Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Okay, so "tomorrow" as a term is relative in my world. Here's the other half of the meme:

Favorite cookbook?
Miracle Muffins (sadly, out of print) has some of the best muffin recipes on the planet. True story.

Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Does Zombie Haiku count? Hey, it's inspirational to see someone lucid enough to not only write, but write in haiku, as he transforms into a zombie. You try it, then judge.

Favorite reading snack?
I'll say popcorn, but ultimately, what goes better with a book than a nice cup of coffee (or another hot beverage of your choice)?

Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I'll give you two: The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada. They were such letdowns.

How often do you agree with critics about a book?
It's hit and miss; critics tend to dismiss my favored genre(s), science fiction and fantasy, as so much fluff. Sometimes, it's deserved, other times, they're so far off the mark I have to wonder if they've even read the book. On the other hand, critics tend to go berserk over so-called literary fiction that has left me wanting to bang my head against a wall repeatedly.

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I've gotten a lot better at it, but I'd like to think I provide solid reasons. I also make sure that peole know it's MY point of view, not a sweeping generalization. Reading is a subjective experience; what one person enjoys, another doesn't like. Someone put (we would hope) a lot of their time and passion into their pages, before tearing it down, I'd better have damned good reason to.

If you could read in a foreign language, what language would you choose?
Elvish. Oh, okay, killjoy. French or German.

Most intimidating book you've ever read?
Aside from some college textbooks, I'll say The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I've read it twice - once when I was a preteen, just to say I did; next, when the movies came out to see if I actually could retain anything other than "the Silmarils are pretty jewels and the Balrog is badass".

Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?
At the moment, anything involving metadata.

Favorite poet?
Shel Silverstein.

How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
If I'm talking about books for me, probably 2-3, depending on my class syllabus. If we're talking Cutie Pie, I've shambled home with 15 books, at least. And yes, I am counting them as books I read - he reads them to me or I read them to him.

How often have you returned a book to the library unread?
A few, less often now.

Favorite fictional character?
I refuse to pick just one. Since this is a book meme, I'll just deal in the written word. Gandalf and Aragorn vie for the number one spot; Neil Gaiman's Morpheus rounds out the top three. Andalthough I didn't like the book she had on her own, Polgara the Sorceress (from the Belgariad and the Mallorean) kicks serious booty.

Favorite fictional villian?
Now we're talking. Saruman of Many Colors. Professor Moriarty. Bellatrix.

Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation?
Something light and fun, probably a Doctor Who novel. Or I'll bring something that will keep me up nights, like Stephen King's The Cell.

The longest I've gone without reading.
I think I could probably get two days in before I get the DTs.

Name a book that you would/could not finish.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Sorry, Jane fans, I couldn't even get through the Cliff's Notes. Ask Sister Peggy Linane over at Saint Agnes, she'll back me up. Also? The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. No. Can. Do.

What distracts you easily while you're reading?
"Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"
"Wanna know what Dude/Cutie did/said to me?"
"Roe, can you help me a second?

Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The first one of that comes to mind is The Lord of the Rings. Come on, it doesn't matter that Tom Bombadil wasn't in it, for crying out loud. Return of the Living Dead was pretty nifty. It's a short story, but Something Wicked This Way Comes was pretty great, too.

Most disappointing film adaptation?
There are so many. Right now, I can think of The Lightning Thief. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, but then again, I couldn't stand the book either.

The most money I've ever spent in a bookstore at one time?
Before children and rent, when I had disposable income, Mike and I would do some damage in Barnes & Noble. Easily over a hundred bucks, I'm sure. But now I work in publishing and try to get my stuff for free/cheap.

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

What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
Complete lack of interest or if something really bothers me about it.

Do you like to keep your books organized?
I'd like to, but considering the amount of space and the number of books we've got, it's not happening any time soon.

Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
I read an article on organizing once, and adopted this advice: Think of a book like an old friend you see one day and have coffee with. If you can imagine visiting with this friend again, keep the book. If it was a nice enough time for you both, but will live just fine with the memory of that chat, let it go.

Are there any books you've been avoiding?
Not lately.

Name a book that made you angry.
The Boy from Baby House 10 by Alan Philps - when I read about the conditions that babies lived in at Russian orphanages, I was upset, appalled, and ultimately just wanted to punch something. Ditto for Farm Sanctuary by Gene Baur. When I learned about factory farming and how most food arrives at my plate, I wanted to cut all animal products out of my diet. Now, it just fueled me to find better ways to eat. No living creature deserves to live in those conditions.

A book you didn't expect to like but did?
Hmm... have to get back to you on that one.

A book you expected to like but didn't?
Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter. What a bill of goods that one was.

Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Anything Neil Gaiman, a Doctor Who or Torchwood novel, or late '90s chick lit, preferably from the UK, before the US hype machine killed the genre.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Okay, so while I try to narrow down what I'm going to be writing about, I decided to take the easy way out and start with a book meme, courtesy of Booking Through Thursday. Feel free to copy and write up your own. If you do, leave me a link so I can visit!

1. Favorite childhood book?
Easy one - Grover and the Monster at the End of the Book. Mom would read it to me and over and, and obliged me by adopting Grover's voice (which I'm sure was hell on her vocal cords - thanks, Mom). Years ago, Karen bought me a copy of the book when we were talking about our favorite books and I lamented its loss. I loaned it to my children when they were babies, but it's back on my shelf now.

2. What are you reading right now?
Believe it or not, I blogged about this book almost two years ago, and I'm still inching through it: Mary, a fictional autobiography of Mary Todd Lincoln, by Janice Cooke Newman.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
With school not in session yet, none. I've been trying to request a book for Will, but the OPAC is giving me a hard time (Library-school talk: OPAC, or Online Public Access Catalog, is the library system's online card catalog) with the request.

4. Bad book habit?
Really, is any reading at all bad?

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
A back-breaking number of children's books.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I like reading one at a time, but sometimes I get schizo and will go after two. I don't count school reading here, though.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Not really, I was a sci-fi nerd then, am now.

9. Least favorite book you've read this year (so far)?
Ugh, where do I begin? I'll say Palo Alto by James Franco; I had to write a reader report on it. It was awful.

10. Favorite book you've read this year (so far)?
Ooh... that's a tough one. Let me say it's a toss-up between The Lightning Thief and The Graveyard Book.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Pretty often; I review books for book clubs.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Sci-fi and fantasy.

13. Can you read on the bus?
I used to be able to, but now I get horribly car sick.

14. Favorite place to read?
Where almost everyone else's favorite place is - sprawled out on my living room couch.

15. What is your policy on book-lending?
I'm fairly rough these days, I've lost too many. Only to people I can trust to take care of my books, and I'd really like to get it back in a somewhat reasonable amount of time.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Only if there's some pressing reason, and never a hardcover.

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

18. Not even with text books?
Okay. Sometimes.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English, although Klingon amuses me.

20. What makes you love a book?
Make me feel something - even the most deplorable villain, if he gets an visceral reaction from me, can make the book. Don't bore me. Have characters that come alive and for crying out loud, don't overwrite. The fifth Harry Potter book drove me up a wall; the last 150 pages could have been the entire book.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
See above.

22. Favorite genre?
See the bit about my comfort zone.

23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did?
Hmmm... I can't realy say that there's a genre I don't read that I wish I did.

24. Favorite biography?
I enjoyed Mick Foley's Have a Nice Day.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Yup. Not one of those touchy-feely things, I read stuff like Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life and Organizing From the Inside Out in my neverending quest to get my crap until control. And wellness books. That kind of stuff.

Okay, this meme has 50 questions, so more to come tomorrow.