14 October 2008

Book Meme

What was the last book you bought?

A book called Christmas Curiosities by John Grossman, about Victorian images of Christmas that we would now find rather grotesque.

Name a book you have read MORE than once

You mean...just one? Are you serious? LOL. I'll just name a few: Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow books. The Harry Potter novels. The Lord Peter Wimsey books, Little Women and Louisa May Alcott's other juvenile novels. The Horsemasters, The Open Gate, The Secret Garden, Friday, Heinlein's juveniles, Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, A Christmas Carol, The Cottage Holiday, Sudden Sea, Wyoming Summer, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Addie Pray, Red Sky at Morning... That's just a sample. :-)

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

I can't think of one, although I always remember what Mary O'Hara says in Wyoming Summer: "Happiness hangs by a hair."

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

It depends. I have been seduced by covers and then been delighted by some and disappointed by others. The same with recommendations and reviews. I have found some of the best books by accident in the bargain book dumps at Borders! I do find that being able to page through the book and read the first few pages helps. That's why I am wary of buying books online that I cannot read samples from.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I read anything that strikes my interest. I am always interested in good historical nonfiction if it's in an era that I'm interested in (and a well-written book in an era I'm not interested in may snag me as well).

What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

I'd say the latter; all the beautiful writing in the world isn't going to make up for an inane plot. But I am tempted by beautiful writing...Laurie Lee's prose, for instance, was close to poetry, and Gladys Taber's writing often painted lovely New England portraits.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

Another unanswerable question—if I chose one, what about the others? I'd feel as if I was being unfair. I can say that Mary Stewart's Merlin has ruined me for any other Merlin portrayal, he is so real to me. But so are Peter Wimsey and Jo March and Kip Russell and the Preston family...

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

If I want to be pedantic, I think the only book on my nightstand right now is a bound issue of St. Nicholas (and two bound issues of Wide Awake that I have no other place for). However, my to-be-read "pile" consists of five shelves in a bookcase next to my bed (and the three Sherlock Holmes volumes under the nightstand, and the pile of new Christmas books behind the sofa).

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

I finished Caro Peacock's A Foreign Affair this morning.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

Oh, several. My best friend gave me Asimov's Foundation trilogy way back when we were in high school...she loved the books...I staggered to a stop after five pages. In college I was halfway through Joyce Carol Oates' Wonderland before I threw the book against the wall in disgust. Right now I'm stuck halfway in the second Jade del Cameron book, Stalking Ivory. Ideally it's a period piece I should like, but there's something about the writing I find annoying.

From "BooksPlease" via Dani Torres' blog.