29 August 2010

The 55-Question Book Meme

1. Favorite childhood book?

Oh, goodness, how could I choose one from such riches? Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Eight Cousins, Lassie Come-Home, Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe, The Green Poodles, Friday's Tunnel, National Velvet, Johnny Tremain, Understood Betsy, The Good Master and The Singing Tree, The Swiss Family Robinson, anything Marguerite Henry wrote...and more.

2. What are you reading right now?

I'm just finishing The Mapmakers by John Noble Wilford. I'm also reading Grandmere by David Roosevelt, The Writer's Tale by Russell T. Davis and Benjamin Cook, The Power of Babel by John McWhorter, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the World of Narnia, and the fourth "Sisters Grimm" book.

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

Memoirs of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim and The Way I See It by Melissa Anderson.

4. Bad book habit?

There are bad habits about books? :-) Okay, sometimes I'm so interested in my book I eat while I have a meal. This is not only bad manners, but sometimes I get food spots on the book. I also riffle the page edges, which I'm sure would make some folks squirm.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

None at the moment.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

Not a stand-alone one. I have a reader called "Aldiko" on my Droid, and download old children's series books from Munseys.com. I'm presently excited because I found at least three more of Hildegarde Frey's "Camp Fire Books" online. I love these old series books! They are terribly racist sometimes, to the point of being painful, but they're an honest portrayal of the time, and some of them are still pretty exciting. I've sampled "The High School Boys," "The West Point Series," "The Annapolis Series," "The Young Engineers" (all with the same set of characters), "The Pony Rider Boys," "Grace Harlowe," "Ruth Fielding," "Betty Gordon," etc. I also have the Kindle app and the Nook app, but really don't intend to buy any books. I like the feel of pages and paper.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

LOL. I think I answered that in question 2.

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

I don't believe my habits have changed because of my blog, but I'm buying entirely too many books that I read about on other book blogs!

9. Least favorite book you read this year?

Skipping the "joke" books I bought, like The Lost Blogs, I think I was most disappointed in The Revolutionary Paul Revere. The narration was just too "hip" and "flip." Honorable mention to Candy Freak, which started out being a homage to small candy companies and turned into a political rant/whine.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

Just one? Some wonderful young adult/children's stuff: Nick of Time, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, The Boneshaker, and also the wonderful The Fourth Part of The World, American History Revised, Picard's Victorian London, Hello, Everybody: The Dawn of American Radio, The Mapping of Love and Death, and An Expert in Murder.

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

Since I read anything that interests me, there's not much out of my comfort zone. I don't read much horror, though, except for a couple of early Stephen King books, or true crime, and am not likely to.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

History, the occasional sociological text, children and young adult books that don't involve vampires and werewolves (especially vintage books), cozy mysteries, the occasional police procedural and fantasy, geography, geology, homespun things (like Gladys Taber), the occasional television-based novel, linguistics, the occasional biography, New England travel, OTR, media, humor, and trivia.

13. Can you read on the bus?

I can, but I'd rather look at the scenery. Haven't been on a bus route for years.

14. Favorite place to read?

Stretched out on the sofa, with instrumental Christmas music playing (no matter what time of year).

15. What is your policy on book lending?

Close friends are fine.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

Used to as a kid. I do riffle the pages when I read.

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

Goodness, no!

18. Not even with text books?

Textbooks I've highlighted. (And pertinent parts in HTML books.)

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

English. Learned a little Italian in school, but never learned to read comfortably in it.

20. What makes you love a book?

Memorable characters, rich vocabulary, interesting setting, information imparted in an interesting style without being too cutesy or too ponderous.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

:-) Memorable characters, rich vocabulary, interesting setting, information imparted in an interesting style without being too cutesy or too ponderous.

22. Favorite genre?

Er...wow. Mystery, I guess, followed by history.

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

I read what I like.

24. Favorite biography?

No contest! Life is a Banquet by Rosalind Russell and Chris Chase. Or are autobiographies not allowed?

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

Yes, mostly about being organized. To my mother's despair, I never was very organized. At least I am trying to keep up with the decluttering.

26. Favorite cookbook?

Anything that's readable rather than instructing me to cook. I hate to cook. I have to say The Little House Cookbook, because it gives so much additional information about how the Ingalls and other pioneers ate and survived.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or nonfiction)?

I don't think I've read any inspirational books yet this year. The closest I've come is the Molly Wizenberg book.

28. Favorite reading snack?

No, no, no. Try not to do that. Just a glass of skim milk. Okay, cherries if they're in season.

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

Not ruined my experience, but certainly didn't live up to it. Like Angels and Demons, which reminded me of the early 20th century boys' adventure novels I was downloading from Munseys.com, sexed up and "violenced" up. Another overhyped book was The Godfather.

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

About half of the time. I find I really don't like New York Times bestsellers most of the time. They're either pretentious or about families with emotional problems that I don't want to read about.

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

It depends on if I feel the writer has made some effort with the book or not. Some books just don't work. You regret giving bad reviews to those because the book had good prospects but just had deficiencies in plot or character. Other times a writer appears to have just dashed a book off to make a quick buck. One doesn't mind criticizing them as much.

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

Italian, so I could read The Decameron in the original Italian.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

I don't think I've ever tackled an intimidating book.

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

That would probably be something Russian, like War and Peace.

35. Favorite poet?

Robert Frost—although many of my favorite poems are not by Frost, like my absolute favorite, Alistair Reid's "Curiosity."

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

Hm. I usually go in for one and come out with three or four.

Sometimes five. :-)

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

Once, I think. I didn't like the book very much and didn't finish it. I liked it so little, apparently, that I've forgotten what it was, too. :-)

38. Favorite fictional character?

Oh, goodness, you can't do that to me. If I had to pick one, probably Mary Stewart's Merlin. But how can I leave off February Callendar, Rebecca Randall, Sir Adam Sinclair, Cilla Lapham, Hermione Granger, Lord Peter Wimsey, Huckleberry Finn, "Gran" Preston, Kate and Jansci Nagy, Harry Dresden, Jo March, Rudolf Rassendyll, Anne Shirley, all of Hildegard Frey's Camp Fire Girls (especially Migwan), Dorothy Canfield's "Betsy"...and so many more. I'd invite them all to dinner if I could!

39. Favorite fictional villain?

Favorite as in "he was so nasty that I really hated his guts"? Probably David Jenkins in Memoirs of an Invisible Man. But that's probably because Sam Neill did him so well in the film. If we're going for "charming but evil," the first thought that comes to me is Rupert of Hentzau.

[Later: Oh, oh—Pap Finn!]

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

Actually, I usually take a bound issue of St. Nicholas magazine with me because the different stories will keep me busy for a week.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

When I was in the hospital in 1990, probably three or four days. I just couldn't concentrate after the anesthesia.

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

Oh, that's easy. It's the book I threw against the wall in college: Joyce Carol Oates' Wonderland.

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

My husband reading aloud to me from what he's reading. But I do it back!

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

The Andromeda Strain (not the awful remake). Close second place: Airport. Very honorable mention, made for television: Centennial.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Both made for television: A Wrinkle in Time or A Ring of Endless Light.

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

I think I spend more on Amazon.com, but it's probably about $75.00.

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

Often, but not frequently. I will skim if I am doubtful about purchasing the book.

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

Boredom, tops. Also excessive violence or just something really gross.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Yes, they are pretty much all organized, but all are not alphabetized. Still haven't gotten to the humor books.

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

I keep them if I like them and think I would read them again. If I don't like them, they go directly into the donate box, and when the box is full, it goes to the library.

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

Twilight and anything else that has to do with vampires, werewolves, and zombies. I'm just not interested. I don't get the vampire thing at all. Vampires are dead. They are cold. Imagine cuddling with a dead cold person. ::shudder::

52. Name a book that made you angry.

It was a Cleveland Amory book about animal cruelty. I ended up wanting to be really cruel to some humans.

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

I didn't know if I would like it or not, but Gone With the Wind. I had to order a book from a book club selection booklet and it was the only one that looked of any interest at all. It was my mom's favorite movie and I thought that if I didn't like it, she might. Well, I was enthralled for four solid days. I did nothing but read GWTW and sleep, except for the two days I was in school (I brought it with me and read it whenever I could, including in the back of math class—surely more interesting than nasty old algebra) and at church.

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

My best friend recommended Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, but I was bored silly. I've never been much of a hard science fiction fan, though.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

Bound issues of St. Nicholas magazine, thanks. Kate Seredy's The Open Gate. Stewart's Merlin trilogy. Gladys Taber. Happy now.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

I love reading these memes and getting a sense of what others readers are like! I loved The Mapping of Love and Death as well as An Expert in Murder--and want to read Liza Picard's book on Victorian London. You probably already know she has a whole series of books like that about different historical periods in England? And I read the Wizenberg book, too, and you;'re right it is a little close to self-help--probably as close as I will ever come! Thanks for giving me the link back! :)