew nothing else about it, and I think that helped.

I was terribly disappointed in Coraline because before that, the only Neal Gaiman I'd read was American Gods, which I liked, and Anansi Boys, which I loved. I really disliked Coraline. Between that and the Beowulf movie, I had very low expectations for The Graveyard Book, so I was pleasantly surprised. I liked some chapters better than others but enjoyed the whole thing. I have not heard anything about his latest aside from your "all the praise it's been getting" and am keeping my expectations low.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 6th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
In general I always found Gaiman's books of children less entertaining for me. I assumed part of it was that the writing is geared toward kids and I may find it a little dull because of that, but The Graveyard never reached the right balance of kid-friendly cutesy and outright scary murder scenes that aren't kid-friendly at all.

His latest is an adult book so I sort of feel like I should give it a try. But the plot doesn't sound that exciting to me and I realize I'm starting to have issues with a lot of Gaiman's characterizations.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2013 02:44 pm (UTC)
Hi! I just heard an ad on the radio and it reminded me of you talking about this. BBC Radio 4 has done an adaptation of Gaiman's latest book, read by Michael Sheen. It's on their Book at Bedtime Series. Unfortunately, due to being at the cottage, I'm behind, and the first episode is only available for the next seven hours, but the rest are up in varying durations. I don't know if that would interest you or not, but I thought I'd mention it.

Sorry if it ends up being too late!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 15th, 2013 09:22 pm (UTC)
Ooh! Thanks for this! Sadly I think I'll be missing episode 1 at least since that goes off the site in 42 minutes and I won't be home for another hour or so.

But it's good to know it's out there. Perhaps I can find a copy elsewhere...
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 16th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
Oops! Sorry. Usually I'm more on top of radio things, but I couldn't stream at the cottage. I'm sure someone on tumblr must have it, though. All of John Finnemore's stuff is floating around out there.
girlspell: book with glassesgirlspell on July 11th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
I just finished The Other Typist. I could only shake my head at the ending. I just heard that Kiera Knightly has purchased the rights to make a film version. She will star in it as "Rose". Frankly, I don't know how they are going to pull it off.

Edited at 2013-07-11 01:49 am (UTC)